Comics A.M. | Direct market sales climb more than 22% in March

Comics sales | The direct market continued its rise last month, with comics and graphic novel sales up 22.59 percent compared to March 2012, according to Diamond Comic Distributors. Marvel routed DC Comic in this month's sales, claiming 40 percent of the market to DC's 27 percent. [ICv2]

Conventions | The fire marshal had to turn away hundreds of people Sunday from the DoubleTree Hotel in Tampa, Florida, where the two-day Tampa Bay Comic Con was being held. An estimated crowd of 4,000 were crammed into the lobby and the ballroom (which is designed to hold a maximum of 1,200 people), with many hoping to see The Walking Dead star Lauren Cohan. Organizers conceded they need a larger venue for the twice-yearly event. [Tampa Bay Times]

Conventions | The Fluke Mini-Comics and Zine Festival in Athens, Georgia, has grown so much since its inception in 2002 that they actually had to have pre-registration this year. Artist Patrick Dean explains that the appeal of the show is that it focuses on individual creators rather than big-name guests: "The person paying $15 to sell minicomics gets exactly the same treatment as someone who’s got a book out from a bigger publisher." [The Red & Black]

Conventions | Middle East Comic Con, held in Dubai this past weekend, sounds like quite an event; James O'Barr, creator of The Crow, was there, as was Archie Comics co-ceo Nancy Silberkleit (clad entirely in "Archie orange," which has to be a hard color to pull off). And there was cosplay, which the reporter duly noted sometimes involves skimpy costumes—but not here: "In Dubai, the majority of the local youths’ costumes adhered to Islamic standards of modesty. Many local girls cleverly modified their abayat and incorporated their cultural dress into their costumes." [Saudi Gazette]

Conventions | The saga of Comic Con South Africa continues with a radio interview with the organizer, Tlou Ramatlhodi, who explains why the event is being held in a venue with a maximum capacity of 150 people: "It's a launch — we're not catering to the masses that would come to a comic con." And he winds up by telling the interviewer not to bother heading to Cape Town for the show. [Lazygamer.net]

Creators | Bill Baker talks to newcomer Nimue Brown, co-creator of Hopeless, Maine. [The Morton Report]

Digital comics | Arch Enemy Entertainment launches a line of digital comics today on the USA Today website. There will be seven comics in different genres, each of which will update once a week, so there will be new content every day. [USA Today]

Graphic novels | I joined teen librarian Robin Brenner and middle-school librarian Esther Keller for a discussion about the removal of Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis from seventh-grade classrooms in Chicago Public Schools. [Good Comics for Kids]

Digital comics | I discussed Vertical's digital strategy – publishing their manga on e-book platforms such as Kindle and Nook and pricing them much lower than print — with marketing director Ed Chavez. [Good E-Reader]

Webcomics | David Herbert, creator of Living With Insanity, takes down five pieces of bad advice that are common currency among webcomickers. [The Webcomics Overlook]

Collecting | Jay Bardyla, owner of Happy Harbor Comics in Edmonton, Alberta, has some quick tips for anyone looking at comics as an investment. [Global News]

Marvel Comics Launches Star Wars: TIE Fighter Miniseries

More in Comics