Comics A.M. | <i>Essex County</i> voted off Canada Reads, NYCC tickets on sale

Awards | Jeff Lemire's acclaimed Essex County was the first finalist eliminated Monday in the Canada Reads literary debates to select the essential Canadian novel of the decade. Despite a defense by musician Sara Quin, the graphic novel was voted down by the five-person celebrity panel after the first hour, not because of content but because of format: Four of the judges just couldn't get past Essex County's "lack of words." This year marked the first time that a graphic novel had been a finalist for the prestigious Canada Reads program.

"Well, I was the first book voted off of the Canada Reads competition today, and I'll admit that it stings a bit more than I thought it would," Lemire wrote on his blog. "But, in the end I am really proud of the accomplishment of making it to the final 5. It's a great sign for the future of graphic novels in this country, and their continued acceptance mainstream literary circles on a whole." [Afterword, CBC News]

Publishing | Despite a bleak January, ICv2.com reports that Fantastic Four #587, which featured the death of one of Marvel's First Family, sold more than 115,000 copies, the best performance in the direct market since X-Men #1 in July 2010 (second printings will be reflected in February's totals). The retail news and analysis site lays part of the blame for last month's decline on the lack of "big titles," and that, in the final week of December 2009, Diamond didn't ship any product, pushing more titles into January 2010. [ICv2.com]

New York Comic Con | Tickets went on sale Monday for New York Comic Con, to be held Oct. 13-16 at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York City. Friday and Sunday passes are $35 each; Saturday passes are $50. Three-day passes are $65, while four-day passes go for $85. [Medium At large]

Legal | A federal judge has delivered yet another blow to shareholders of Stan Lee Media in their two-year-old claim against Stan Lee and Marvel Entertainment for $750 million in movie profits. The lawsuit, which centers on a murky series of events involving Marvel's bankruptcy, the creation of the failed dot-com and a transfer of rights, was dismissed in April 2010 for standing and other grounds; the appeal was dismissed in December. In the latest ruling, delivered last week, U.S. District Judge Robert Sweet determined that SLM's motions are unsupported and time-barred, as they come a decade after the alleged injury. [Courthouse News Service]

Legal | An 18-year-old student in Katagami, Japan, has been arrested on suspicion of uploading and distributing copyrighted manga online. [The Mainichi Daily News, Anime News Network]

Legal | Fat Rabbit Farm, a Los Angeles-based clothing retailer, reports it has received a notice from Stan Lee's POW! Entertainment asserting that one of its T-shirt designs -- a masked and caped rabbit with a "POW" sound effect -- infringes on the company's trademarked logo. [Facebook]

Digital comics | Tim Simmons talks at length with Graphic.ly CEO Micah Baldwin. [Spy6teen]

Digital comics | David Brothers breaks down Marvel's digital strategy. [Comics Alliance]

Creators | In a lengthy, two-part interview, Nathan Wilson talks with Geoff Johns about everything from process and collaboration to his growth as a writer and the themes of his comics work. [TCJ.com]

Graphic novels | MIT professor Jonathan Gruber, an economist and key architect of health-care reform in Massachusetts, is writing a graphic novel for Hill and Wang to explain President Obama's national health-care plan. Tentatively titled Health Care Reform: What It Is, Why It’s Necessary, How it Works, the book is set for release this fall. [Boston Herald]

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