Comics A.M. | February's record low, skepticism about digital plans

Publishing | February brought a noteworthy, if unwanted, record for the direct market: The lowest-ever top title on record. Green Lantern #62 led Diamond Comic Distributors' Top 300 with an estimated 71,500 copies, 18,400 less than the previous record holder. Chart watcher John Jackson Miller writes, "For the first time, we probably cannot say that when all reorders and newsstand sales are added, the total will be above 100,000 — although we certainly would expect its eventual readership to go above that mark given reprint editions (to say nothing of digital)."

DC's $29.99 Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne deluxe hardcover helped to push year-over-year dollars sales up 6.92 percent, offsetting a slight decline in periodicals to and nudging combined sales up .94 percent. "Sales of those 'long tail' titles below the Top 300 masked a weakness at the top of the list," ICv2 notes. "Unit numbers at the top of both the periodical and graphic novel lists were some of the lowest since ICv2 has been tracking comic sales." [ICv2.com]

Retailing | Retailer Jack Rems' plans to take over the lease for the space that once housed Berkeley, Calif., institution Comic Relief fell through, so he will open The Escapist two doors down from his Dark Carnival bookstore on Claremont Avenue. The new store, which Rems hopes to open on March 16, will be stocked with the inventory he bought from Comic Relief. [Berkeleyside]

Retailing | Wary direct market retailers discuss the potential impact of digital distribution and Diamond Comic Distributors' new Diamond Digital program. “I question whether or not people who want digital comics are going to want to go into a store, purchase a code and go back home," says Erin Tapker, owner of Alter Ego Comics in Marion, Iowa. "I think it’s wishful thinking.” [Eastern Iowa Business, Standard-Examiner]

Publishing | Katy Daigle offers another snapshot of the Indian comics industry. [The Associated Press]

Publishing | Dark Horse Manga Editor Carl Horn talks briefly about the publisher's selection process, its big hits -- like Lone Wolf & Cub and Blade of the Immortal -- and titles that haven't caught on. [Diamond Bookshelf]

Creators | Carla Speed McNeil discusses her new Finder graphic novel Voice, science fiction, her development as a writer, and leaving the "bimonthly treadmill": Once I gave that up, I had the opportunity to take several months, six months at the most, and actually write the whole thing out as long as it needed to be. And do a second draft! Wow! And go back and fix things! And make sure that things had time to be seen and had their proper impact and everything. I was something approximating a real writer for the first time, instead of just throwing on a new pair of shoes and running out onstage and going ‘Da daaaaa!’ and then running backstage and going ‘My god, what am I going to do next?’” [Bookslut]

Creators | Paul Gravett profiles Milo Manara: "Unlike filmed images of reality, drawings always leave something to be interpreted by our imagination, which lets us make it closer our own reality. I think that is the absolute power of comics, and erotica too. We we must never forget that the most important sex organ is still the brain!" Note: The link contains NSFW images. [Paul Gravett]

Creators | Lucy Knisley talks about her love for Harry Potter, her Kickstarter-funded trip to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park attraction and the resulting comic documenting the experience: "I don’t want to step on J.K. Rowling’s toes of course, so this comic is about the park and our personal experiences. It’s a travelogue. A lot of people who read my comics are like me — young — and can’t afford to go. They’re really interested, but they don’t have the resources or time or motivation. A lot of people who donated were in that crowd." [The A.V. Club Chicago]

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