Comics A.M. | Hammer-wielding woman arrested in store robbery

Crime | A comic-shop robbery went awry when the suspect set down her weapon — a hammer — so she could pick up a comic. A woman walked into Conspiracy Comics in Burlington, Ontario, around 8 p.m. Friday and purchased a comic. When the clerk opened the cash register, the customer allegedly pulled out a hammer and said "Empty the till." When she set down the hammer to pick up the comic, however, another employee grabbed it, gave her the change, and told her to get out. Police checked the hammer for fingerprints and arrested Mary Margaret Ross on charges of robbery. "It was something that was unexpected and shocking," said store clerk Anton Litvanyi, who wasn't in the store at the time of the robbery. "At the same time, it is something that is comical … It's not something that any retailer expects, but especially in a comics store." [Hamilton Spectator]

Publishing | IDW reported revenues of over $25 million last year, with sales up in a number of categories, including direct market sales, mass market books, and something called "mass market sales of customized offerings," which probably includes things like their Skylanders Fun Packs. Digital sales were up $679,000, and their recently acquired games division posted new sales of $422,000. [ICv2]

Creators | Scott McCloud talks about his new book The Sculptor, and spotlights one of the fun parts about it -- the failed sculptures: "The important thing is that we only see the failures. We never see the successes. We don't know what that looks like. When he does a piece that impresses his friend Oliver, [who works in a] gallery, we don't see it. So I was giving myself the luxury of only drawing failures — and that gave me permission to have fun. There were these oddball shapes and things that were compositionally whimsical." [Los Angeles Times]

Creators | Calvin and Hobbes creator Bill Watterson interviews Cul de Sac creator Richard Thompson in an excerpt from the new book The Art of Richard Thompson. [Cul de Sac]

Creators | Mike Rhode interviews Ronnie Joyner, who's one of a vanishing breed: newspaper sports cartoonists. [Washington City Paper]

Publishing | Marvel editor Sana Amanat, one of the creators of Kamala Khan, is the guest on the Diffused Congruence podcast, which deals with the American Muslim experience. [The Huffington Post]

Manga | Kodansha Comics announced six new licenses over the weekend at Anime Boston, including Cat Diary: Yon & Mu, a semi-autobiographical comedy manga by horror manga creator Junji Ito (Gyo, Uzumaki); Ninja Slayer, which originally appeared on Twitter as a supposed translation of an American comic; and adaptations of the Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth and Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor Nintendo DS games. In addition, Kodansha announced that they would resume publication of Vinland Saga, which had been suspended; however, they only currently hold the license through volume 7, so acquisition of future volumes would depend on sales. Finally, they revealed that they will publish a special edition of volume 16 of Attack on Titan, due out in August, that will include a variant dust jacket by an American artist and a deck of playing cards, each of which will have a different piece of full-color art. [Anime News Network]

Conventions | Tippy Con, the first comics convention in Lafayette, Indiana, was so popular that organizers had to print out more passes; more than 300 people attended the event, which featured comics creators, cosplay and games. [WISH TV]

Retailing | Ryan Lusk was just a kid in 1984 when he got his first taste of the comics biz: He bought a comic at the old Heroes Are Hard to Find store in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and the following week owner Shelton Drum offered to buy it back for $20. The value of the comic, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1, had shot up in that brief time. "I looked at it and I looked at him and I looked back at the book and I said, 'no,' and I turned around and walked out the door," Lusk said. He is now the manager of Burke Street Comics in Winston-Salem; the store, which specializes in older comics and collectible toys, has just moved to a new location and quadrupled its floor space, and plans are in the works to add vintage arcade games to the product mix. [Winston-Salem Journal]

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