Comics A.M. | How to save the struggling manga industry

Publishing | Longtime industry hand Jason Thompson has written a thoughtful essay on why the manga industry is in trouble, going beyond the American scene to point out structural problems in the Japanese market: An aging readership, the decline of print and the reluctance of Japanese publishers to embrace digital publishing in any coherent way. "Perhaps wary of creating an iTunes-like behemoth which could drive prices down," Thompson writes, "publishers haven't united in any reasonable way to create a consistent digital newsstand/bookstore format for their titles." This, of course, has just made life easier for the scanlators. He also points to a shift toward the individual creator — it's the big publishers who are hurting, while self-published and indy manga are on the rise. All this may sound familiar to American comics fans, but Thompson's prescriptions for the future — more gag manga, simpler art, more color, and motion comics -- don't seem like convincing ways to rescue the industry. An iTunes-like behemoth is probably the way to go. [io9]

Awards | The Horror Writers Association has released the preliminary ballot for the 2011 Bram Stoker Awards, which includes a graphic novel category. [Horror Writers Association]

Awards | The Japanese publisher Shogakukan has announced its 57th annual manga awards. [Crunchyroll]

Retailing | The comics business is booming in Johnson City, Tennessee, and the retailers are giving a lot of credit to DC's New 52. [Johnson City Press]

Creators | Jim Rugg interviews Jason Karns, the creator of Fukitor. Don't feel bad if you have never heard of Fukitor, but do check out the article: Rugg starts out by explaining why the comic is important — and why he thinks it is deserving of greater renown. [The Comics Journal]

Creators | This interview with Caleb Melby, writer of The Zen of Steve Jobs, makes some interesting points about journalism and, in particular, journalism that uses the graphic novel medium. However, it's hard to get past the fact that Forbes assigned Melby to write the Jobs book when he was an intern at the magazine, just out of college. [@PSFK]

Creators | Cullen Bunn walks through his process for writing an issue of The Sixth Gun. [CullenBunn.com]

Creators | Lunch Lady creator Jarrett Krosoczka hands out some solid advice to elementary school students about drawing comics and perseverance: "I tell the kids to write for the love of coming up with stories. I try to show them what I did as a child and show them it doesn't have to be great ... The main thing is they use their imagination. Writing is using your imagination on paper." [The Press of Atlantic City]

Comics | Paul Gravett treats us to a brief survey of comics creators in the Middle East, an area where sequential art seems to be flourishing right now. [Paul Gravett]

Comics | An exhibit in New York looks at the way comics have portrayed Tibet over the past six decades. [PRI's The World]

shazam family infected
The Shazam Family's Most Dangerous Member Has Been 'Infected'

More in Comics