Comics A.M. | Retailers point to rising sales, more women in 2015

Retailing | Sales of both comics and graphic novels were strong during the 2014 holiday season and have continued to grow since then, according to the 13 retailers (nine direct market shops and four bookstores that carry graphic novels) surveyed by Publishers Weekly. The answers seem to reflect some trends that have been ongoing for a while: Image Comics solidifying its place as the No. 3 (and in one case, No. 2) comics publisher, the increasing popularity of graphic novels and an influx of new readers, many of them young and female. [Publishers Weekly]

Retailing | Brooklyn Comics & More Inc., the owner of two now-closed stores in New York City, has filed for bankruptcy. The corporation opened Brooklyn Comics & More in 2010 and Manhattan Comics & More in 2011; both closed in 2013. The company's debts include $71,799.93 owed to Diamond Comic Distributors. [ICv2]

Retailing | The Calgary, Alberta, comics community has rallied round Alpha Comics, which was robbed two weeks ago, with a fund-raiser featuring local creators. [Metro]

Passings | Aaron Bacal, cartoonist and humor columnist for the Staten Island Advance, has died at age 76. Bacal grew up in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, and earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry from City College of New York and two master's degrees, in chemistry and business, from New York University. He worked as a research chemist for seven years, on products that included Cyclosporine and Valium, then left the business in 1956 to teach high school chemistry. He was also the curriculum coordinator for the Brooklyn Board of Education and taught at the College of Staten Island. In addition to the Advance, his cartoons were published in the New Yorker, the Wall Street Journal, and other national publications, and they were collected into several books. [Staten Island Advance]

Publishing | Eric Roesner of Yeti Press talks about the on-the-ground realities of small-press publishing. [Panel Patter]

Publishing | Creator Cathy G. Johnson and First Second Marketing Manager Gina Gagliano present the story of the creation and publishing of Johnson's graphic novel No Dogs Allowed from their very different vantage points. [The Booklist Reader]

Creators | Stephanie McMillan, creator of Capitalism Must Die! A Basic Introduction to Capitalism (What it is, why it sucks, how to crush it), talks about capitalism and crowdfunding. [Comic Riffs]

Conventions | Sean Kleefeld reflects on this past weekend's CAKE and the larger picture of different conventions serving different audiences and the tendency for all of them to attract casual visitors as well as hard-core fans. [Kleefeld on Comics]

Conventions | Ahead of this weekend's inaugural Wizard World Comic Con Des Moines, Courtney Crowder looks at the local comics scene and the efforts that went into getting Wizard World to come to the Iowa city. [The Des Moines Register]

Conventions | Michael Cavna interviews Anne Morse Hambrock, who's running an IndieGoGo campaign to support the Kenosha Festival of Cartooning, which she estimates costs $17,000 to $28,000 per year. This year's guests include Darrin Bell, Jan Eliot and Mark Tatulli. Hambrock is also the creator of the webcomic Anne and God and the colorist for her husband's comic strip The Brilliant Mind of Edison Lee. [Comic Riffs]

Conventions | The Kids Read Comics convention is coming up in two weeks in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with a guest list that includes Raina Telgemeier, Faith Erin Hicks and Rafael Rosado. The winners of the Dwayne McDuffie Award for Kids' Comics and the Kids Comics Revolution! Award will be announced during the event. [Chelsea Standard]

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