Comics A.M. | SPX attendance up; more on <i>Justice League</i> #1 sales

Conventions | Executive director Warren Bernard said attendance at this year's Small Press Expo in Bethesda, Maryland, was up 10 to 15 percent, with exhibitors reporting strong sales and many sell-outs. "A great line-up of new material was partially responsible, but the region itself is also a factor — the economy around metro DC has remained relatively stable even in the recession, and a lot of people with good jobs seem to save up their money for the whole year just to spend at SPX," reported Publishers Weekly's Heidi MacDonald and Calvin Reid. Because of the growth, next year the show will move to a bigger room with about 50 percent more space. Daniel Clowes and Chris Ware scheduled to attend. [Publishers Weekly]

Organizations | The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, meanwhile, reports that it raised $12,500 at SPX, thanks to efforts like the Jeff Alexander Memorial Benefit auction and fundraising activities involving Craig Thompson, Roz Chast and Sara Varon. [press release]

Legal | Instructions and opening statements are expected today in the second trial of former comics retailer Michael George, charged with first-degree murder in the 1990 shooting death of his first wife Barbara in their Clinton Township, Michigan, comic store. The five-day jury selection process wrapped up Tuesday. George, 51, was convicted in 2008, but a judge set aside the conviction, citing prosecutorial misconduct and the emergence of new evidence. [The Detroit News]

Sales charts | John Jackson Miller, who yesterday posted commentary on comic and graphic novel sales in August, has additional information about sales of Justice League #1 thus far. He notes that North American orders for the book came in at 186,000 -- a figure that only includes preorders Diamond Comic Distributors actually shipped to North America for sale on Aug. 31. It does not include orders for the United Kingdom or late-placed pre-orders that couldn't be filled until September. He also notes that many of the best-selling comics of this century continued to sell for months, not weeks, "with the best seller of the 2000s, the Obama Spider-Man issue, getting nearly half its sales in the second month with a later printing," Miller writes. "A report on a single day's sales should be regarded like the opening day of a film: illustrative of enthusiasm, but on its own just a portion of the picture." [Comichron]

Organizations | The Jack Kirby Museum and Research Center, which has existed as a virtual organization since 2005, is looking for a temporary physical location in New York City’s Lower East Side, in addition to funding to pay for it. They plan to display original artwork and Kirby artifacts, and feature prominent guest speakers and educational programs. Ultimately organizers hope to have a permanent location. [Kirby Museum]

Organizations | The Hero Initiative reminds California residents that if they designated the organization as the beneficiary of supermarket chain Ralph's reward-card program, which allows users to select a charity that Ralph's will donate money to whenever the card is used, it's time to re-register your card. Ralph's wipes the slate clean every September. [Hero Initiative]

Retailing | CNN's Geek Out! blog talks to Zack Overton, a clerk at Atlanta's Oxford Comics, about DC's "New 52" relaunch, Marvel's counter programming, digital comics and the store's outlook for the rest of the year. [CNN Geek Out]

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