Retailing | In what’s been dubbed “Black Thursday,” the financially troubled Borders Group announced last week that it’s laying off 742 employees at its retail stores. Those follow the 136 layoffs, primarily from its corporate headquarters in Ann Arbor, Michigan, revealed last month. In the latest round of cuts, 679 are from Borders superstores, and 63 from Waldenbooks. Borders is the second-largest bookstore chain in the United States, after Barnves & Noble. [MLive.com, via The Big Money]
Publishing | North American manga and anime distributor Media Blasters began a round of cutbacks on Friday that will lead to layoffs or furloughs for 13 employees, primarily from the print and accounting departments. The New York City-based company reportedly had less than 50 employees for the cuts. [Anime News Network]
Conventions | According to the convention website, Thursday memberships for Comic-Con International are 88 percent sold as of this morning; Sunday is at 71 percent. Four-day passes and those for Friday and Saturday are, of course, long gone. By way of comparison: At this time last year, four-day memberships were still available. [Comic-Con]
Comics | Just last month copies of Action Comics #1 and Detective Comics #27 sold for record amounts — $1 million and slightly more — and now … now there’s a new comic-auction website entering the fray. It’s just like the early ’90s, but with high-speed Internet! [press release]
Comics | Peter Gutierrez, who’s moderating tonight’s “New York, the Super-City” discussion at the New York Center for Independent Publishing, considers why so many superheroes are drawn to the Big Apple: “Gotham City, of course, was always a thinly veiled version of New York. So was Central City, stomping grounds of The Spirit, a non-superpowered but influential character created by a native Brooklynite, Will Eisner. Indeed, in their earliest appearances, both Batman (1939) and The Spirit (1940) were set in New York. Later, the locations were fictionalized to court a wider audience, but when the Caped Crusader or Denny Colt scrambled over rooftops or stalked shadowy alleyways, it was with a decidedly New York flair, romantic and hard-boiled at the same time.” [City Room]
Creators | Comedian, actor and occasional comics writer Patton Oswalt will write a Firefly one-shot for Dark Horse called Serenity: Float Out that picks up were the 2005 movie ended. The comic, which features interior art by Patric Reynolds and a cover by Jo Chen, will be released in June. [Splash Page, Techland]
Creators | Jeffery Klaehn talks to Kelly Sue DeConnick about adapting manga, and writing comics like the upcoming Sif one-shot for Marvel. [Pop]
Comics | After a promising start, Dan Phillips stumbles with the second part of his primer on introducing new readers to comics. In “Getting Females Started,” he recommends avoiding superheroes, brushes past manga and suggests old standbys The Sandman, Y: The Last Man and Fables. I’ll stop there. [IGN.com]
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