Comics A.M. | The comics Internet in two minutes

Publishing | DC Comics' Blackest Night #6 was the top-selling periodical in an anemic December in which direct-market stores were hampered by a week in which Diamond Comic Distributors didn't ship new titles. The latest issue of the bestselling event miniseries barely broke 100,000 copies, down from 144,000 for Issue 5. The top-selling graphic novel, the eighth volume of Wildstorm's Ex Machina, moved an estimated 5,000 copies.

Retailer-oriented news and analysis site ICv2.com reports that single-issue sales in comic shops slipped 11 percent, while graphic novels and trade paperbacks fell 22 percent. Periodicals were off just 2 percent for the year, but graphic novels were down 15 percent; the overall decline in the direct market was 5 percent for 2009.

Blackest Night and its tie-ins allowed DC to take six of the Top 10 periodical spots for December; Marvel planted its flag with Captain America: Reborn and the Avengers franchise.

As usual, the graphic-novel chart provided more genre and publisher variety, with titles ranging from Star Wars: The Clone Wars to Bleach to Irredeemable cracking the Top 10. [ICv2.com, The Comichron]

Publishing | Retailer and blogger Christopher Butcher continues his look at 10 manga milestones from the past decade that changed the comics industry. At No. 6, Digital Manga Publishing's release in 2005 of Antique Bakery, the first "boys' love" title to make a splash in North America. [Comics212]

Publishing | Blogger David Uzumeri takes aim at DC's habit of making unannounced changes of creative teams, such as with Black Night: Catwoman #83. [The Savage Critics]

Best of 2009 | Blogger Sandy Bilus names his favorite comics of the year, including David Small's Stitches: A Memoir and Fred Chao's Johnny Hiro. [I Love Rob Liefeld]

Creators | Writer Brian Michael Bendis chats briefly about his move into mainstream comics, his creative process and writing female characters: "People point out the female characters in comics because when they see one that’s fully rendered, they’re startled because it’s anomaly. But really, if you look around now, it’s [not] that big of an anomaly anymore which I’m thrilled about, we’ve kinda forced some writers with the… cheesecake cleavage bullshit and really get down to writing the character for real. The audience’s taste has graduated tremendously over the years, and expect that from almost every character, which I’m thrilled about. That makes me extremely happy." [Multiversity Comics]

Creators | Brian Heater wraps up a four-part interview with cartoonist Carol Tyler. [The Daily Cross Hatch]

Creators | Johanna Draper Carlson and Alex Zalban talk with cartoonist Dan Hipp about the online return of GYAKUSHU!, one of the casualties of Tokyopop's OEL implosion. [Comics Worth Reading, Comic Book Club!]

Creators | Artist Yuko Shimizu discusses her cover process for The Unwritten #1. [Graphic Content]

Creators | Freakangels artist Paul Duffield and King City creator Brandon Graham answer questions at Warren Ellis' Whitechapel forum. [WarrenEllis.com]

Art | C.B. Cebulski, Marvel's talent liaison, offers four pieces of advice for new artists. [Chesterfest]

Business | Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige apparently just bought a $3-million home in Pacific Palisades, California. [Comic Book Movie Fansites]

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