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

Publishing | Direct-market comics sales grew in August for the third consecutive month, thanks to price increases. According to ICv2.com estimates, piece sales actually declined 1 percent from August 2008. Sales of the Top 100 graphic novels fell 16 percent, largely due to the performance of Watchmen, whose numbers sky-rocketed around this time last year.

Events and crossovers again dominated the top of the comics chart, led by DC's Blackest Night #2 with about 146,000 copies -- slipping just 18 percent from the miniseries' debut. Marvel's relaunched Ultimate Comics imprint premiered fairly strong, with Ultimate Comics Avengers #1 charting at No. 5 (95,000), followed by Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #1 at No. 11 (86,000).

The 10th volume of Image Comics' The Walking Dead led the graphic-novel chart with more than 15,000 copies, followed by Vertigo's Fables, Vol. 12, with more than 12,000. [ICv2.com]

Business | Tom Spurgeon presents his lengthy, and well-worth-reading, thoughts on Disney's proposed purchase of Marvel and the restructuring of Warner Bros./DC Entertainment, how we process and report those two major industry events, and even who might be offered the job of publisher of DC Comics. Rich Johnston, meanwhile, lays out odds on that last part. [The Comics Reporter, Bleeding Cool]

Creators | This article provides a few more details on the search for Crayon Shin-chan creator Yoshito Usui, who's been missing since Friday. The 51-year-old mangaka reportedly had said he was going to the mountains in Gunma Prefecture, where he often went climbing, but didn't return in the evening as planned. Calls to his cell phone haven't been answered. [The Mainichi Daily News]

Creators | Keiji Nakazawa, creator of the popular Barefoot Gen, has announced he's retiring because cataracts and retinopathy prevent him from drawing fine lines. Nakazawa, 70, had planned to create a sequel to the semi-autobiographical tale about the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. [Anime News Network, The Mainichi Daily News]

Retailing | ComiXology, which makes a digital-comics application for iPhones, has purchased PopShopOnline, billed as "the leading provider of comic book retailing e-commerce sites." [press release]

Publishing | Romance publisher Harlequin Enterprises has announced plans to distribute digital versions of its manga titles in Korea. [press release]

Publishing | Dark Horse Comics has named longtime employee Dirk Wood as its director of communications. Formerly the direct of marketing, Wood will continue to coordinate the publisher's trade-show efforts, oversee its programs through Diamond Comic Distributors, and serve as the primary contact for direct-market retailers. [Dark Horse]

Comic strips | Cartoonist Brad Guigar is offering his daily comic Evil Inc. free to college newspapers. [Evil Inc.]

Digital comics | Nick Broughall heaps praise on Sony's Marvel comics application for the PlayStation Portable and the upcoming PSP Go! "The key element of the reader though is Autoflow, which zooms and scrolls through the comic as you read it. This is the element that could make or break the service. And I have to say that it’s probably going to make it." [Gizmodo Australia]

Creators | Ed Brubaker talks at length about Criminal, Captain America: Reborn and The Marvels Project. [PW Comics Week]

Creators | Jill Thompson gives a pair of solid interviews in support of her collaboration with Evan Dorkin, Beasts of Burden, which debuts today. [Broken Frontier, Comics Continuum]

Creators | Paul Tobin discusses Models, Inc., female readers, and writing female characters: "When poor writers approach women, they feel the need to constantly point out that they are women. We understand that they are women. You don't need to have them say, 'we're going to go out shopping, and it's going to be for dresses!' Greg [Rucka] just lets the character be the character, and that is far more successful. I don't like the constant pointing out of attributes. To put it in superhero terms, whenever you mention the Hulk, you don't need to say, 'the Hulk, who is big and green.' Especially since we work in comics, which is a visual medium. If you see Black Cat walking across the floor in a drawing, you don't need to narrate that she walked across the floor in a womanly fashion. We got it." [Comics Alliance]

Creators | Brian Heater launches a three-part interview with Jason Lutes. [The Daily Cross Hatch]

Creators | Collaborators Aaron Williams and Fiona Staples talk about their Wildstorm miniseries North 40. [Comics Bulletin]

Creators | Here's a video interview (complete with handy transcript) with Chew writer John Layman at Isotope in San Francisco. [Comic Vine]

Creators | Co-writers Tony Trov and Johnny Zito sit down for the first part of a promised two-part Q&A about their Zuda Comics series The Black Cherry Bombshells. [Girls Entertainment Network]

Comics | David Uzumeri provides extensive annotations for the second and third issues of Batman and Robin. [Funnybook Babylon]

Pop culture | Are angels the new vampires zombies vampires? "Move over, Edward Cullen," Karen Springen writes. "Bad-boy angels are the new hotties. Like modern vampires, they can be gorgeous, immortal and otherworldly heartthrobs, unlike, say, zombies." Aw, hell. [Publishers Weekly]

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