Publishing | The direct market saw a 21-percent jump in graphic novel sales in June, reversing the category's dismal trend. ICv2.com notes that's the best year-over-year comparison since June 2008. Periodical sales, meanwhile, remained virtually unchanged, inching up just 1 percent from June 2009.
DC's Arkham Asylum: Madness, by Sam Kieth, led the graphic novel list with modest sales of about 7,400. The No. 2 title, the second volume of John Layman and Rob Guillory's Chew, actually experienced an increase in sales in its second month on the chart. The periodicals list was topped by the first issue of Marvel's relaunched New Avengers -- one of four Avengers titles in the Top 10 -- with about 129,000 copies. John Jackson Miller has additional analysis. [ICv2.com]
Passings | The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post carry obituaries for legendary comics writer Harvey Pekar, who passed away Monday at age 70. Michael Cavna collects memories from such friends and colleagues as Neil Gaiman, Scott McCloud Josh Neufeld and Ted Rall, while elsewhere Alison Bechdel, Mark Evanier, Dean Haspiel, Mike Rhode, Tom Spurgeon, Ken Tucker, David Ulin and Gene Luen Yang offer their own tributes. TCJ.com reruns Gary Groth's 1993 Comics Journal interview with Pekar.
Crime | Seattle cartoonist Molly Norris, who instigated "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day!" in support of the creators of South Park, has been targeted for execution by a radical Yemeni-American Islamic cleric linked to the botched Times Square car bomb. FBI officials have contacted Norris, saying they consider it a "very serious threat." [New York Daily News]
Legal | The heirs of Jack Kirby have filed a notice of dismissal of their complaint against Marvel and Disney, ensuring that the fight over ownership of such characters as the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, Iron Man and Thor will take place in New York rather than California. The notice is a technicality, as a judge ruled in April that New York has jurisdiction in the dispute. Following that decision, the Kirby family filed a 29-page counterclaim to Marvel's January lawsuit that's virtually identical to their March complaint. That means that, well, not much has really changed in this bitter feud. [Media Decoder]
Publishing | In the wind-up to Comic-Con International, Marvel talent manager C.B. Cebulski is collecting tips from his Twitter feed on "How to Break into Comics the Marvel Way." [Marvel.com]
Creators | John Doran's interview with Alan Moore from The Stool Pigeon is made available online: "I'm interested in the superhero in real life, but not the comic book version. I've had some distancing thoughts about them recently. I've come to the conclusion that what superheroes might be — in their current incarnation, at least — is a symbol of American reluctance to involve themselves in any kind of conflict without massive tactical superiority. I think this is the same whether you have the advantage of carpet bombing from altitude or if you come from the planet Krypton as a baby and have increased powers in Earth's lower gravity. That's not what superheroes meant to me when I was a kid. To me, they represented a wellspring of the imagination. Superman had a dog in a cape! He had a city in a bottle! It was wonderful stuff for a seven-year-old boy to think about. But I suspect that a lot of superheroes now are basically about the unfair fight. You know: people wouldn't bully me if I could turn into the Hulk." [The Quietus]
Creators | Robert Kirman discusses The Walking Dead -- both the comic and the upcoming television series -- Invincible, Pilot Season and the conclusion of The Astounding Wolfman. [TFAW.com]