• Recession? What recession? Four-day passes already have sold out for the July 23-26 Comic-Con International.
The convention's hotel-reservation service opens at 9 a.m. PDT Thursday, kicking off the annual scramble for rooms.
• In the latest "My Cup o' Joe" column, Marvel Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada talks a little about free comics -- in print and online -- and fighting the urge to return to the Obama well to sell more copies: "We’ve resisted the temptation to keep pushing that lever — and believe me, it became a very tempting lever when we got the sales figures on that issue! — because there does come a point when it can quickly become less about story and more about marketing. We tend to shy away from the tail wagging the dog, and I think we’ve done a pretty good job of that in my tenure. We really don’t create the marketing and say, 'Okay, now go create a story for this.' It’s just something we don’t like to do. I’m sure Obama will appear over the next four years, but we’re more concerned about selling our books based on our characters, and doing interesting stories with them."
• In his column at Comic Book Resources, Steven Grant considers what the "fantasy economy" of conventions is telling us about the current comics market: "For many indie publishers, comic-cons -- not necessarily San Diego, where the competition for attention is much fiercer, but the new breed of large regional cons -- are becoming the new prime marketplace, where a new crop of eager buyers, many of whom apparently now feel disenfranchised from the direct market, are eager for new comics in various formats, if they can see in advance what they're buying."
• For this article about a nationwide "graphic-novel sales boom," the Port Huron, Michigan, Times-Herald turns to retailer Jason Sawyer ... who doesn't stock many graphic novels: "He said he doesn't see the point in trying to compete with Barnes & Noble."