• ICv2.com, the retail-oriented news and analysis site, talks with Tokyopop CEO Stuart Levy about a number of topics, including manga's "tough year" in 2008, his company's recent cutbacks, and the state of the North American market.
"Looking at graphic novels and manga, Tokyopop probably has more titles out there than anyone," Levy said. "I’d say it’s us and then Viz, and we have more mid-list titles than Viz. They happen to have a couple more hit titles; and they have more shows on TV. I think it’s mainly the mid-list that came back. We got hit pretty hard by that; I’m pretty sure they got hit pretty hard too. I don’t know how they work internally, but they’ve got huge parent corporations and they also have the buffer of a few more hit titles than we do. Everybody was taking the brunt of things but Tokyopop didn’t have as many shock absorbers."
• Charts watcher John Jackson Miller has added a page to The Comics Chronicle detailing sales records in the direct market for the Diamond Era (1997 to the present).
• Organizers of Dallas All-Con are playing up these lean economic times in promotions for their March 13-15 event. The latest press release starts out: "Thirty dollars will barely cover dinner and movie, but invested wisely it can provide three full days of entertainment at the Dallas convention All-Con."
• Don't let those online complainers tell you otherwise: Even with a recession and rising cover prices, comic books are "affordable entertainment." Apparently.
• This isn't comics-related, but I like Gia Manry's question to FUNimation's Adam Sheehan: "On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is 'going the way of the dodo' and 10 is 'printing money on command,' where would you put the anime industry right now?"