• Matt Price reports that "not all was rosy" in Memphis, Tenn., this week at the start of the annual meeting of ComicsPRO, the direct-market trade organization: "The overall economic slump had affected some locations. Furthermore, logistic problems with a large supplier have become more pronounced in recent weeks. And, something on many stores’ minds is the question of how digital content will impact the comic book industry."
The theme of this year's meeting, which continues today, is "Rising to the Challenge."
"If the economy weakens ... we have to remain strong," organization President Joe Field said. "While there are things we can't control, we have to work on the things we can control."
• Bookstore chain Books-A-Million announced its fourth-quarter sales fell 2.5 percent over the same period, to $164 million.
• Tribune Media Services filed a lawsuit Thursday asking a bankruptcy judge to declare that the company, and not actor Warren Beatty, owns the television and movie rights to comic strip detective Dick Tracy.
Parent corporation Tribune Co., which filed for federal bankruptcy protection in December, has been feuding with Beatty for years. The actor acquired the rights to the character in 1985, and made the Dick Tracy movie in 1990.
According to Tribune Co., Beatty was required to produce another movie or TV project in order to retain the rights. In a lawsuit filed back in November, Beatty claims he began work on a TV special, satisfying the terms of the agreement.
• Dick McVengeance offers tips on how to save money on manga and anime purchases.
• Matt Alt takes a look at the financial state of Japan's anime industry.
• The global recession seems to have had little effect on the Tokyo International Anime Fair, which drew more than 100,000 people.