Journalista for March 17, 2010: False bottom

Posted by on March 17th, 2010 at 10:53 AM




“In the long run, it’s not whether or not you can meet the minimums, it’s what all of these promotions are doing to give a false bottom to the market. 10% to 50% of the books ‘sold’ through Diamond may actually be sitting around gathering dust on the shelves of dealers that can not be taught that ordering $400 worth of something to get the $25 premium doesn’t work when most of the $400 doesn’t get sold — or gets jettisoned for cost a week after release.”

– Roselle, Illinois retailer Glen Soustek


“The [Amazon/Diamond Book Distributors] take-down happened sometime between the 8th and 9th, so that means the problem took exactly one week to fix. Not terrible, all things considered.”


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Panel from Nola.


Recently posted to our homepage:

  • R.C. Harvey reviews the first volume of Bil Keane’s Family Circus Library, and contemplates the origin of comics.

  • Rob Clough reviews the thirteenth issue of Anders Nilsen’s Big Questions.

  • Gavin Lees reports from last weekend’s Emerald City Comicon in Seattle.

  • Over at The Hooded Utilitarian, Richard Cook reviews Chris Gorak, Pierluigi Cothran and Damian Couceiro’s “Katrinasploitation” crime comic, Nola.

And in the news…


Above the Fold


Life in interesting times

  • “The Research Institute for Publications, a Tokyo-based industry group, reports that sales of manga magazines and compiled book volumes dropped 6.6% to 418.7 billion yen (about US$4.63 billion) in 2009 — the largest yearly drop in sales in the market segment’s history.”

  • The family feud over Frank Frazetta’s paintings is headed for court.

  • Kevin Melrose recaps and explains the return of the “buy” buttons on all the pages for books managed by Diamond Book Distributors.

  • Speaking of whom: Diamond has launched a second comics-shop locator for the general public to ignore.

  • Japan’s Asahi Shimbun has more on the protests by high-profile cartoonists against a proposed decency ordinance in Tokyo.

  • Ada Price speaks with a number of retailers about how the recession has affected their business:

    Looking back on 2009 Holiday season, St. Mark’s Comics [owner Mitch] Cutler said, “This year did not suck as much as last year, Christmas 2008 was the worst ever. [In 2009] no one was buying high end collectibles, but at least they were buying.”


  • Alameda, California librarian Eva Volin discusses the kids’ graphic-novel collection in her library:

    The Pokemon train is still chugging along with no slowdown in sight. I also get a lot of requests for tie-in comics, like the Warriors titles from Tokyopop, the Star Wars: Clone Wars digests from Dark Horse, and the Alex Rider books from Penguin.

    What’s most interesting to me are the stealth titles. These are the books I know I purchased, but I never see on the shelf; the books are checked out, they come back three weeks later, and go out again the same day. For example, we’ve owned Eric Shanower’s Adventures in Oz for only two and a half years and it has already circulated 45 times. My Mommy is in America and She Met Buffalo Bill, by Jean Regnaud, has been in the collection for less than a year, but it has already circulated twelve times.


  • And now, three words from our sponsor: Go, Matt, go!


Format WarsTM technobabble collage… obfuscate!

  • According to this press release: “The board of the Audit Bureau of Circulations modified its definition of a digital magazine in the U.S. and Canada to accommodate new reading devices such as the Apple iPad.” As Paul Biba explains, “This is important stuff, because unless the ABC will audit a magazine many advertisers won’t consider placing ads with it.”

  • Peter Ha notes that the release of “the iPad keyboard and 10W USB power adapter are being pushed back until sometime in May.”

  • Rich Johnston looks at the beta-launch of the Longbox comics-reader software.

  • Dave Burstein examines the new FCC broadband plan, and finds it wanting. Further links and discussion are available at Slashdot.

  • Craig Teicher catches word from an article by Wade Roush: digital-screen manufacturer E Ink has essentially increased production fifteen-fold since 2008.





  • Brian Heater on Ryan Alexander-Tanner

    The To Teach: The Journey illustrator discusses his work.





  • Andrew Wheeler on Market Day

    “[James Sturm’s graphic novel] is a short book with a pointed moral — but I’m not entirely sure if I took the moral from it that Sturm wanted me to.”


  • Nina Stone on The Sword #22

    ©2010 Luna Brothers.


    “Welcome to another installment of ‘Holy shit, I can’t get enough of The Sword.’ (Also known as, ‘Moderation, A Foreign Term.’) I’m your host, Nina.”






  • Jeet Heer on comic-book stores

    “The Beguiling is, if the concept makes sense, a curated comic book store. The staff is knowledgeable and opinionated, as are many of the customers. You can learn more about comics just by hanging out there.”




Business and Craft


  • Todd Klein: Plop! logo study

    Plop! was very odd for publisher DC, a mix of humor and horror with some of the most grotesque covers by Basil Wolverton ever published over a frame of tiny cartoon figures by Sergio Aragonés. Sergio was the creator and driving force behind the book, also contributing all the framing stories and many others as well. Between were stories of comic horror or dark humor by comics greats like Berni Wrightson and Nick Cardy. I assume Sergio also came up with the name; perhaps he just thought the word was funny.”


Comics and Art


  • Ger Apeldoorn: Gus Arriola’s Gordo

    ©1958 United Features Syndicate, Inc.


    Why the hell isn’t any of this stuff in print?


  • Maria Stuart: Mrs. Stuart’s Dailys

    ©2010 Maria Stuart.


    Finally, art comics for your grandmother.

    (Link via John Martz.)






  • YouTube: Guy Delisle draws a page

    Screenshot from the video.


    Bonus points for speeding up the video, you know, likes those old documentary shorts where they’d show you a flower grow or that guy from A Clockwork Orange have sex?

    Update: Vicodin. Why do you ask?

    (Link via Tom Devlin.)


  • Ladygunn: Phone call with Harvey Pekar

    “Listen to phone call. It’s really long and bad static but I tried to make it entertaining by the Harvey Heads […]”

    (Link via Mike Rhode.)


Comics Culture


  • ICv2: Lance Fensterman

    Another conversation with the Reed Exhibitions vice president.


  • Anime News Network: Mari Yamazaki’s Thermae Romae wins Manga Taisho Award

    “Unlike many other manga prizes which are chosen by the editors of the manga publishers themselves, the Manga Taisho nominating committee is dominated by the bookstore staffers who are in charge of their respective stores’ manga sections.”


  • Heidi MacDonald: Emerald City Comicon

    A report from last weekend’s big to-do in Seattle.


  • Your Not-Comics Link of the Day:

    As Neatorama describes it: “The blog 2m40 is about one underpass in Paris that has a clearance of only two meters and forty centimeters. Many truck drivers either do not read, do not understand, or do not believe the clearance warning. Several times a month, the underpass wins the battle against these drivers and 2m40 posts the pictures.”


  • Your Scans_Daily Link of the Day:

    From Mad #18, ©1954 EC Publications.


    Harvey Kurtzman and Wally Wood’s “Stalag 18!


Events Calendar


This Week:


  • March 18 (Washington DC): Jules Feiffer makes an appearance at Politics and Prose on Connecticut Avenue, beginning at 4PM. Details here.
  • March 18 (San Francisco, CA): Paul Pope makes a presentation at the Cartoon Art Museum on Mission Street, with doors open at 6:45PM. $5 suggested donation. Details here.
  • March 19 (Auckland, New Zealand): Hicksville author Dylan Horrocks will attend the launch of a new edition of his book at the High Seas on Beresford Square, beginning at 6PM. Details here.


Want to see your comics-related event listed here? Email a link to and let me know. Please include an online link to which I can send people for more information. No sales-only events, please — it’s nice that you’ve marked things down at your store or website, but I won’t be listing it here.


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