RIP: Rich Hafstead

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Rich Hafstead, partner in the Jim Hanley’s Universe chain in NYC, passed away on Friday, according to information making the rounds. Hafstead suffered a heart attack in 2006 and had been semi-retired since then.

Hafstead was a vital part of making Hanley’s, as it is called, a trailblazing store in a major comics market.

Our condolences to Jim Hanley and the rest of the Hanley’s staff.

Comics have landed!

Via Milton Griepp:

But it’s a sign of the times when a nurse approaches a group of strangers with bootleg comics on his iPhone.

Retailer Summit notes

Limited posting this morning as we wrap up at the Diamond Retailer Summit. The show has been surprisingly focused on the positive aspects of a business that has proven unexpectedly buoyant in the face of a serious recession, although anxieties on all sides over some of the looming mysteries (what will Disney/Marvel look like? Who will take over running DC’s publishing day to day? When will Diamond’s warehouse woes subside?) have been shared after hours. We’ll wrap up some of the best intel we’ve gathered later, but in the meantime, a quick recap of last night’s publisher presentations:

Image talked up new first issues for both JACK STAFF and INVINCIBLE (who’s going back to his original costume) and reported that the first issue of COWBOY NINJA VIKING has been ordered at Chew-like levels.

Marvel made a few major announcements, aside from showing a new trailer for SIEGE, which is already up at YouTube (Thanks Robot6) for the time being. David Gabriel announced that Marvel would be focusing less on giant nine- or 10-month line-wide events and more on “mini-events” that lasted a few months and spanned a few titles.

The most interesting Marvel announcement from where we sit was a year focusing on “Marvel Women,” which will include a superheroine-focused event, and a “Young Guns” artist promotion and a writer search with only female participants. The program seems well-timed, both for the growing number of “girl nerd” customers, and with future owner Disney’s strong track record in the female space.

DC announced an 11×17 hardcover collection for WEDNESDAY COMICS in May, and a new line of pulp-hero ongoings spearheaded by Brian Azzarello. Perhaps the biggest announcement was the largest experiment in street dates yet — a promotion called “Green Christmas” which will see BLACKEST NIGHT #6 ship to retailers with the December 23rd books, to be held for sale on December 30th, when Diamond is making no shipments.

This morning’s Diamond/publisher Q&A session was relatively low-key, with questions on package damage, invoice timing and the possibility of simultaneous hardcover/softcover releases. We’ll wrap up the issues covered shortly, but despite some chatter over the possibility of removing their reorder penalties, Diamond announced no changes in trade term policies. Although Diamond had a profitable year, according to VP Bill Schanes, margins were still tight, and pulling revenue from one column meant that it must be made up for in another. However, he expects more announcements along these lines in a few months.