August apocalypse: How bad?

The business news website ICv2 isn’t known for being hyperbolic. So when Milton Griepp said that this month’s comics sales had “plummeted” everyone leaped up, screaming, knocking over chairs and spilling drinks everywhere.

Sales of comics and graphic novels through Diamond Comic Distributors dropped substantially in August with periodical comics falling 17% and graphic novels down 21%.  There wasn’t a single comic title even close to the 100,000 in August. 

If it weren’t for the continued strength of SCOTT PILGRIM trades, the GN drop would have been even more grisly. On the periodical side, there was no big book, but, said ICv2, Certainly “the lack of one big title can’t account for everything.”

The grim details immediately set the punditocracy to arms, perhaps sniffing the hint of burning smoke in Tom Spurgeon’s Doomapocalyptigeddon which he descried from his aerie high in the Misty Mountains, the same distant smell of charring paper and brimstone that we’ve been picking up for the last few weeks.

Marvel Month-to-Month Sales: July 2010

by Paul O’Brien

The big launch for July is the new ongoing X-MEN series, which duly makes its debut at the top of the chart. Also this month, as the X-books’ “Second Coming” crossover ends, the Daredevil-centred SHADOWLAND event begins. The Young Avengers return in AVENGERS: THE CHILDREN’S CRUSADE. And from the Icon imprint, there’s the debut issue of Brian Bendis and Alex Maleev’s SCARLET.

Needless to say, Marvel were once again the top company in the direct market, leading DC by 43% to 35% in terms of unit share, and 39% to 32% in dollars.

Atlas is back, debuts at NYCC

Can an old-fashioned comic book company that lasted about a year in the newsstand era find happiness in the modern world of licensing and Hollywood exploitation? That’s what Stan Lee’s cousin (by marriage) is counting on, with the relaunch of Atlas Comics.

Atlas/Seaboard was founded by Martin Goodman, founder of the original Marvel/Atlas/Timely. After selling Marvel to the distributor Cadence, Goodman got back into the publishing game in 1974 with Atlas Comics, a short-lived but innovative outfit that offered art returns, profit sharing, and other ahead-of-their-times perks. However, it didn’t last long — by 1975, it was dead.

One self-publisher's digital survival plan

Filipino comics artist/self-publisher Gerry Alanguilan (Elmer), was supposed to deliver an address at a symposium called “Future of the Book” but he was forced to bow out, so instead he posted his speech for all of us to read. While reading the whole thing is the best way to approach it, the gist can be conveyed. Although Alanguilan is basically married to the idea of print publishing, he thinks it can exist with digital:

SPX 2010 memory roundup

This year’s Small Press Expo was so wonderful that we can’t stop reading about it! It’s the first time in a while that it wasn’t too cold or too hot but just right at an indie comics show we’ve attended and that made it special. PLUS, SVA and MICA and CCS and MCAD and SCAD have been turning out lots and lots of excellent new cartoonists and the established people are putting out great stuff and there is real excitement everywhere.

There are tons of ’em, including this video made by Steven Greenstreet…we selected a few because they were interesting or especially charming. and Marvel offer desktop downloads

Yet another step towards complete digital distribution as Marvel and announced a deal to sell Marvel Comics via graphic-ky’s desktop application. Single issues will be available via both digital download to desktop and some mobile devices, including such titles as Iron Man; Kick Ass; Amazing Spider Man; Captain America, and Astonishing X-Men. While comics have been getting establish on handheld devices, selling them via a stand-alone desktop client has been having a harder time getting off the ground; this should change that. Desktop downloads have the advantage of being readable when offline of benig able to be shared among devices.