A few things from hither and yon:
§ Archie Comics’ aggressive new management team is profiled in a big story in the NY Times’ Business section:
We’re at the beginning of the beginning,” says Jon Goldwater, co-chief executive of Archie Comic Publications. “We’re going to expand. Publishing will always be part of it, but we must morph into a multimedia company.”
With more than $40 million in print and digital sales last year, Archie Comics, based in Mamaroneck, N.Y., is a small player in a large but unforgiving market dominated by DC Comics and Marvel Entertainment. Archie’s titles capture less than 1 percent of sales at comic book specialty shops, and the competitive challenge is only growing: Comics in general are battling the popularity of other distractions like video games and YouTube. And traditional readers of comics are aging, with no steady stream of new ones to take their place.
Among the Archie merch on its way, T-shirts at Urban Outfitters and Target, caps, jammies and so on. The whole article paints a solid picture of the process of Archie’s business over the last few years.
§ What are the great emblematic comics of the ’70s, asks Tom Spurgeon. Go supply your own answers.
§ Batwoman, the first major gay DC superhero, is coming back in her own book, starting with a 0 issue in November, followed by a regular series in February ’11. J.H. Williams and W. Haden Blackman will co-write, and Williams and Amy Reeder will alternate on story arcs on art. And to go along with the announcement, DC released not one but two awesome alternate covers, by Williams (above) and Reeder.
§ At Comics Comics, Jog’s interesting thoughts on Bakuman and Peepo Choo.
§ Douglas Wolk examines Salvador Larroca’s use of the “widescreen” panel.
§ What comics strip — if any — will arise to fill that Cathy-sized hole in the newspaper page?
§ Bleeding Cool links to a Canadian study showing that comics help boys learn to read, something that many studies over the years have shown. The study isn’t loading up right now, but BC had some salient quotes.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.