§ Nice Art: It’s clearing the tabs Friday! I have a dozen things bookmarked from, well, weeks, and Chrome doesn’t like it when you keep tabs open. So we’re CLEARING THE TABS.
One thing I has saved was this thread from All-Around Superstar Ngozi Ukazu where she imagines a…superhero?
I…made up a superhero who is a scientist and an engineer but has issues with procrastinating and getting overly-invested in old sci-fi TV shows. He's from Chicago. #NickRose pic.twitter.com/hwanePn0D6
— ☆ Ngozi ☆ (@ngoziu) January 5, 2019
Wow indeed. Bitty is wrapping up year four, will Ukazu move on to another series some day?
§ We’ve been talking about the ALA Graphic Novel and Comics Round Table for a while now, an assemblage of hero librarians out to save the day, but it looks like they will be making AWARDS? The ALA presents the Newbery and Caldecott Awards among others, and an award for graphic novels would be quite prestigious. And YOU can help!
Hey comics fans – @libcomix Awards and Lists Committee needs YOUR input about what kinds of awards and lists you'd like to see. So help them help you!
— Matthew Noe (@NoetheMatt) January 17, 2019
§ Jim Starlin was quite pleased to see Thanos on the Simpsons. And the circle is completed once more.
§ Andrea Ayres wrote about the production cycle of a comic for The MNT – if you are excited by the terms TIFF and FTP this is for you.
You probably remember the first time you held your favorite book, be it comic or otherwise, in your hand. There’s a lot that happens in between those initial inklings of an idea to printing and shipping a completed work. Where a large publishing house may have an entire department dedicated to pre-press, small publishers have only themselves to rely upon. The best way to understand what it takes to publish as a small press these days? Ask.
§ Most of us are too exhausted to follow this Brexit business, but a closed caption created some mirth when it appeared the suggest that Batman could not be prime minister.
The cover reveal for Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid: Rowley Jefferson’s Journal was made on January 8 on Today.
Marking Kinney’s first book outside the Wimpy Kid series, the novel is due out on April 9 in the United States and Canada—in hardcover, e-book, and audio editions—with a three million-copy announced first printing. Over the course of the year, Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid will be published in more than 18 additional countries.
The book will include some 350 illustrations. And the 14th Wimpy Kid book will be out later in the year, as is tradition. Ka-ching.
PS: The cover reveal was made on the Today show. Many millions of years ago the BEAT debuted a Wimpy Kid cover! Times change.
§ Speaking of million selling kids comics, Dav Pilkey’s 6th Dogman book set records with a FIVE MILLION COPY PRINT RUN but the holiday lay down was marred by big box retailers breaking embargo! Indies were fuming!
With a release date of December 24, Scholastic hoped Dav Pilkey’s latest Dog Man book, Brawl of the Wild (Graphix), would bring big sales for retailers at the close of the holiday season. It has, but the company’s laydown policies have also come under fire from independent booksellers after copies of the book were spotted on sale a day before the release date at a BJ’s Wholesale Club in Framingham, Mass. Debbie Sullivan, proprietor of The Book Oasis in nearby Stoneham, Mass., posted a photo of the book on display on December 23 on social media. The image sparked an outcry from booksellers on social media, who said it confirmed their widely held suspicion that large retailers violate strict-on-sale dates because publishers do not hold them to the same standards for breaking the terms of their sales contracts.
§ Here is a Twitter thread by Comichron sales guru John Jackson Miller about the 2018 Diamond Sales Charts. Experts will already have digested this, as I’m a bit late to the game, but JJM estimates that the #1 gnn of the year Infinity Gauntlet sold about 40,000 copies to comics shops. A healthy number but not as much as Saga or Walking Dead.
Marvel had the #1 graphic novel of the year, Infinity Gauntlet, moving more than 40,000 copies; it dethroned Image, which had the leader all decade. But that level's below top-sellers all decade; Walking Dead, Saga lines are older. See top sellers by year: https://t.co/BFPRGuuDS2 pic.twitter.com/uBwIx9uepE
— Comichron.com (@comichron) January 16, 2019
And here’s a link to Miller’s longer column.
§ Retailers are still rolling out their sales summaries for the year past and here’s Comix Experience Best Sellers 2018 from Beat columnist Brian Hibbs The formatting made us want to hack their WordPress account, but the information is solid:
2018 was a damn terrible year for Comix Experience: Sales were down for the second year in a row – down by 5.7% in the main store on Divisadero St, and down a staggering 16.9% at Outpost. Eleven of twelve months were down at Divis, 28 of the last 29. This isn’t the worst two years in our 29 year history – 2009-2010 showed a 15% drop from 2008, and here we are down less than 13%, but I’m also very eager for the bleeding to stop.
At least the Divis drop is better than last year (where it was 8.5%) Outpost was, as noted, down 16.9% in 2018 – this is one of the reasons I was strongly contemplating shutting down that location when the lease just came up this Christmas, but at the end of the day I wasn’t willing to shut down a comic store (I am stubborn), so we’re set for at least three more years.
The curve is different at Outpost – it is accelerating (2017 was “only” down 7.29%), but it’s only been 20 of the last 21 months. I don’t think any of this is on my excellent staff, and I don’t think this is part of the “death of retail” narrative: I just think that the three market leaders are doing a shitty job at putting out compelling products overall. I also think the current President has people in the Bay Area scared and hoarding their nuts.
I’ve been rolling around the lack of good content thing with folks, and it’s clear, minus a new BKV book, nothing is really driving people into stores with urgency. I don’t want to use the “cable tv killed reading” argument, but I do think the sheer massive amount of content (much of its based on comics) coming from all those streaming giants and mini giants is mesmerizing a lot of people these days. TV is all anyone can talk about.
§ And while we’re on the “Hm” topic, ICv2 reported on IDW’s owner lending the company $28 million to make up for some shortfalls. IDW has long had a lot of self-financing but budget shortfalls are not good.
§ Finally something pretty horrible. At last weekend’s Anime Los Angeles show, attendees were allarmed when an alleged stalker set seven cars on fire in the hotel parking lot.
A suspected arson attack, allegedly carried out by an “obsessed stalker”, has torched seven cars in the parking lot of a hotel where Anime Los Angeles attendees have been staying over the weekend. The incident took place early on Sunday morning, just before 2am. The night manager of the Azure Hotel & Suites in Ontario, California told ABC News that surveillance footage “showed a man walk up to the main vehicle, pour two cans of gasoline all over it and then [flick] a match on it”. That car belonged to cosplayer Julia Moreno Jenkins, who says her vehicle was “targeted and set on fire by an obsessed stalker”. Once it was in flames, the fire then spread to nearby cars. As a precaution, the hotel was evacuated.
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.