LA Comics News Roundup: Comics vs. Toys begins, Borders ends

All the news that’s fit to shove through internet tubes. Here’s the world of comic books and graphic novels in LA and beyond over the last week or so, with some commentary:

= Rebranded Eagle Rock comic store Comics vs. Toys gets profiled on how it came into existence. Answer: From the ashes of two neighboring Eagle Rock comic stores Another World Comics and Mini-Melt Too. In a time when stores are closing and people in less populated areas are lucky if they have a store within a 3-hour drive, it’s amazing to think that two stores existed side by side for a year. I shopped at this store for maybe a year when it was still the Meltdown Comics satellite shop Mini-Melt Too, after Another World Comics had already closed, and really appreciated co-owner Ace Aguilera going out of his way to get me the comics I liked, which can skew off the beaten path at times. It’s one of those small but great stores that LA is lucky to have in abundance. Read it: Eagle Rock Patch

= And speaking of stores closing, the LA Weekly looks at the slow death of the Borders in Westwood. The Borders company will give severance pay, but hasn’t told the store employees their last day. Apparently it will be when the store has been picked clean at severely discounted prices. Read it: LA Weekly

= Two 24-year-old Los Angeles men, Farhad Lame and Navid Vatankhahan, each have to pay $750, complete 10 days of community service (picking up trash), and remain on probation for 3 years for selling fraudulent passes to this past summer’s Comic-Con International: San Diego comic book and pop culture convention. They pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges in San Diego Superior Court. They had sold a pair of 2-day passes to 2 women for $120 each on Craigslist. The passes ended up being photocopies of exhibitor badges, so naturally the women weren’t allowed in. Both men were arrested on the last day of Comic-Con. Read it: Sign On San Diego

= For you creative types, comics lettering and calligraphy innovators Comicraft, based right here in Los Angeles, had their annual New Year’s Day Sale, and “secretly” extended it through the holiday weekend. Maybe it’s still happening when you visit. See it:

= Comics Alliance wrapped up their Digital December, a month long look at the state of digital comics with excellent interviews with nearly every major player and articles by David Brothers and Laura Hudson:

  • Dark Horse Online Marketing Manager Matt Parkinson talked about the publisher’s aggressive digital plans launching this year. Read it: Comics Alliance
  • IDW Publishing Director of ePublishing Jeff Webber discussed the success of licensed comics of more recognized properties vs. original comics. Read it: Comics Alliance
  • Boom! Studios Marketing Director Chip Mosher discussed the LA publisher’s early adoption of digital and the risk of overhyping. Read it: Comics Alliance
  • DC Comics Senior VP of Digital Hank Kanalz talked about balancing digital and print. Read it: Comics Alliance
  • Writer Mark Waid, former Chief Creative Officer of Boom! Studios, gave a frank interview on what needs to happen next for digital comics to succeed. (This was picked up by the Huffington Post). Read it: Comics Alliance
  • San Diego comics publisher IDW announced their release of digital graphic novels when most publishers have been releasing shorter single issues. Read it: Comics Alliance
  • Marvel Comics Senior VP of Sales David Gabriel and Executive VP of Global Digital Media Ira Rubenstein talked about the success of their apps and day-and-date releases, and the practice of pulling digital comics back into their vault. Read it: Comics Alliance
  • Do you really own the comics you’ve downloaded? Probably not. Read it: Comics Alliance
  • Fantagraphics Associate Publisher Eric Reynolds revealed that the prestige publisher does have plans to go digital. Read it: Comics Alliance
  • Archie Comics Co-CEO Jon Goldwater probably gave the most brief answers. It seems like maybe someone more directly in charge of Archie’s digital initiative should’ve fielded this one instead. Read it: Comics Alliance
  • Comics shop trade group ComicsPRO had executive director Amanda Emmert talk about how brick and mortar stores are handling the march of digital comics. Read it: Comics Alliance

= Happy Birthday Robot 6! LA-based comics news site Comic Book Resources turned over their site to their 2-year-old blog yesterday. Among their exclusive features:

  • Disney is having one of the last great works of comics that have yet to be rereleased turned into a series of graphic novels. The entire Carl Barks catalog, which gave us the expanded world of Donald Duck and his nephews in Duckberg and Uncle Scrooge, will be published by Fantagraphics who have been doing the high quality Peanuts collections. In an interview publisher Gary Groth revealed the details: $25 hard cover graphic novels, released twice a year. Read it: Robot 6
  • An excellent interview with Archaia Comics about marketing and two of their big releases selling out with Archaia Editor-in-Chief Stephen Christy, Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard writer/artist David Petersen and Return of the Dapper Men creators Jim McCann and Janet Lee. Read it: Robot 6
  • A great look back at the year of 2010 in digital comics. Read it: Robot 6
  • Preview of Tokyopop‘s Priest: Purgatory, a graphic novel serving as a prequel to the upcoming movie based on their manwha (Korean comic) Priest: Genesis by Min-Woo Hyung. See it: Robot 6
  • Previews of Boom! Studios comics coming in April. See them: part 1, part 2, part 3
  • A preview of Boom!’s Irredeemable #21 by Mark Waid and Peter Krause, shipping this week. Read it: Robot 6
  • A massive survey of comic creators and other movers & shakers sharing their thoughts on 2010 and what they hope is to come in 2011. Read it (if you dare!): Robot 6

= Marvel Comics announced a same day and date release schedule for the digital version of their big “Death of Spider-Man” story in February issues of Ultimate Comics Spider-Man and Ultimate Comics Avengers vs. New Ultimates. Both print and digital versions of the issues will be priced at $3.99. Most similarly sized digital comics, almost entirely released months if not years after the original print comics were released, are priced $0.99 to $1.99. This is the third time the major comics publisher has experimented with simultaneous releases, still refusing to price them lower than the print versions due to their relationship with comic book stores. Read it: Mania

= Who was the most popular super-hero in the 1940s? Superman, Batman? Nope. Captain Marvel, the kid who turned into a superhero by yelling “Shazam!”. To celebrate the character’s 70th anniversary, Zack Smith has been releasing a massive oral history with tons of new quotes and artwork. Includes commentary by writer Mark Waid (Kingdom Come), Batman movies producer Michael Uslan, author and graphic designer Chip Kidd (Rough Justice), Jeff Smith (Bone), and others. And he’s not even done yet! Read it: Newsarama (part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6, part 7)

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