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The 2018 direct market numbers from Diamond are in and comic sales are ever so slightly up from 2017. Comics saw an increase to sales by 3.3%, but graphic novels were down by 6.6%. The combined sales of the two formats mean a wee increase of 0.6% for the direct market.
Marvel Comics increased their market share slightly to gain an extra 2% over DC Comics, who seemed to have flat lined and lost 0.3% of their market share. This indicates that Marvel’s market share gains mostly come from the expense of small publishers or independent comic sales, with the exception of Image Comics, who also saw a slight increase.
The best-selling graphic novel of the year was Infinity Gauntlet. The 1991 story is enjoying a revival because of the Avengers: Infinity War movie. The best-selling comics was Action #1000, a landmark issue featuring unpublished artwork by legendary Superman artist Curt Swan and the introduction of writer Brain Michael Bendis to the DC universe.
Plus: News on Grant Morrison, Tintin, Stan Lee and more.
Batton Lash, the creator of the long-running comic-strip-turned-comic-book Wolff and Byrd, Counselors of the Macabre (later re-titled Supernatural Law) passed away Jan. 12 at the age of 65 from brain cancer.
Lash’s comics career began in the late 1970s when Wolff and Byrd began running as a weekly comic strip in The Brooklyn Paper and then later in The National Law Journal. In the 1990s, he and his wife, Jackie Estrada, formed Exhibit A Press, which began publishing Wolff and Byrd comics under the title Supernatural Law. It later migrated to the web. His other works included writing the Archie Meets The Punisher crossover as well as Bongo Comics’ Radioactive Man book, which received an Eisner Award in 2002. He also collaborated with James Hudnall on Obama Nation, a conservative political comic strip that appeared on one of Andrew Breitbart’s websites.
An open letter to Abrams from the Asian Author Alliance, signed by more than 1,000 writers, teachers and readers, reads: “The simple fact is that today, the biggest terrorist threat in the United States is white supremacy. In publishing A Suicide Bomber Sits in the Library, Abrams is willfully fear-mongering and spreading harmful stereotypes in a failed attempt to show the power of story.”
McKean responded to some of the controversy on Twitter: “The premise of the book is that a boy uses his mind and faith to decide for himself that violence is not the right course or action.” The book was due to be published next May.
The New York Times not only wrote a thorough obituary of “The Man,” but also featured a comic by Brian Michael Bendis, Bill Walko and Howie Noel.
Peter David, freelance comics writer and a former Marvel employee, wrote a remembrance of Lee for Vulture. “Still, there was a time where Stan became the incarnation of that line from The Dark Knight: You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become a villain. In the ’80s and ’90s, it became increasingly stylish to bash Stan, to accuse him of hogging attention for his creations from the artists. But the fact is that before Marvel Comics, comics writers and artists were anonymous. It was Stan who made the artists the centerpieces of the work, giving them snappy nicknames like ‘Stainless’ Steve Ditko, ‘Genial’ Gene Colan, ‘Larrupin’’ Larry Lieber (no, even his brother wasn’t immune), and many others. We would come to know the artists (and other writers) as well as, if not better than, members of our only families. DC editors were so disdainful of this practice that they referred to him as ‘Stan Brag,’ before eventually following suit and crediting people.”
Roy Thomas, a legendary comics writer in his own right, shares the memory of his last Saturday spent with Lee at the Hollywood Reporter.
The face of Marvel Comics leaves behind a lifelong legacy of superheroes and sequential art
On the morning of Nov. 12, legendary comic creator Stan Lee was rushed to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center where he passed away. The news was broken by TMZ, who spoke with his daughter, J.C. Lee.
It feels weird to write an obituary on a man many comic fans know so well already.
Stanley Martin Lieber’s career in comics started when he was only 17 years old as an assistant at Timely Comics. His duties included refilling inkwells and erasing pencil lines. Two years later, using Jack Kirby’s and Joe Simon’s Nazi-fighting war hero, Lieber got his chance to write his first story called “Captain America Foils the Traitor’s Revenge.” Lieber used the pen name “Stan Lee.” The story was only a two-page text story in Captain America #3, but it was the story where Captain America first used his iconic shield-throwing maneuver. Two issues later, Stan Lee got his first comic break with “Headline Hunter, Foreign Correspondent,” which also showed Lee’s love for names with alliteration. Lee’s first superhero co-creation was Destroyer in Mystic Comics #6 (1941).
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People: In an interview subtitled “Those I Trusted Betrayed Me,” Stan Lee speaks to The Daily Beast about elder-abuse allegations against his daughter and the removal of several of his associates from his life.
“There really isn’t that much drama,” Lee said. “As far as I’m concerned, we have a wonderful life. I’m pretty damn lucky. I love my daughter, I’m hoping that she loves me, and I couldn’t ask for a better life. If only my wife was still with us. I don’t know what this is all about.”
Plus: Tramp’s closing down, submissions open for a feminist critique of Whedon and more!
Indianapolis Star cartoonist Gary Varvel was surprised, and none too pleased, when Donald Trump Tweeted one of his cartoons—with some unauthorized alterations. The original cartoon, which was published in January, was a play on the “Trump train” trope, showing a Trump-branded locomotive with a donkey plastered on the front. (Varvel was careful to note that the donkey is “resisting” the train but not being flattened by it: “No cartoon donkeys were killed in the making of this cartoon,” he said.) Trump retweeted another version that replaced the donkey with a CNN logo, added a line about “fake news,” and cropped out Varvel’s signature.
Best known as one of Marvel’s original bullpen members and an independent comics pioneer, Flo Steinberg has passed away Sunday morning. According to Larry Hama, who reported her death on his Facebook page.
I am grieved to report that ‘Fabulous’ Flo Steinberg passed away this morning after complications from a brain aneurism and metastatic lung cancer. She will be interred at the Jewish cemetery in Kerhonkson NY. We are making plans for a memorial in September or October. I will update on this page.
Steinberg’s career in comics began in the 1960s as Marvel’s only employee besides Stan Lee. She was the company’s first receptionist, answered letters, managed the Merry Marvel Merry Marvel Marching Society, and making sure the company ran smoothly. She is considered one of the key people in growing Marvel into one of “the big two” in comic book publishing. And many times, she has been featured in comics along with the Marvel Bullpen as herself.
She eventually left Marvel. After a short break from the comics industry, she returned to New York City to help run Captain Company, the mail-order division of the horror-comics magazine firm, Warren Publishing.
“I can’t tell you what this means to me. I’m thrilled,” he said. “And if I’m half as good as everybody said I am, I’m far too good to be wasting time with ordinary people. But I seem to be spending my life with ordinary people, who are the best people in the world.”