Comics Lowdown: New charity helps retailers

Also: Manga dominates the BookScan chart, Crumb originals bring in big bucks, Cecil Casetellucci talks ‘Soupy.’

Retailers Help Their Own: A group of comic shop owners has started an organization, Helping Comics Retailers with Issues (a.k.a. HCR Issues) to, well, do just what the name says: They will help pay down the debt to Diamond of comic shops that have run into rough waters. Secretary and co-founder Dr. Christina Blanch, owner of Aw Yeah! Comics in Muncie, Indiana, says that plans were in the works for a while, but Hurricane Harvey sped things up.

Back to School Again: ICv2 has the BookScan top 20 graphic novels chart for August, and vol. 9 of the superhero-school manga My Hero Academia takes the top spot. In fact, Viz has ten of the top 20 titles, with four volumes of My Hero Academia (1, 2, 8, 9), two volumes of Tokyo Ghoul (the first and the last), and assorted other titles. Add in vol. 22 of Attack on Titan and Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Manga of Tidying Up, and you’ve got a chart dominated by manga. On the other hand, there are no Marvel titles at all and the only DC books on the chart are Watchmen and The Killing Joke. BookScan covers bookstores and other retail channels such as Amazon, so their charts are often very different from Diamond’s, which only cover comic shops.

Badass Editors Talk Shop: How badass? Weekly Shonen Magazine publishes 400 pages of manga every week, 50 weeks a year (they get two breaks). Here’s a transcript of a panel discussion at the Kinokuniya Bookstore in New York, featuring Tetsuya Fujikawa, editor of Aho Girl, and Megumu Tsuchiya, editor of Fire Force and The Heroic Legend of Arslan (by Fullmetal Alchemist creator Hiromu Arakawa), talking about the day-to-day grind of making manga.

Interviews and Profiles

Riding the Rails: Cecil Castellucci talks about Soupy Leaves Home, a book about hoboes riding the rails that has its origins in her own hard times.

They’re Back! Jim McCann and Janet Lee talk about the new edition of Return of the Dapper Men in an video interview recorded at Comic-Con International in San Diego.

Reviews, Roundups, and Commentary

Fukushima Blues: Ryan Holmberg wrote an interesting piece on the manga Ichi-F, the memoir of a cleanup worker at the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant, placing it in context and discussing the underlying politics.

Eight of the Best: Abraham Reisman recommends some new comics that are worth a look.

The Biz

Just the Crumbs: An auction of singer Graham Nash’s collection of original art by Robert Crumb took in a total of $1.1 million recently, with about half of that accounted for by just one piece: An unused cover for Zap Comix #1 that went for $525,800. Crumb is hot right now: Earlier this year, the original art for the cover of the 1969 Fritz the Cat collection went for $717,000, setting a record for a piece of American comics art.

Retailing: South Philly Comics is closing its doors for good, but that doesn’t leave the area bereft of comic shops.

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