Comics Lowdown: Comic books sales up in 2018, Marvel top publisher; stalker sets cosplayer’s car on fire

Plus: ‘Drama’ drama with the Ottawa Catholic School Board! Faith Erin Hicks! Jed MacKay! And more!

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 The best-selling comics was Action #1000, a landmark issue featuring unpublished artwork by legendary Superman artist Curt Swan and the introduction of writer Brain Michael Bendis to the DC universe.

Complete lists and more insight are available on comichron.com.

Drama

Banned/just kidding: This week, the Ottawa Catholic School Board (OCSB) first banned, and then reinstated the graphic novel Drama by Raina Telgemeier. The book featured a same-sex kiss between two characters, which prompted the school board to pull the graphic novel from their elementary school libraries, only making them available to children in grades 7-12. After criticism from parents, Lyra Evans, a transgender school board trustee, stated that the book is appropriate as it is a coming-of-age story that has a kiss, similar to how other children’s stories have heterosexual relationships.

A day after the ban, OCSB issued a statement saying they reconsidered, and they are now allowing Drama back into their elementary libraries.

“The Ottawa Catholic School Board has listened to educators, parents, stakeholders & ratepayers,” said spokesperson Mardi de Kemp in an email. “We remain fully committed to having safe, inclusive, and accepting schools.”

According to the American Library Association, Drama is still one of the most challenged books in school libraries, making the top 10 list three times in the last four years.

Crime and Cosplay: Last weekend, a car was lit on fire in the parking lot of a hotel adjacent to the Ontario Convention Center during the Anime Los Angeles Convention. A suspect covered a vehicle in gasoline then started the blaze that caused damage to seven vehicles in total. Cosplayer Julia Moreno Jenkins was the owner of the vehicle and said she was “specifically targeted and attacked by an obsessed stalker.”

Matthew Masumi Toyotome has been charged on suspicion of arson.

Interviews

Profiles: While promoting his latest graphic novel Sabrina, Nick Drnasos talks to the New Yorker about his life and career.

Remastered artwork from One Year in Ellsmere

Remastered: One of Faith Erin Hicks’ earlier works, The War on Ellsmere will be remasted and released in 2020 as One Year in Ellsmere. Hicks will re-ink the book and will be released in colour. Previews of the new artwork are featured in this interview.

Island Boy: CBC News caught up with Jed MacKay on how someone who grew up on the tiny Canadian island of Prince Edward Island made it into the big leagues and became a writer for Marvel Comics.

Awards and ACCOLADES

Best of 2018: The Beat announced their Comics Industry Persons of the Year for 2018 and the winners were Stan Lee, being named Comics Industry Person of the Year, and Olivia Jaimes as Comic Industry Newcomer of the Year. Lee was named because of his legendary status, his advocacy for comics, and 70 years in the industry. Jaimes was named for her brilliant work in modernizing the syndicated comics character Nancy into a relevant and interesting comic by today’s standards.


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