Happy Saturday. If you're one of the many people stuck inside with this bizarre late winter storm, please enjoy these links. If you're not, well, why are you staring at a screen?
- Our friends at Panel Patter have been putting out fun reads with their new regular feature, This Looks Cool. Check out what Sean says about Alice Ever After and what Rob says about The British Paranormal Society.
- Tom Shapira composes a loving and thorough retrospective on the brilliance of Larry Hama and his tenure as write of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero for The Comics Journal.
- At Neotext Review, Chloe Maveal provides a similar retrospective on the talents of a particular favorite of Scott and me, Shaky Kane.
- The busier I get, the more judicious I have to be about what I read and what I start to follow. Graeme McMillan's Newsletetter is something that has wedged itself into my reading habits, and it's a treat every time. This week, he tackles changes at Comixology and why DC continues to mine Watchmen.
- Speaking of Comixology, even prior to the Amazon nonsense, I've long lamented the set-up and user interface. I often have a hard time finding what I'm looking for, and I generally tend to know what I'm looking for. I could never imagine a newly curious comic reader stumbling into the app trying to find a particular story or starting point. (Such a conundrum is both the result of an continually compounded by renumbering, but alas). I'm forutnate to patronize an absolutely gigantic comic shop that still finds a way to put the customer experience front and center and, as a result, remains incredibly friendly to new readers. Nonetheless, I know many shops aren't as inclined, and I always thought Comixology was good for those people - new or casual fans who didn't want the stigma of entering a comic shop (some people don't want to look like dorks, and no one wants to feel unwelcomed).
And then Amazon messed Comixology up even more. Anna Peppard breaks it all down way better than I can for ComicsXF.
- T. Trewhella explores the implications of nostalgia via an examination of Top 10 #8 at Shelfdust.
- Finally, 2021 was a record year for comics retail as explained by Jim McLaughlin from ICV2. Amidst the handwringing abut whether or not Diamond was a monopoly with a stranglehold on the industry or whether it was a necessary element to streamline the process for small businesses, sales in a world of multiple distirbutors are increasing exponentially. Of course, correlation doesn't equal causation. What is interesting is the shakedown of Diamond's top-ten books (Comichron), that includes the entirety of the Spawn line published in the month and only one Marvel book (She-Hulk). Why shops showed a proclivity towards purchasing She-Hulk from Diamond over other Marvel books is a mystery. The other intriguing aspect is the difference in what qualifies as a top 10 comic without Marvel or DC dominating the top of the charts. Stray Dogs has been an indie hit and sold 100,000+ copies in December, and one could bet the far on similarly strong sales numbers for the Saga revival. That the Spawn team book outsold both of them is indicative both of the vitality of that line and the speculation surrounding a new #1. If numbers are consistent with December, the Spawn books would ship between 40 and 50 thousand copies - solid for that particular line, but not necessarily top ten material pre-distributor decentralization.