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RECENT INDUSTRY NEWS
WAL-MART SHRINKS THEIR TOY DEPARTMENT…You may have an even harder time finding Action Figures (as well as most other toys) in the near future. Retail juggernaut Walmart has announced that it is cutting its toy space by more than half as part of an overall redesign of their stores. This redesign (called “fast, friendly, clean,”)  will cut aisles, widen remaining aisles, eliminate end caps, and reduce the number of product and product lines carried in various departments, including toys. The first of these redesigns will take affect in just under a quarter of the chain’s stores this summer. Then they'll reevaluate and tweak the program before initiating it to all stores across the country. Currently Walmart is the nation's largest toy retailer, and these changes are expected to have a dramatic impact on the toy business. While it is expected that Target, Toys R'Us and other toy retailers will pick up some of the toy lines Walmart will be dropping, this move will put additional pressure on toy manufactures as their sales drop in the interim.
Submitted by: Tim "Comicbookman" Davis
Source: TD Monthly
Posted: 060509
CHICAGO MAY BE COMICS CAPITAL…Chicago-based R.R. Donnelley (the Yellow Pages people) has made an offer to buy Quebecor World, which prints a high percentage of U.S. comics as well as magazines and books. Donnelley is offering to buy the Quebecor World’s assets for $1.3 billion in cash and stock. The offer includes $700 million in cash, around $400 million in Donnelley stock, and Quebecor cash on hand of around $250 million. Quebecor has been in financial trouble since the first of the year when they filed for bankruptcy protection in Canada and the U.S. The companies financial woes have been laid at the feet of its European operations and in its inability to raise new capital in the current market environment. Since January it has sold its European assets and filed a reorganization plan in the hopes of emerging from bankruptcy. The Donnelley offer is being floated as a better deal for Quebecor’s creditors. Donnelley is currently the world’s largest printing company, and would use its acquisition of Quebecor World to expand its operations in Canada.
Submitted by: Tim "Comicbookman" Davis
Source: Various Sources
Posted: 051509
MCFARLANE TOYS GUTS ITS STAFF…According to various sources McFarlane Toys is feeling the pinch of the bad economy to as it is laying off a large percentage of its in-house design staff. The action figure/toy maker will be slashing 27 positions from it’s design staff, bring that department from 40 to 13. Personnel from mold, paint, sculpting and model departments are all losing their jobs and the company will retain only a handful of designers that will work exclusively in digital formats, creating sculpts based on scans of real people. How will they keep up production with such a drastic cut in design staff? Freelancer’s will be hired to take up the slack. This layoff news came the same day that McFarlane unveiled its newest sports figure line: Sports Picks College Football figures. This new line will feature likenesses of profession football stars in their colleges’ home uniforms. The line’s Series One assortment includes: Tom Brady (University Of Michigan Wolverines), Ray Lewis (University of Miami Hurricanes), Peyton Manning (University of Tennessee Volunteers), Adrian Peterson (University of Oklahoma Sooners), Hines Ward (University of Georgia Bulldogs), and JaMarcus Russell (Louisiana State University Tigers). Look for it on the shelves in August. Todd McFarlane issued a statement that the company was not threatened but just experiencing the same downturn as 1000’s of other business across the country. “Does this mean that my company is on the verge of going out of business? No, it simply means that some corrections were needed within my company.”
Submitted by: Tim "Comicbookman" Davis
Source: Various Sources
Posted: 050409
HOW TO LOSE 5% AND BE A SUCCESS…As I always tell customers who ask me, the comics industry isn’t bulletproof, but it is tougher than we all thought.. For the month of March comicbook sales were down 7% nationwide according to Diamond Distribution and other sources. Conversely graphic novel sales were up over their February decline picking up a 6% gain natoionwide in March. Put all of this together and nationwide the comics and graphic novels in March were down 5% from March of 2008’s numbers. The increase in March Graphic novel sales was boosted in large part to the huge number of sales of the Watchmen graphic novel, tied in of course to the Watchmen film. Looking at the quarter (January/February/March) sales of comics and graphic novels were down 5% this year versus the first quarter of 2008. With many businesses posting losses of anywhere from 15-30% during this period, the comics industry actually looks to be in good shape with a 5% loss. Strange days indeed.
Submitted by: Tim "Comicbookman" Davis
Source: Various Sources
Posted: 041709
2009 EISNER AWARD NOMINEES ANNOUNCED…The 2009 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards have been announced and this year Dark Horse and newcomers lead the field of the industry's best. Dark Horse has the most nominations of any publisher, with thirteen individual nominations and five shared. Behind Dark Horse was DC  with 10 individual and 2 shared, Marvel with 9 individual and 2 shared, Drawn & Quarterly with 10 nominations, First Second :01 with 9 nominees, Fantagraphics with 7 nominees, and IDW, Viz, Image, and AdHouse all with 5 nominations apiece. This years nominees also include many newcomers including Canadian cousins Mariko and Jillian Tamaki (writer and artist of the teen angst graphic novel Skim) to French biographer Emmanuel Guibert (Alan's War) to graphic novelist Nate Powell (Swallow Me Whole). Ballots will go out in mid-April to comics creators, editors, publishers, and retailers. A downloadable pdf of the ballot will also be available online, and a special website has been set up for online voting. The results in all categories will be announced in a gala awards ceremony on the evening of Friday, July 24 at Comic-Con International. For a full listing of all the mominees as well as other Eisner news got to our EISNER AWARDS PAGE.
Submitted by: Tim "Comicbookman" Davis
Source: Various Sources
Posted: 040909
DUCKS IN LIMBO… Disney Comics Worldwide Website revealed Gemstone Publishing (a subsidiary of Diamond Distribution) will not be renewing its license to publish Disney comics in the U.S., however reports vary on whether Gemstone will be ceasing publication of either the Disney titles or the EC Archives. The Overstreet Price Guide (another one of Gemstone’s publications) has just shipped and plans are underway for next years 40th Anniversary Edition. Official word from Gemstone is no final decision has been made regarding The EC Archives or the comics featuring Disney’s standard characters, but it seems certain that both lines will continue in some form. Walt Disney’s Comics & Stories has been publishing (on and off) since the early 1950’s. At one time it was America’s #1 comic with a monthly circulation of over 3 million copies. In 1999 Gladstone, which held the Disney license went out of business and there was a 4-year hiatus in the publication of all Disney Comics until Gemstone took over the license in the summer of 2003. Since then Gemstone has published some 280+ Disney comics however the current releases on the racks may be the last Disney comics we see for a while.
Submitted by: Tim "Comicbookman" Davis
Source: ICV2
Posted: 033109

All Books/Characters/Individuals pictured herein are © Copyright 2009 by their respective owners.
No rights given or implied by Alternate Reality, Incorporated.

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