Secret Identity Caught in #amazonfail
Craig Yoe
's book Secret Identity: The Fetish Art of Superman's Co-CreatorJoe Shuster was among a number of books that had their sales rankings on removed, making it difficult to find them using the Amazon search engine. Other notable titles included Alison Bechdel's acclaimed childhood memoir Fun Home, Diane DiMassa’s underground comic HotHead Paisan and Terry Moore’s epic Strangers in Paradise. The removal was much discussed on and posts were hashtagged #amazonfail by angry posting consumers, writers and publishers. It seems that many books, including many with gay themes, were arbitrarily deemed to be "adult content" and had their sales ranking removed. Some authors and publishers were notified that this was now an Amazon policy. Stripped of its sales ranking, a book often will not appear in an Amazon search because the rankings are used in the site's primary search option. In a story posted on the Publishers Weekly website on April 12, Amazon claimed the removal was a “glitch.” The online retailer has now said that the “glitch” affected 57,000 books and will be corrected. More details are available in this article on the Publishers Weekly website.

CBLDF, Stumptown Benefit
The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is teaming up with the Stumptown Comics Foundation for a joint fundraising benefit dinner at the ArtBar and Bistro of Portland Center for the Performing Arts on April 17. Guests of honor include Jeff Smith, creator of the critically-acclaimed epic comic Bone, Brian Michael Bendis, writer of Powers, Alias and New Avengers, Gail Simone, writer of Secret Six and Wonder Woman, Derek Kirk Kim, creator of Same Difference and Other Stories and co-creator of The Eternal Smile among others. The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is a non-profit organization providing legal aid to defend the first amendment rights of comic creators, retailers and readers. The Stumptown Comics Foundation is the parent organization of the Stumptown Comics Fest, Portland’s creator-centric comic book festival, taking place this year on April 18 and 19. A cocktail hour from 5:30 — 6:30 p.m. preceding the benefit will be open free of charge to the general public, after which ticketed guests will proceed to dinner. The three course meal — salad, entrée and dessert—will be $100 a plate, and offer a vegan option upon request. Beer and wine is included for ticketed guests with proof of age. Reservations are available on a first come first served basis from More information is available at the Stumptown site. The Portland Center for the Performing Arts is located at the intersection of Southwest Broadway and Main Street in Portland, Oregon.

New York Anime Festival Registration
The New York Anime Festival
has opened online registration for their 2009 event, taking place September 25-27 at New York City’s Javits Center. NYAF is a three day convention devoted to Japanese anime, manga and pop culture. Guests who register early online will not only guarantee entrance and avoid lines, but also receive two months of complimentary premium service on the anime and Asian video site The special online registration rate is $35 for Friday or Sunday tickets, $40 for Saturday tickets, and $55 for weekend tickets good for all three days. The Jacob Javits Convention Center is located at 655 West 34th Street, New York, NY.

Green Lantern Movie Release
Green Lantern: First Flight
, the first feature-length animated movie about the DC Comics superhero Green Lantern, will now be released on July 21. The film is the latest in DC's line of straight to videosuperhero features, and tells the origin story of Hal Jordan, a test pilot who gains astonishing powers when he tries to save a dying alien. Christopher Meloni of Law & Order: SVU stars as the voice of Hal Jordan and other ast members include Victor Garber (Alias), Tricia Helfer (Burn Notice, Battlestar Galactica) and Michael Madsen (Reservoir Dogs). Green Lantern: First Flight is produced by longtime DC animation veteran Bruce Timm, written by Emmy Award-winning scriptwriter Alan Burnett (The Batman) and directed by Lauren Montgomery (Wonder Woman, Superman: Doomsday).

Marvel Marketing Tool
Marvel Comics
is now offering comic book retailers a new marketing tool, the Marvel Retailer Resource Center. It allows comic book store owners to use official Marvel content including art, previews, and self-updating news and catalog listings. Sites created using the Marvel Retailer Resource Center may also list any non-Marvel products that the owner wishes.

Viz Unveils Virtual Merchandise
Users of 3-D virtual reality social networking site will now be able to clothe their avatars in costumes based on the popular anime and manga series Bleach. Viz Media, the publisher of Bleach, is now selling the virtual wear in a special store on Future virtual clothing will be based on other popular Viz properties.

Smith Comic Goes Melville

This month's installment of Smith's anthology webcomic Next-Door Neighbor is reminiscent of Moby Dick, as the title "Don't Call Me Ishmael" implies. Written and illustrated by up and coming comic creator George O'Connor (Journey Into Mohawk Country, The Olympians) from an experience in his own life, "Don't Call Me Ishmael" is the account of O'Connor's increasingly disturbing hunt for an elusive white mouse. Smith, the magazine devoted to true first-hand accounts, based its ongoing webcomic series on the premise that everyone has an interesting story to tell about their neighbors. Each installment has a new self-contained tale showcasing a different comic creator. Previous contributors include Harvey Pekar and Jonathan Ames among many others.