* Kevin Melrose at Robot 6 rounds up links and commentary about the Wizard/ToyFare shutdown, including the shell game being played by Gareb Shamus’s various ventures.
* Excellent investigative reporting by Newsarama’s Vaneta Rogers, who attempts to unravel who, exactly, ran the now-defunct Comics Code Authority, and just how much “authority” he or she or they actually had. It ends with a terrific cautionary tale from retailer advocate Joe Field of how ratings systems of the sort that have replaced the Comics Code often have the paradoxical effect of decreasing the amount of all-ages content available to consumers. (Via Sam Humphries.)
* Tom Spurgeon worries that Marvel’s much-hyped death of a Fantastic Four character in this week’s issue #587 is taking something intended to heal years-old structural problems with comics’ Direct Market — monopoly distributor Diamond’s decision to begin shipping comics to retailers a day before they go on sale, to give those retailers more time to properly stock their stores — and transforming it before our very eyes into just another short-term sales-goosing gimmick (an issue so important we’re letting retailers break the embargo and sell it the day they get it instead of the day after!) of the sort that caused all those structural problems in the first place. I worry about that too. Silver lining, though? For the second time in recent memory, Marvel’s mainstream-media hype for a character death will actually direct curious readers to a good comic with a sizable run of strong quality behind it. There are much worse fates I could imagine than for someone to be duped into buying into the Jonathan Hickman/Steve Epting/Dale Eaglesham Fantastic Four run, or the Ed Brubaker/Steve Epting/Mike Perkins Captain America run before it.
* Destroyer’s Dan Bejar, whose Kaputt is an early candidate for Album of the Year, gives very good interview to NPR’s Matthew Perpetua and The Onion AV Club’s Noel Murray. Bejar made a tremendous record and talks about it with real panache.
* If you know someone who passionately dislikes Ween, chances are it’s because of the track from their 1994 masterpiece Chocolate and Cheese called “The HIV Song.” Here’s a fascinating passage about the song — gallows humor at its most awesomely awful — from Hank Shteamer’s 33 1/3 book on the album.
* A Della’morte Dell’amore sequel? Sure, I’ll eat it.