My filesystem is still in latin1, and all the comics I have stored on CDs use latin1 encoding for the file names and directory names. When automatically creating a new collection from a non-UTF8 directory, comix chokes on the non-UTF8 string. Here is a small patch that keeps UTF8 directory names as is, but converts latin1 directory names to UTF8 collection names. It's not much, and I may improve the non-UTF8 support as I go on using comix (I'm new to it).

--- filechooser.py.orig 2009-04-03 20:06:13.000000000 +0300
+++ filechooser.py  2010-08-23 17:55:12.000000000 +0300
@@ -10,6 +10,7 @@
 import labels
 from preferences import prefs
 import thumbnail
+import locale
 _main_filechooser_dialog = None
 _library_filechooser_dialog = None
@@ -261,6 +262,13 @@
         name = os.path.basename(self.filechooser.get_current_folder())
+        try:
+          name = unicode(name, 'utf-8')
+        except UnicodeDecodeError:
+          try:
+            name = unicode(name, locale.getdefaultlocale()[1])
+          except UnicodeDecodeError:
+            pass
     def files_chosen(self, paths):