Conventions | Amazing Conventions has canceled its Arizona and Houston events for 2017, citing “changes in guest policies, the comic market, and social climate.” Amazing Conventions owner Jimmy Jay had more to say on a Phoenix retailer’s Facebook page, writing, “The marketplace is much different than when we started organizing conventions 6-plus years ago – with a number of fan events in Phoenix (and in Arizona) have [sprung] up, not to mention a strong store retail presence doing signings, sales, and promotions.” Creator Rob Liefeld chimed in as well, saying that while he enjoyed the Arizona shows, which have been running since 2010, the convention business is becoming more difficult, with Wizard World “cratering” and smaller events “clogging up the landscape with their disappointments.” [Phoenix New Times]
Legal | Malaysian political cartoonist Zunar has filed an official request to have the travel ban imposed on him lifted, and six cartoonists from around the world are taking his side. The ban was imposed earlier this year, but the cartoonist didn’t learn about it until he was prevented from leaving the country for an event in October. He will stand trial shortly on nine counts of sedition. Fellow cartoonists Patrick Chappatte, Jeff Danziger, Ann Telnaes, Liza Donnelly, Nicolas Vadot and Robert Russell have signed a letter asking the government to lift the ban, saying, “Zunar’s fundamental rights to freedom of expression and freedom of movement must be respected according to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights signed by Malaysia.” [Free Malaysia Today]
Awards | Dylan Horrocks has won New Zealand’s Laureate Award, the first comics creator to be so honored. [The Big Idea]
Publishing | Marvel alum Arune Singh has taken a position of vice president-marketing at BOOM! Studios. The newly created position reports to president of publishing and marketing Filip Sablik. Singh was previously the executive director of television communications at Marvel and, most recently, vice president of publicity at Syfy. [ICv2]
Publishing | Underground comics publisher Last Gasp Comics is closing down the distribution part of its business, according to an announcement on the company’s Facebook page. However, Last Gasp will continue to publish new books, and in fact has several lined up already for 2017. [Facebook]
Creators | The local newspaper profiles Tom Hart, who came to Gainesville, Florida, with his wife, Leela Corman, and their 2-year-old daughter, Rosalie, looking for an affordable place with an active arts community. Two months later, Rosalie died unexpectedly, and Hart chronicled his family’s life before and after her death in his graphic novel “Rosalie Lightning.” [The Gainesville Sun]
Creators | South Korean cartoonist Yang Kyung-soo talks about his workplace cartoons, which satirize the authoritarian nature of the country’s office culture, showing what workers are really thinking. The tradeoff is stability, and Yang himself hasn’t talked to his family in 10 years because they disagree with his choice to eschew a corporate job to be a freelance artist. [PRI]
Academia | The Rider University alumni magazine has a Q&A with Dr. Sheena Howard, assistant professor of communication and the first black woman to win an Eisner Award (for her book “Black Comics: Politics of Race and Representation”). Howard talks about race, identity, and her favorite comics, and shows off some of the things in her office. She is currently working on an encyclopedia of black comics, which will be published by Fulcrum Press in 2017. [Rider]
Manga | Kodansha Comics has announced two new licenses: “OTOMO: A Tribute to the Mind Behind Akira,” which was originally published as part of the celebration of Katsuhiro Otomo’s work at the 2015 Angoulême International Comics Festival, and “Descending Stories: Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju,” a 10-volume, multi-generational story about rakugo, the Japanese art of storytelling with pictures. [Kodansha Comics]
Manga | Manga translator Jenny McKeon talks about her work, including dissecting a tricky pun that she translated in the series “Nichijou,” and her experience in the Manga Translation Battle. [Forbes]
Retailing | Scott Thorne, owner of Castle Perilous Games & Books in Carbondale, Illinois, and an instructor in marketing at Southeast Missouri State University, offers some suggestions on how the layout of a comics shop can increase sales—and why it works. [ICv2]
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