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Comics A.M. | Amazon may open more than 300 physical stores

by  in Comic News Comment

Retailing | After opening its first physical store in November in Seattle, online retail giant Amazon is reportedly planning hundreds more. The news came from Sandeep Mathrani, CEO of real-estate investment company General Growth Properties, who revealed Tuesday in an earnings call that, “You’ve got Amazon opening brick-and-mortar bookstores and their goal is to open, as I understand, 300 to 400.” An Amazon spokesperson told Gizmodo the company doesn’t comment on “rumors and speculation.” The retailer’s Seattle store, called simply Amazon Books, stocks between 5,000 and 6,000 titles. [The Wall Street Journal]


Legal | Egyptian cartoonist Islam Gawish was released from custody on Monday, and apparently will face no further charges. Not only that, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi told a TV reporter he isn’t upset with Gawish, saying, “I swear I don’t get upset with anyone. There’s nothing called ‘consensus on someone.’ I swear I’m not upset with Gawish or any other individual.” Gawish’s arrest Sunday during a raid on the website Egypt News Network caused a swift backlash, with the Arab Network for Human Rights and the Strong Egypt Party issuing statements defending him, and cartoonists and others tweeting in support of him using his name as a hashtag. The raid seems to have been targeting the owner of ENN, who was accused of running an unlicensed website and using pirated software, rather than Gawish. “It seemed that they wanted to arrest someone else and I was taken by mistake. I was not the one meant to be arrested,” Gawish told the media, adding that he was well treated while in custody. [Egypt Independent]

Legal | The Thai government has denied a work visa to political cartoonist Stephane Peray, who goes by the nom de plume Stephff, which means he cannot legally continue working there for the English-language newspaper The Nation. Peray is the fifth foreign journalist to lose his legal status since Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha came to power in 2014. [Khaosod English]


Comics | Daniel Barnett looks at the poor representation of Africa and African people in comics, and talks to some African and African-American creators who are taking matters into their own hands, including Afua Richardson, Roye Okupe, and Jide Martin, founder and CEO of the Nigerian publisher Comic Republic. [The Guardian]

Creators | In a video interview shot in his studio, Hip Hop Family Tree creator Ed Piskor talks technique and shows off his old-school comics tools, including Zip-a-Tone sheets and Leroy lettering set. [Boing Boing]

Creators | Daniel Clowes talks about his life, his career and how working on the collected edition of Eightball led to his most recent book, Patience,: “Looking back on Eightball, I was really confronting this alien being – this artist who is me but doesn’t feel like me anymore. It felt like another person. That was a really big part of what I was trying to explore, that idea that you can become a completely different person in 20 years, distancing yourself from your younger self.” [Publishers Weekly]


Creators | In a radio interview, Posy Simmonds discusses the history of female comics creators (who are being featured in a new exhibit at the House of Illustration in London). [BBC News]

Creators | Marissa Meyer, author of the YA sci-f novel series The Lunar Chronicles, will write a two-volume graphic novel, Wires and Nerve, with art by Douglas Holgate. [Comic Riffs]

Minicomics | Paul Tumey writes about the history of minicomics and reviews Bruce Chrislip’s The Minicomix Revolution 1969-1989. [The Comics Journal]

History | Caitlin McCabe discusses a 1955 TV show about the horrors of comics — and posts the full video for our entertainment and edification. [CBLDF]

Festivals | Matt Madden, who was a member of this year’s Grand Jury for the Angouleme International Comics Festival, has some closing thoughts on the event: “In sum, what has most dismayed me this year is not the mistakes themselves (the grand prix, the fauves prank) but the knee-jerk and condescending response on the part of the festival virtually every step of the way. It really didn’t need to play out this way. And I honestly believe that with some soul-searching and re-organization the festival can do much better next year, after all I know that the festival is made up of good people who sincerely love comics.” [Facebook]