Graphic novels | Sales of graphic novels in bookstores rose 12 percent last year, the only adult fiction category to show an increase: While print sales were up 3 percent overall, adult fiction was down 1 percent for the year. [Publishers Weekly]
Legal | Jeff Trexler takes a hard look at the practice of for-profit conventions using volunteer workers and questions its legality. Phoenix Comicon made news last week for trying to do an end run around labor laws by having volunteers join a nonprofit (to which they must pay dues), but as Trexler sees it, there are a number of reasons why that doesn’t magically make using unpaid labor legal. [The Beat]
Creators | Longtime MAD Magazine cartoonist Al Jaffee is the guest on the 200th episode of the RIYL podcast. [RIYL]
Creators | Artist Jason Latour discusses the world that he and writer Jason Aaron are creating in “Southern Bastards” — and how they are using it as a platform for progressive ideas: “I’m always kind of shocked by the people who seem to love the book that, when they find out that hey, maybe we have the occasional strong liberal feeling about something. I’m like, ‘Well, that’s been in the comic from day one. I don’t understand how you don’t understand that.'” [AL.com]
Creators | Miriam Katin, whose family fled their native Hungary to escape the Nazis when she was 3 years old, discusses how telling the story of her and her mother’s experiences in the graphic novel “We Are On Our Own” helped her process it and made it possible for her to talk about it. [Mashable]
Comic strips | Mell Lazarus only told one person — his wife, Sally Mitchell — how he wanted his long running comic strip “Momma” to end, and Tom Scocca explains how she made it happen — with help from a host of other cartoonists — after he died. [Deadspin]
Awards | The Slate Book Review and the Center for Cartoon Studies have announced their call for entries for the fifth annual Cartoonists Studio Prize. [Slate]
Political cartoons | Cartoonist Ako Eyong discusses conditions for journalists in his native Cameroon — and why he moved to the United States: “I think that press freedom in Cameroon is reflective of much of Africa or where democracy is not as it is supposed to be … Africa has had such rulers and it is expected that for them to stay in power, they have to blot out every possible opposition. So part of that is to have a very strong control of the media and communications. The threat is always present: journalists are always aware of the fact that there is a line that once they cross it, anything can happen.” The last straw in his case was a cartoon about a bridge that was in poor repair, and the fact that the government was more attentive to foreigners than to Cameroonians: “In my cartoon, I said that until an accident happens on the bridge in which a Frenchman dies, the bridge is not going to be replaced. So it was a cartoon that caused a lot of trouble because the government found it insulting.” [Global Journalist]
Political cartoons | Mike Marland, who was an editorial cartoonist for the Concord (New Hampshire) Monitor, talks about his career, his most controversial cartoon, and what his life has been like since he was let go in an austerity move. Others also weigh in on Marland losing his job: “I thought it was not the best decision to let New Hampshire’s only local cartoonist go,” said his editor at the Monitor, Ralph Jimenez, “but it’s what’s happening in the industry.” Marland, who never got paid more than $100 for a cartoon, is also the artist for the comic strips “R,F,D,” and “Snuffy Smith,” and he has been doing some freelance political cartoons as well. [NHPR]
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