Passings | Bob Clarke, one of the original artists for MAD Magazine, passed away Sunday of complications from pneumonia. He was 87. Best known for his “Believe It or NUTS!” parodies, Clarke actually began his career at age 15 as an uncredited assistant on the Ripley’s Believe It or Not comic strip before joining the Army, where he worked for Stars and Stripes. At MAD, he also drew “Spy vs. Spy” for many years, and illustrated the famed January 1961 back cover congratulating John F. Kennedy on his election (the front featured Richard Nixon; the editors were hedging their bets). [The News Journal]
Creators | Charles Soule talks about taking the reins of DC Comics’ Swamp Thing: “Swamp Thing isn’t just a horror book by any means — it’s also a book about superhero action and philosophy and humor. This is a title that’s open to just about anything.” Soule’s plans include new supporting characters and short story arcs that build up to a bigger structure. [USA Today]
Comics | Erin Polgreen, editor of the tablet anthology of comics journalism Symbolia, wonders if there is a place for humor in the non-fiction sequential world: “I often feel, as an editor of a news product, that we have to prove the veracity of our work since it’s not ‘typical news.’ That often means we fact-check the funny out.” But she’s figuring out a way to make it work. [The Hooded Utilitarian]
Comics | Joseph Hughes kicks off baseball season with some pages from Wilfred Santiago’s 21: The Story of Roberto Clemente and Mark Chiarello’s book of baseball cards, Heroes of the Negro Leagues. [Comics Alliance]
Comics | Free Comic Book Day is a little more than a month away; here are some tips for making the most of it. [Graffiti]
Manga | Seven Seas has confirmed a new manga license: Senran Kagura: Skirting Shadows, which is based on a video game about a team of high school girls training to be ninjas. [Anime News Network]
Retailing | Tate Otterhill, who opened Tate’s Comics in Lauderhill, Florida, 20 years ago when he was 17, talks about his customers, the “wow factor” of his store, and how he can serve digital comics readers: “The new customer who doesn’t go to my store and is reading digital comics is someone who doesn’t know about our store, once they go, they say, ‘I need more of this digital book’, they still read digital, but come here looking for more.” [Sun-Sentinel]
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