Legal | The author and illustrator of the Nate the Great children’s books have wisely counter-sued Cosmic Debris Etc., claiming the lucrative Emily the Strange franchise violates their copyright. Last month Cosmic Debris sued Marjorie Weinman Sharmat and Marc Simont, and asked a judge to declare that Emily doesn’t infringe on the copyright to their 1978 book Nate the Great and the Lost List.
Cosmic Debris’ preemptive strike was sparked by online discussion late last year pointing out the similarities between Rob Reger and Nathan Carrico’s 1991 creation Emily and Sharmat and Simont’s 1978 creation Rosamond. An Emily the Strange feature film, produced by Dark Horse Entertainment’s Mike Richardson, is planned for release next year, which may explain the eagerness of Reger & Co. to clear any potential legal entanglements. Dark Horse also is named as a defendant.
Sharmat and Simont seek a declaration that their copyright has been infringed, plus unspecified damages. [Courthouse News Service]
Legal | A Singapore couple has been sentenced to eight weeks in jail for distributing anti-Muslim comics created by Jack Chick. Ong Kian Cheong, 50, and Dorothy Chan, 46, were found guilty of sedition for “distributing seditious or objectionable publications” after they sent copies of The Little Bride and Who Is Allah? to Muslims. [AFP]
Legal | Former 2000AD artist Ron Smith, 80, is on trial for allegedly sexually abusing a 13-year-old girl over a three-year period in the 1980s. [The Sun]
Passings | Lonnie Cox, owner of Cop-A-Comic in Merced, Calif., died of a heart attack last month. He was 66. Cox, a former deputy sheriff and deputy marshal, opened Cop-A-Comic a few years before his retirement in 1990. The store now has closed. [Merced Sun-Star]
Publishing | Sales of graphic novels reportedly grew by 5 percent in 2008 to $395 million, while manga declined 17 percent “to 2005 levels.” [ICv2.com]
Publishing | The LiveJournal for Nickelodeon Magazine‘s comics section “will continue as a tribute to its legacy and all the talented editors, designers, writers, artists, photographers, administrators, assistants, interns, production folks, who helped along the way.” Viacom announced last week that it will close the 16-year-old magazine and lay off about 30 staff members. [Nick Mag Comics]
Publishing | Brian Heater wraps up his two-part interview with Archie Comics Editor-in-Chief Victor Gorelick. This installment focuses, in large part, on the “New Look” series: “When girls are done with Archie books, they’ll go on to chapter books. Boys will continue reading comics until they’re 70 years old. But girls go on to read other things, and we wanted to come up with a look and the types of stories that a little older reader might be interested in—not to say that the younger readers wouldn’t be, too, but we’re trying to keep our audience a little bit longer.” [The Daily Cross Hatch]
Conventions | Even more reports from last weekend’s MoCCA Festival in New York City: Matthew J. Brady (with sketches), Johanna Draper Carlson, Josh Flanagan, CBR’s Kiel Phegley, Chris Pitzer and PW Comics Week. [MoCCA]
Creators | Guest-blogging for Powell’s Books, Jamie S. Rich considers Portland, Oregon, cartoonists and crimes stories. [PowellsBooks.BLOG]
Creators | Cary Booth profiles Yorkshire comic artists Adi Granov and Staz Johnson. [BBC News]
Process | Writer Brian Wood maps out a Viking settlement for Northlanders collaborator Leandro Fernandez. [Standard Attrition]
Process | Artist Paolo Rivera is … The Red Skull! [The Self-Absorbing Man]
Fandom | Matt Blum rolls out the “Top 10 Ways to Provoke a Geek Argument.” [GeekDad]