Comics A.M. | Alexis Deacon wins Observer/Cape/Comica prize

Awards | Alexis Deacon has won the 2014 Observer/Cape/Comica graphic short story prize for "The River," "a luscious, tangled, whispering kind of story" that earned him £1,000 (about $1,611 U.S.). The runners-up were Fionnuala Doran’s "Countess Markievicz" and Beth Dawson’s "After Life." The short-story competition has been held annually since 2007 by London's Comica Festival, publisher Jonathan Cape and The Observer newspaper. [The Observer]

Publishing | Mark Peters spotlights Archie Comics' recent transformation from staid to startling, with titles like Afterlife With Archie and the new Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. [Salon]

Publishing | I spoke with Beck McEwen of Fulcrum Publishing about the company's line of nonfiction graphic novels, and to Prof. Joel Christian Gill, creator of Strange Fruit and Tales of the Talented Tenth, about telling some of the fascinating but lesser-known stories from black history. [Publishers Weekly]

Publishing | Leyla Aker, Viz Media's vice president of publishing, discusses the state of the company and the manga market in general; sales are up, after plummeting in 2007, and backlist sales have been surprisingly strong: "People are still continually it seems kind of discovering new series and we’re not really sure if it’s kids coming up and buying volume 1’s for the first time or whether it’s existing fans who are going and exploring other new series, but that’s been a really great thing to see. People are still engaging and coming into new properties on a constant level." [Organization Anti-Social Geniuses]

Publishing | Deb Aoki has the short version of the discussion going on right now in the manga world over a Digital Manga Kickstarter campaign that seeks $380,000 for the first stage of a program to publish multiple series by Osamu Tezuka. [MangaComicsManga]

Creators | Cartoonist Jim Davis discusses the 1989 animated special Garfield's Halloween Adventure, which is being released digitally and on DVD as part of a holiday-themed bundle: "Believe it or not, we really pushed the limits of what Standards and Practices would allow as far as being scary. As soft and as family-oriented as it appears today, we rode the line." [The A.V. Club]

Creators | Jinnie Lee pens a brief "ode to the genius Alison Bechdel," tied to the cartoonist's prestigious McArthur fellowship. [Refinery29]

Creators | JD Morvan and Bengal, the team behind Naja, talk about their collaboration and what sets this graphic novel apart. [Comics Creator News]

Creators | In an interview conducted at the Small Press Expo, Guy Thomas talks to Rachel Dukes, creator of Frankie Comics. [Panel Patter]

Manga | Zainab Akhtar spots something cool in the January solicitations: Image Comics will publish an English-language edition of Ken Niimura's Henshin. [Comics&Cola]

Collecting | Joshua Rivera writes about collecting comics: "One of the first pieces of advice given to me when I started reading comics as an adult — years after the primary color blur of early childhood, where I didn’t care so much about quality—was to follow creators, not characters. Characters, you see, are owned by corporations, beholden to sales, or the whims of people who may not share an interpretation that matches up with yours. Find the right creator, though, and you’ll gain appreciation for characters you already love in a completely new way, or find yourself fascinated by characters you never gave a second thought." [EW.com]

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