Digital comics | The Korea Times takes a look at the comics market in that country, where government suppression of comic books in the 1990s (and school-sponsored book burnings even before that) has combined with the current demand for free digital material (in the form of the wildly popular “webtoons”) to create an uncertain environment for cartoonists trying to make a living from their work. “Unlike Japanese manga, which continues to drive a large part of the country’s publishing market and provide a creative influence to movies, music and video games, Korea’s cartoon culture was deprived of its opportunity to thrive,” said Lee Chung-ho, president of the Korea Cartoonist Association. “However, the most difficult process for us will be to find a sustainable business model. Readership has increased dramatically through webtoons, but you have no clear idea on how many of these readers will be willing to pay for content.” [The Korea Times]
Legal | Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki has officially pardoned cartoonist Jabeur Mejri, who’s been serving a seven-and-a-half-year prison sentence for drawing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed on his Facebook page. However, it’s not clear that he will actually be released, as the president’s spokesman said, “We were surprised by the existence of another [criminal] case.” No further details were available. Jabeur was originally charged with “publishing works likely to disturb public order” and “offences to public decency.” His supporters recently launched a campaign to have him freed, saying his continued imprisonment is “contrary to the spirit and the text of the constitution”—Tunisia adopted a new constitution a few weeks ago that guarantees freedom of expression. [South China Morning Post]
Creators | Dave McKean chats briefly about art, technology and his iconic Sandman covers: “The original series was created without any expectations. I didn’t really look up until it was over. Only then did I realise it had become popular and would go on to become something of a classic.” [Ideas Tap, via Forbidden Planet International]
Comic strips | When the character named “Stephan Pastis” in Stephan Pastis’ Pearls Before Swine split up with his wife, the real-life Mrs. Pastis started getting concerned phone calls — but, as Michael Cavna reports, the storyline is pure fiction. [Comic Riffs]
Comics | Kevin Keller, Archie Comics’ first gay character, is going to become a superhero. As writer and artist Dan Parent explains, most of the Riverdale characters have superhero personas, and the story will be part of the regular continuity. Kevin’s character will be called the Equalizer, and he will get a little help from Veronica: “She kind of builds their own version of a Batcave, but it’s Veronica-style, so it’s kind of like a cross between a Batcave and a mall,” Parent explains. [IGN]
Publishing | David Brothers talks about his work as an editor for Image Comics and his blogging life, including temporarily taking over the Inkstuds podcast. [The Beat]
Publishing | DreamWorks recently announced a new publishing arm, but Tim Beyers thinks the studio should leave the comics publishing to the pros — in this case, IDW and Ape Entertainment. [The Motley Fool]
Manga | I talked to Hikaru Sasahara, president of Digital Manga Inc., about their new deal to publish Osamu Tezuka’s backlist digitally via the Digital Manga Guild. [Publishers Weekly]
Creators | David Kot created a steampunk comic with an autistic superhero to help autistic children understand facial expressions better, and his Face Value Comics has sold over 1,000 copies so far. [ABC 27]
Kickstarter | Jackie Estrada talks about her photo book Comic Book People, which is nearing the end of its Kickstarter campaign, as well as her experiences at Comic-Con International from the 1970s on. [Comic Riffs]
Retailing | Bob Schaefer of Dragons Lair Comics and Fantasy in San Antonio, Texas, talks about his favorite superhero (Plastic Man), the most expensive comic he ever sold and the time he videotaped Mr. T (at Mr. T’s insistence). [S.A. Confidential]
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