Comics A.M. | Angouleme Grand Prix goes to Hermann

Awards | Jeremiah creator Hermann has been selected as the winner of the Angouleme International Comics Festival Grand Prix. The Belgian artist, who was a finalist last year, will serve as president of the 2017 festival. The prestigious award was mired in controversy this year when the longlist of nominees featured the names of 30 male creators but no women. Hermann is well known in the French-language comics world; some of his work has been published in English by Dark Horse. [Le Monde, YouTube]

Graphic novels | Last year was Diamond Book Distributors' second-best year ever, according to senior vice president Kuo-Yu Liang, who adds, "And we expect 2016 to be our best year ever." Graphic novel sales were up 22 percent, according to BookScan, and Liang says the top-selling titles were a diverse lot, including Saga, The Walking Dead, the two volumes of March, and children's properties such as Princeless and My Little Pony. The audience for graphic novels is growing, he says, and bookstores are supporting them. International sales are also going well. Liang expects the third volume of March to be the biggest seller of this year, and he also sees some big TV and movie tie-ins coming down the pike. [Publishers Weekly]

Political cartoons | A Japanese bookstore and publisher have canceled a planned book signing by Toshiko Hasumi because of the controversy surrounding her cartoons. Last fall, Hasumi posted a drawing of a Syrian refugee girl saying she wanted to live safely but also dress up and eat delicious food, concluding, "With other people’s money. That’s right, I should become a refugee!" The book, which which has the same cartoon on its cover, is a collection of Hasumi's drawings and essays "exposing the reality of the self-described 'victims' and 'the weak.'" The bookstore was "inundated" with protests when it announced the signing on its website, so the publisher called off the signing. And in the way of these things, the controversy has boosted sales of the book, which went from number 160 to number six on the Amazon Japan best-sellers list. [Japan Today]

Creators | In advance of an appearance in Buffalo, editorial cartoonist Ted Rall talks about his two new graphic novels, one on Edward Snowden and one on Bernie Sanders, as well as how his art style was influenced by underground comics, punk rock album cover art — and growing up in New York in the 1980s: "The world around me was pretty ugly, and I thought the work needed to reflect that. To me a good cartoon was brutal, vicious and could not be ignored." [The Buffalo News]

Creators | In a local-newspaper profile that stresses his ties to the community, Tom Hart talks about Rosalie Lightning, his graphic novel about the death of his young daughter. [The Independent Florida Alligator]

Comics | Erika Hardison's article on the fourth annual Black Comic Book Festival at the Schomburg Center of Black Research in Harlem goes far beyond your standard con report; she talks to creators, scholars and other attendees about the growing black audience and the desire to see heroes that reflect their experiences. It's worth noting that the attendance at the festival more than doubled this year, from 2,500 attendees last year to 5,700 this year. [The Huffington Post]

Digital comics | Ron Perazza, senior vice president of digital for Archie Comics, talks about the publisher's new app and what to expect in the future. [Comicbook.com]

Manga | Manga-ka Hiroshi Fukuda has changed the design of a character in Jōjū Senjin!! Mushibugyō after a Twitter user commented on its strong resemblance to a character in a Chinese mobile game. The change was announced in Weekly Shonen Sunday, the magazine that carries the series (which is not officially licensed in English). The editors say Fukuda had never heard of the character before, but "It is not the intent of the author or the editors to promote unnecessary misunderstanding for this series' long-time fans, so as of the ninth issue, the character design has been changed." [Anime News Network]

Academia | Douglas Quan takes a look at the way comics have become respectable topics of study in academic circles, talking to several comics scholars, including Nick Sousanis, who did his PhD thesis as a comic; it was later published under the title Unflattening. Children's comics creator Scott Chantler talks about his three months as a writer-in-residence at the University of Windsor's English Department, and Carleton University professor Benjamin Woo discusses his research into how people make a living as comics creators: "There are a lot of people working very hard but for not much remuneration." [National Post]

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