Comics A.M. | Archie addresses gays in military; NYT explains <i>Crisis</i>

Publishing | We noted in late April that Archie Comics appeared to be embracing cultural and political commentary with its upcoming Kevin Keller miniseries, which features Riverdale's first openly gay character and his father, a retired three-star general. But now the publisher, or at least the character, is going a step further, marching into the middle of the debate over gays and lesbians openly serving in the armed forces by revealing that Kevin aspires to be a journalist, but only after attending the U.S. Military Academy and becoming an Army officer. "Even though we don't tackle the specific issue of Don't Ask Don' Tell, the goal was to show that patriotism knows no specific gender, race or sexual orientation," cartoonist Dan Parent says. "While it sounds like heavy subject matter, I tried to show it simply that Kevin, like his dad, loves his country. Being gay doesn't effect that in any way." [The Associated Press]

Publishing | DC Comics' line-wide reboot has received extensive coverage by mainstream media outlets, based largely on the original USA Today article or The Associated Press report. But my favorite piece is this one by George Gene Gustines that turns back the clock to 1985 and attempts to explain to The New York Times audience the effects, and problems, of Crisis on Infinite Earths, and the publisher's subsequent attempts to streamline continuity: "... If the goal was to make the DC universe easier to understand, the end result was the opposite: to this day, fans frequently mention 'pre-Crisis' and 'post-Crisis' as a way to distinguish stories. Twenty years later, in the Infinite Crisis limited series, DC tried to clean continuity up again: Superman’s career as Superboy was back; Batman knew who murdered the Waynes; and Wonder Woman was a founder of the Justice League again." [The New York Times]

Publishing | Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso talks about diversity, working with creators, cover prices, distribution and the pressures of his new job: "We always joke that working for Marvel is like working for the Yankees. Anything less than the championship isn’t acceptable. On the publishing side, we are the market leader, and it’s surprising when we have any competition in any way, shape, or form." [Complex]

Legal | Suvendrini Kakuchi provides an overview of the issues surrounding the controversial Tokyo Metropolitan law that goes into effect next month further restricting the sale or rental to minors of manga and anime containing "extreme" depictions of sexual acts. "The Tokyo Metropolitan law has definitely dealt a blow to the comics industry," says a spokesperson for Japanese publishers. "Many aspiring animation artists have stopped producing new works fearing they will become targets of the law." [Inter Press Service]

Retailing | The Comic Vault in Chicago will close its five-year-old Montrose Avenue location at the end of the month because of "a personal family matter." [The Comic Vault]

Conventions | Calvin Reid and Heidi MacDonald round up the graphic novel news from Book Expo America, held last week in New York City, while Laurel Maury covers the "Hot Fall Graphic Novels for Libraries" panel. [Publishers Weekly]

Broadway | Jacob Bernstein reports that, less that two weeks away from the scheduled opening of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, producers of the $70-million musical are embroiled in a bitter pay dispute with former director Julie Taymor, who was fired in early March. It's unclear precisely how much Taymor is owed, but the "best guess" from the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society is in the “$200,000 to $300,000 range,” plus royalties as an author of the show. [The Daily Beast]

Creators | Ed Brubaker chats about the new volume of his and Sean Phillips' acclaimed crime series Criminal, titled "The Last of the Innocent": "... The idea for this story came to me when I was sitting at my father's deathbed. I was suddenly finding myself wishing I could return to my childhood, and for me, that was about comics and cartoons and Rankin and Bass and the 60s and 70s... And I started thinking about Seduction of the Innocent and the ideas just collided a bit, I guess. But yes, while there are a lot of Easter Eggs and analogs - that's part of the language of comics and its history - but the story itself is probably the most personal thing I've ever written. I also think we're trying to take what we do to another level, by incorporating so many layers to this piece." [MTV Geek]

Creators | Fred Van Lente and Dale Eaglesham talk about their new Alpha Flight series, and the timing of the Canadian federal election. [Macleans]

Creators | Collaborators Viktor Kalvachev, Kosta Yanev and Andrew Osborne discuss their pulpy Image Comics series Blue Estate. There's also a preview of the third issue. [USA Today]

Creators | Eva Volin catches up with Jim Ottaviani at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival. [Good Comics for Kids]

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