Comics A.M. | Archie alters story arc over Russia's anti-gay laws

Publishing | The Archie gang has canceled a (fictional) trip to Russia because of that country's draconian anti-gay laws. One law would allow the arrest of foreigners suspected of being gay or "pro-gay," while another defines any pro-gay statement as pornography and therefore makes it a criminal act to make such statements in front of anyone under the age of 18. Archie cartoonist Dan Parent, who created Riverdale's first openly gay character, Kevin Keller, is taking a stand in his own way: "Russia should be boycotted, so much so that actually in an upcoming special four-issue story arc I’m writing the Archie gang are going to take a world tour to four countries. Russia was to be one of them. But they’re not going there now. They just can’t and they won’t. They love and support Kevin." [Back2Stonewall]

Publishing | Deb Aoki takes a look at the Dark Horse Originals line of graphic novels with indie appeal, and interviews editors Brendan Wright and Philip Simon as well as creators Paul Tobin (Bandette) and Alex DeCampi (Smoke/Ashes). DeCampi praised Dark Horse for its support of creators, saying, "There are several publishers out there that are producing good independent graphic novels, but almost none pay an up-front page rate. They often take 50% of the film and publishing rights, or they don’t provide much editorial and marketing support. [Dark Horse] gave me editorial support for my book. They provided useful and constructive feedback for me and my artists — they’re not just traffic managers." [Publishers Weekly]

Digital comics | Bruce Lidl surveys the expanding digital comics scene, looking at new business models, the discussion about digital rights management, and the addition of art-comics publishers like Fantagraphics to the digital fold. [Publishers Weekly]

Comics | Noah Berlatsky takes issue with Todd Mc Farlane's claim that "There hasn’t really been historically a comic book that has worked that is trying to get across a kind of [political] message, if you will." Berlatsky points to two very good, and popular comics with a strong message of female empowerment, Sailor Moon and Wonder Woman, as counterexamples. [The Atlantic]

Creators | Paul Gravett talks to Gareth Brookes, whose first graphic novel The Black Project is due out from Myriad Editions (in the United Kingdom) in September. [Paul Gravett]

Creators | Iranian cartoonist Kambiz Derambakhsh claims Charlie Chaplin as an influence, saying, "Chaplin's works are simple, silent, emotional and meaningful. The works make people laugh and enjoy themselves, but they have not been produced just to make you laugh." Derambakhsh, who recently won the 33rd International Nasreddin Hodja Cartoon Contest in Turkey, shies away from politics, saying, "Politicians have become thick-skinned and cartoons do not affect them anymore." [Payvand Iran News]

Comic strips | We mentioned this a couple of weeks ago, but now the comic is out: Kent State University has launched a weekly comic strip by alumnus, and Crankshaft cartoonist, Chuck Ayers portraying real-life football player Dri Archer as a football superhero to promote his bid for the Heisman trophy. [Athens Banner-Herald]

Collecting | Comics dealer Vincent Zurzolo explains why comics are a good investment, and he should know: His companies have been involved in the three biggest-money comics sales of all time, including the copy of Action Comics #1 that went for $2.1 million a couple of years ago. [Market Watch]

History | Swansea University in Wales will digitize about 1,350 cartoons by Joseph Morewood Staniforth and present them, with background and commentary, on their own website. Many of the cartoons appeared in the Welsh paper The Western Mail during World War I and reflected the progress of the war and the struggle at home. [Wales Online]

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