Comics A.M. | At retailer summit, concerns arise about slowing growth

Retailing | Heidi MacDonald reports on last week's Diamond Retailer Summit, where the news was mixed: Comics sales are up this year, but the increase is smaller than in 2013, triggering fears that the market is cooling down. Some publishers are retrenching, with Image announcing it will no longer release variant covers, Marvel simplifying its ordering requirements for variants, and BOOM! Studios cutting the number of titles it will release next year by 15 percent. [Publishers Weekly]

Legal | Malaysian cartoonist Zunar announced Monday that another of his books is drawing government scrutiny, as police are questioning the sales assistant who handles online sales of his book Sapuman - Man of Steal. "My sales assistant did nothing illegal as the 'Sapuman - Man of Steal' is not officially banned by the government" Zunar said. "On the contrary, the police should investigate who took RM2.6 billion of public funds instead of clamping down on book sellers who sell books legally." The cartoonist is currently facing nine charges of sedition stemming from one of his Tweets, and his books have been banned and his assistants harassed in the past. [The Malaysian Insider]

Conventions | Rob Salkowitz writes about the popularity of comics festivals, as opposed to the more commercial comic cons, and how the business model is different: This weekend's Comics Crossroads Columbus is mostly free, supported by big-time sponsors such as comiXology. [Forbes]

Creators | Gilbert Hernandez talks about teaming up with Darwyn Cooke for his new Vertigo series Twilight Children: "For me, it was ideal to have Darwyn Cook draw the book. I've known his work before and I wanted basically to take what I've done before and have someone else interpret it. This is the kind of story where if I'd done this myself and done it my own way, it would've been similar to things I've done before. But working with Darwyn, who simply wanted to work with me just because he wanted to work with my ideas.... I knew he was interested in what I've done before, so I gave him basically that world, but I wanted him to shine in the way he wanted to with the art and the storytelling. Which he has done, and is amazing." [Hero Complex]

Creators | Artist Neil Googe, who draws for DC Comics and a number of tabletop games, talks about the nuts and bolts of working as a comics artist: How he works with the publisher, how computers have made that easier in recent years, and what the pay is like: "I won’t get into exact details of what I earn just in case anyone I work alongside is reading this, but if you treated this like a 9–5 job, had a regular book to work on, were an average-level guy with an average speed like myself, you should comfortably make around the $50,000 mark. If you’re quicker, you make more. If you’re more popular, you’d make more. If you're on a bigger book, you’d make more. Add royalties on top of that, get a few extra illustration or concept jobs to go along side it, and it all works out pretty well. I, on the other hand, live in Thailand and so I tend to work to my needs. I don't usually earn as much." [Pacific Standard]

Comics | Comics are flourishing in Egypt since the 2011 revolution, with the publication of new "pop-literary" comics such as the recently launched Garage. [Your Middle East]

Retailing | New York's Carmine Comics has started offering 3D printing services for comics artists as well as a marketplace to sell the finished works. [3DPrint.com]

Retailing | As Variety Comics, the oldest comic shop in Chicago, closes its doors, Zoe Eitel talks to the owners and then takes a look at the bigger picture of where comics are going. [Columbia Chronicle]

Retailing | Zeek Comics and Games in Washington, Illinois, has opened its doors. "This store is like a dream come true. Ever since I was a small child I've always wanted a place that I could go to and play card games," says co-owner Nate Nieves. [CINewsNow]

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