Comics A.M. | Black Keys' Daniel Auerbach to create comic soundtrack

Music | Daniel Auerbach, half of the blues/rock duo The Black Keys, is creating a soundtrack album to go with the new comic book miniseries Murder Ballads, which publisher Z2 Comics describes as a "rock ’n’ roll noir story about the music industry and redemption." The comic, by Gabe Soria and Paul Reinwand, will debut later this year. [Vulture]

Festivals | Comics invade the National Book Festival in a big way: The Library of Congress has announced the guests for the Sept. 24 event will include National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Gene Luen Yang, Hip-Hop Family Tree creator Ed Piskor, and political cartoonists Darrin Bell (Candorville) and Michael Ramirez. And the poster for the festival will be designed by Yuko Shimizu, cover artist for The Unwritten. [Library of Congress, via Comic Riffs]

Political cartoons | Political cartoonist Judith Reynolds conducted an interesting experiment last night during a talk in Durango, Colorado: She showed the audience a series of cartoons that were progressively more critical of the United States. At first, people laughed, but as the cartoons became harsher, fewer people found them funny. Her point: "Everybody has his own boundaries." That includes Reynolds herself, who held back some cartoons because they were too much for her. [The Durango Herald]

Creators | Lynn Johnston, creator of For Better or For Worse, says her personal measure of success is being accepted by other creators: "Charles Schulz, the folks who did Dennis the Menace, Hi and Lois and Family Circus, these are people I met and stayed in their guest rooms and borrowed their car. They accepted me as an equal. Although I never achieved what Charles Schulz achieved, I got to know him really well and could call him a very good friend. To be accepted by people on a par with them -- for them to say, ‘I really like what you’re doing’ -- that for me was the pinnacle of my career to be accepted by people whose work I’d admired. You can’t get any better than that." [TBNewsWatch]

Creators | Joshua Dysart went to Iraq in 2014 to gather material for a graphic novel about the work of the United Nation's World Food Programme. He arrived as refugees were streaming in from ISIS-held cities in Syria and Iraq. Dysart used these experiences as the basis for his online graphic novel Living Level 3, a semi-fictional story based on real-life events, and he and the project's co-creator, Jonathan Dumont of the WFP, talk about how the project came to be and what they hope it will accomplish. Dysart has also written about his experiences in Iraq on his own blog. [The Huffington Post]

Creators | Emily Flake talks about her strip Lulu Eightball, which she draws for The New Yorker, and her new book, Mama Tried: Dispatches From the Seamy Underbelly of Modern Parenting. [The Comics Journal]

Creators | The Singaporean newspaper The Straits Times profiles its own cartoonist, Lee Chee Chew, who got his first inspiration from Sergio Aragones in MAD Magazine. He describes his style as "'Anatomically incorrect.' My cartoon characters come with rubber arms and legs." [The Straits Times]

Creators | Batman writer Scott Snyder admits he had some trepidation about the latest storyline: "This [story] really matters to me and [artist] Greg [Capullo]. But there’s always a part of you that’s like, ‘What if everybody hates it?’ — and you’re stuck with it for a year." [Comic Riffs]

Awards | The winners of the 61st Shogakukan Manga Awards include My Love Story!! (Best Shoujo Manga), Haikyu!! (Best Shonen Manga), and Taiyo Matsumoto's Sunny (Best General Manga). Viz Media will begin publishing Haikyu!! in North America this summer and already publishes the other two series. [Anime News Network]

Retailing | It's not uncommon for women to work in comic shops now, but it was when Gloria Berman opened Gem Comics in Elmhurst, Illinois: "When I started this in 1982, women did not really get into comic books, so it was a lot of fun watching these guys come in here and not be able to talk half the time." Now her original customers often bring their children with them when they visit. [My Suburban Life]

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