Comics A.M. | <i>Blade of the Immortal</i> manga to end after 19 years

Manga | Hiroaki Samura will bring his long-running samurai revenge epic Blade of the Immortal to a close in the February issue of Kodansha's Monthly Afternoon magazine (on stands Dec. 25) after 19 years. The series is published in the United States by Dark Horse; the 25th volume was released in North America in August. [Anime News Network]

Political cartoons | NPR talks to several editorial cartoonists about the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo's decision to run cartoons mocking the Prophet Mohammed. The general sense seems to be that while the magazine had the right to do so, it wasn't a good idea given the turmoil already caused by the YouTube trailer for Innocence of Muslims. Politico cartoonist Matt Wuerker said, "Over the last few years, people have gotten the idea that cartoons are radioactive because they have the power to inspire riots. That doesn't help cartooning in a certain sense." And Daryl Cagle observes that the long-term effect is to make editors more timid. [NPR]

Creators | Richard Thompson reveals that the final Cul de Sac strip that ran on Sunday was not the one he wanted to draw. He had a strip all worked out that would put a proper ending to the series, but, he writes, "try as I might I couldn't get it drawn. The lines wouldn't behave and the words wandered." So he finally gave up and substituted a strip he had drawn in 2007 for a magazine instead. [Richard's Poor Almanac]

Publishing | Tyler James, who is just starting out as a small-press comics publisher with Comix Tribe, has a great numbers post about what it means to sell out at the distributor level, what he has learned about second printings, and how many copies of his Scam #1 he sold via a variety of different methods, both on his own and through Diamond Comic Distributors. And he includes five lessons he learned along the way, including that publishing is harder than it looks from the outside, especially for newcomers: "ComixTribe books need to be twice as good as Image books to sell half as many. And I think that goes for any new small publisher." [Comix Tribe]

Creators | Grant Morrison's newest series, Happy, pairs a hard-bitten hitman with a cheery little blue horse. And it's set at Christmas. Morrison drew on his "inner Chuck Jones" to design the character, an amalgam of Pegasus, unicorn, and pixie; the story is bleak and filled with four-letter words, but it's based on the cheery Hollies song "Pegasus." Said Morrison: "We've all got that little voice in our head who says, 'Hey, come on, cheer up! The sun's shining!' And sometimes you just want to shoot it." [USA Today]

Creators | "I've had no real training" in graphic design, Roger Langridge tells interviewer Michael Dooley, but somehow he manages to make his comics, from Knuckles the Malevolent Nun to Snarked, look good: "A lot of it was trial and error in the early days. I would just keep throwing things at a page until something worked, at which point it got added to the box. It's still how I work to some degree, which I suppose is why my relatively simple style isn't a lot faster to do; I'm constantly having to re-do stuff to make it work." [Imprint]

Creators | Mike Pawuk talks to creator Nathan Hale, who has launched a series of graphic novels that take an irreverent look at American history — and star the Revolutionary War hero that shares his name as the narrator. [Good Comics for Kids]

Creators | Writer Matt Wagner talks about The Tower Chronicles. [Dread Central]

Creators | Cartoonist Mike Lester talks about his new gag cartoon Mike du Jour, which began running in The Washington Post on Monday, filling the empty space left by Cul de Sac. [The Washington Post]

Creators | Jim Rugg stops to chat with Patrick Smith at the Small Press Expo. [Spandexless]

Digital comics | Sean Kleefeld experiments with reading webcomics on his black-and-white Kindle. [Kleefeld on Comics]

Comics | Archie co-CEO Nancy Silberkleit spoke at an anti-bullying assembly at an elementary school in Shepherdsville, Kentucky, and handed out copies of a new Archie comic that deals with bullying, Rise Above. [Courier-Journal]

Comics | Critic Paul Gravett makes his recommendations from the November releases in the latest Previews. [Paul Gravett]

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