Comics A.M. | 'Blondie' artist Frank Cummings passes away

Passings | Frank Cummings, an artist for the comic strip Blondie, has died at age 55, according to a posting on Blondie.com. No cause of death is given, but this obituary (in Italian) states he had a long battle with pancreatic cancer. Cummings started his career as a commercial artist and self-published his own satire magazine, JAB. Later on he illustrated the newsletter of diet and exercise guru Richard Simmons and did movie parodies for Cracked. He joined Blondie in 2004 as an assistant to head artist John Marshall. [The Daily Cartoonist]

Publishing | Former DC Comics President and Publisher Paul Levitz has debuted an "occasional" column on the retail news and analysis site ICv2. [ICv2.com]

Conventions | Marc Mason reports on last week's American Library Association annual meeting, which featured a heavy emphasis on graphic novels, especially kids' graphic novels. Guests include Gene Luen Yang, Raina Telgemeier, Dave Roman and Jimmy Gownley. Mason noted the recent news that Telegemeier's new graphic novel Sisters will receive a 200,000-copy first print run: "If you want to ignore young women readers – the ones who devour Telgemeier’s work – you do so at your peril. And you are wasting an extraordinary opportunity. ALA was a stark reminder that there is a bigger world out there as pertains to comics, and it is the true mainstream." [Comics Waiting Room]

Creators | Van Badhem talks to a number of Australian creators, including Injustice: Gods Among Us writer Tom Taylor, about how they incorporate the current political and economic climate into their comics. [The Guardian]

Creators | Paul Gravett interviews the German creator Reinhard Kleist, who has done graphic biographies of Johnny Cash and Fidel Castro. His latest graphic novel, published by SelfMadeHero, is a bio of boxer and Holocaust survivor Harry Haft. [Paul Gravett]

Creators | The local newspaper profiles Portland, Maine, creator Joseph Schmalke, who funded the first four issues of his comic The Calamitous Black Devils on Kickstarter, after which it was picked up by Broken Icon Comics. [The Portland Daily Sun]

Creators | Joe Del Beato, who left his job in mid-career to become an artist for Marvel and DC, talks to a class of enthusiastic kids about comics and art. [Shore News Today]

Graphic novels | The top-selling Chinese book in Singapore right now is a graphic novel adaptation of the drama The Journey: A Voyage. [Channel News Asia]

Publishing | Dark Horse announced has promoted Nick McWhorter to vice president of media licensing. [ICv2]

Retailing | The mayor of Marion, Illinois, cut the ribbon on opening day at Fox Comics, then headed straight for the comics rack to check out what Superman has been up to. [The Daily Republican News]

Retailing | Fayetteville, Arkansas, has a new comics shop, MoeJoe and Jacks Comics and More. [Fayetteville Observer]

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