Conventions | Ahead of this weekend’s Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo, the Chicago Tribune looks at the growth, and the economics, of the convention, which last year drew a reported 71,000 attendees — about 40 percent of which come from outside Illinois. [Chicago Tribune]
Passings | Master cartoonist He Youzhi has died at age 94. He began drawing cartoons in 1949 and specialized in lianhuan hua, palm-sized cartoon books that featured stories from opera and folk legends; they were originally designed for children and people who couldn’t read well. His works have been exhibited in France and Singapore, and his books 360 Trades in Old Shanghai and Old Shanghainese in Longtang were on display at the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai. [Shanghai Daily]
Political cartoons | East African cartoonist Gado he was fired from the Kenyan newspaper The Nation for political reasons. Gado has been drawing political cartoons since 1993, and he said that until recently, the paper had supported him when politicians complained about his work. That changed in 2013, when President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto took office. His editors began asking him to change his cartoons, and then last year, after his portrayal of Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete caused a controversy, he agreed to go on sabbatical for a year. When the sabbatical ended, in February, he was told his contract would be terminated. Gado is not alone: According to the Kenya Union of Journalists, four senior editors have been fired for political reasons in the past two months. [Sahara Reporters]
Creators | Gene Luen Yang talks about his experiences writing Superman — he finishes his run with Issue 50 — and what he learned from working with a team and writing a monthly comic, as opposed to graphic novels:”There’s a theory that creativity is a muscle that responds to constraints, and having the constraints of the monthly schedule I think does unleash a certain kind of creativity. It makes you think on your feet. I think it makes your subconscious work a little harder. I’ve had times when I’ve been working on Superman where I’ll go to sleep thinking about a problem, and when I wake up, a solution will be there. I really felt like, in terms of my creativity, it was definitely a workout.” [Comic Riffs]
Creators | Annie Mok interviews Michael DeForge, whose Big Kids just came out last month. [The Comics Journal]
Creators | A group of the original creators discuss the history of the Garbage Pail Kids. [Mental Floss]
Graphic novels | Jamie Green celebrates the 10th anniversary of First Second by picking his favorite book from each year. [GeekDad]
Publishing | Equinox Comics CEO Aaron Ballinger talks about the life of a small comics publisher, overseeing a stable of characters and traveling to conventions to promote his comics: “Not that I’m trying to get rich or famous,” he said. “But I feel like we have a lot to offer to fans, and we have a new universe of characters, something brand new.” [Tulsa World]
Fans | Wednesday wasn’t the first time President Barack Obama mentioned being a comics fan — he’s spoken before of his love of Spider-Man and Conan the Barbarian, and of reading comics when he was a kid. [DNAInfo]
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