Conventions | The winter edition of Comic Market (aka Comiket), held Dec. 29-31 at the Tokyo Big Sight, drew 520,000 attendees across three days, down from 560,000 last year. (Note that figures are based on the number of visits to the convention site over the three days, rather than individual attendees.) The largest comic convention in the world, Comic Market is held each year in August and December. [Anime News Network]
Creators | Malaysian cartoonist Zunar lets loose in an op-ed in The Washington Post, accusing the Malaysian government of attempting to silence him by raiding his office, confiscating his books, and, most recently, charging him with sedition because of comments he made on Twitter. He calls on the government to drop the charges, and criticizes President Obama for not raising the topic during his talks with the Prime Minister Najib Razak, saying, “That’s a grave disappointment and a missed opportunity. Obama has a responsibility to put the issue of human rights on the table.” He also encourages the public to get involved in Amnesty International’s Write for Rights campaign and to write directly to the prime minister. Zunar is slated to go to trial this month, although he has asked the court to dismiss the charges. The Sedition Act, which dates back to the colonial era, is extremely broad, and Najib himself once said he would repeal it — but then he changed course and strengthened it instead. [The Washington Post]
Creators | Eiichiro Oda is the creator of One Piece, the top-selling manga in Japan, but he wishes he was the creator of another series, Naoshi Arakawa’s Your Lie in April. Oda recently appeared on a Japanese TV show in which famous guests are asked who they are jealous of, and his answer was the shonen romance series, which features a young musician who lost the ability to hear music after his abusive mother’s death, and his relationship with a violinist who finds joy in her music. Music is “the most difficult genre in manga,” Oda said, and Arakawa’s portrayal was “excellent.” Your Lie in April is published in English by Kodansha Comics. [Anime News Network]
Political cartoons | Turkish cartoonist Salih Memecan denied rumors he was let go from the newspaper Sabah for drawing a cartoon critical of the government. Instead, Memecan says he has retired and in fact is giving up political cartooning. “It is obvious that drawing cartoons related to political figures for Sabah and other dailies is not really possible in this tense political atmosphere,” he said. He will continue to draw his non-political cartoon, Sizinkiler, for Sabah. [Today’s Zaman]
Comics | Tunisian creator Othman Selmi discusses the growing popularity of comics throughout the Arab world since the protests of 2011. [Your Middle East]
Best of the year | Critic Paul Gravett shares a comprehensive set of best-of-the-year lists, covering British, North American and International graphic novels, manga, and more. [Paul Gravett]
Best of the year | Rick Olivares rounds up the best series, mini-series, and graphic novels of 2015 and suggests three series to be sure to read in 2016. [ABS-CBN]
Graphic novels | Want to read more graphic novels by women? Kristian Wilson has a list of 25 to get you started. [Bustle]
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