Comics A.M. | Court rules Zunar's arrest is lawful, books seizure is not

Legal | Human Rights Watch reports on the lawsuit filed by Malaysian cartoonist Zunar after he was arrested and his books seized by authorities. The court ruled that while the arrest, on grounds of sedition and publishing without a license, was lawful, the government's continued possession of his materials was not. Zunar was never formally charged — a judge threw the arrest out after authorities could not point to any actual seditious material in his book, Cartoon-O-Rama — and therefore, the court ruled, the government had no right to continue to hold the books and must return them and pay him damages to boot. [Human Rights Watch, via The Daily Cartoonist]

Legal | Rich Johnston reports that copies of Howard Chaykin's super-erotic Black Kiss 2 have been held at the border by U.K. customs. Diamond Comic Distributors is in talks with customs officials and hopes to get the books into the country next week. [Bleeding Cool]

Publishing | Chris Sims talks to David Gerstein, the editor of the Fantagraphics collections of Floyd Gottfredson's Mickey Mouse comic strips, about strange plot twists, Mickey's personality and why these strips don't look as dated as other Golden Age gems: "If you're talking about the art, there's a good reason Gottfredson's work looks so slick in its prime, and it has much to do with why his Disney comics peer, Carl Barks, was slick too. Both refined their funny animal cartooning style at a studio, Disney, that was actively raising that style to an art form. Animators were learning to design characters more appealingly and express their actions in more effective (and realistic) ways. These principles, discussed in meetings and passed around via model sheets, directly influenced Gottfredson's drawing." [ComicsAlliance]

Creators | Up-and-coming U.K. creator Luke Pearson (Hilda and the Midnight Giant) discusses his work and comics in general: "As much as [comics] often feels like an insane, backwards, antiquarian art form with a limited audience and few rewards, it also feels strangely unexplored. Nobody could claim that everything’s been done. It’s interesting that the majority of artists voluntarily constrain themselves with very traditional approaches to pages, panels and style. The best artists are constantly looking backwards. That’s probably because in the other direction you get endlessly sprawling, interactive, multimedia motion comics, exploring the medium to its fullest and most annoying potential." [Sequential Highway]

Conventions | Intrepid reporter Max Robinson spends a very, very long day at Otakon and records all he sees. [Baltimore City Paper]

Retailing | A mom gives up on taking her kids to the comic store, instead deciding to focus on bookstores and libraries, after a disappointing experience on Free Comic Book Day: "I buckled Peanut into the car and drove to our closest comic book shop. Peanut was excited because there was a Star Wars Storm Trooper at the door. We tried to look for Star Wars comics to buy but most of them were really graphic and honestly didn't seem to tell any of the stories from the movies Peanut was familiar with. We did our best to buy something appropriate for him ... the poor man at the shop was pulling comics from different spots, but none of them really seemed just right for a five-year-old." And even in the more kid-friendly store she visited next, her children were distracted by the toys. [Teach Mentor Texts]

Advice | The staff of Kotaku offers some guidance to those who would like to start reading comics, ranging from a digital-comics primer to how to figure out what to read: "Follow your favorite writers and artists, not favorite series or characters. More specifically, follow writers and writer-artists as opposed to artists. Everyone likes cool illustrations, but it's a far worse experience to read a badly-written comic with good art than it is to read a well-written one with bad art." [Kotaku]

Comic strips| Garry Trudeau, Bill Watterson, Lynn Johnston, Mark Tatulli, and Richard Thompson all take a moment to say a few words about their Universal UClick editor, Lee Salem, as he leaves his post after 40 years of discovering and guiding new comic strips. [Comic Riffs]

Fandom | Aug. 1 (8/01) is Yaoi Day (it's a Japanese pun), and manga lover/grad student Khursten Santos takes the opportunity to show her fujoshi pride. [Otaku Champloo]

Auctions | Sotheby's just held its first-ever comics auction — in France. The items for sale included original art from Tintin and Babar, and while fewer than one-third of the lots sold, those that did brought in good money. Here's the catalog for those who want to know more. [Americana Exchange]

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