Comics A.M. | DC's gay and lesbian heroes, 'more brooding' Superman

Publishing | DC Comics Co-Publisher Dan DiDio talks about the gay and lesbian characters appearing in the company's books come September, including Batwoman and WildStorm imports Apollo, Midnighter and Voodoo: "When we looked at trying to incorporate some of the characters that inhabited the WildStorm universe Apollo and Midnighter are two characters that have always popped out. Not because of what they represent, but they’re just strong characters in their own right and [they] were able to represent a story, a style of character that wasn’t represented in the DC Universe. There’s more of an aggressive nature with those characters that will interact interestingly with other characters and allows us to tell more and better stories." [The Advocate]

Publishing | Todd Allen, Tom Foss and Graeme McMillan react to the list of changes to the "younger, brasher and more brooding" Superman who will inhabit the DC Universe following the September relaunch. [Indignant Online, Fortress of Soliloquy, Blog@Newsarama]

Publishing | David Brothers takes a sharp-eyed look at the DC relaunch: "The fact that Vertigo isn't included in the digital releases highlights a glaring problem with DC's big relaunch. They're playing it safe, essentially, by catering to the same audience that they've always served, while offering a few brief nods in the direction of new readers." He also sees their digital strategy as falling short because it lacks a mechanism for pre-orders and subscriptions. [Publishers Weekly]

Comics | Todd Allen responds to a recent list by Marvel of "required reading" Captain America stories by providing one of his own. [Indignant Online]

Creators | Rob Harrigan kicks off a series of Comics & Design Interviews with a discussion with U.K. artist Rian Hughes. [The Offset Past]

Creators | Robot 6 contributor Brigid Alverson interviews novelist Anne Rice about Yen Press' planned graphic-novel adaptation of her Interview with the Vampire. [Publishers Weekly]

Comics | Forbes interviews Jordanian comics publisher Suleiman Bakhit, who views comics, games, and social media as paths to greater hope and tolerance in the region: “I go to a lot of poor areas and ask the kids, ‘Who are your role models?’ Sometimes they say Zarqawi and Bin Laden. But in one neighborhood I gave them comics and when I went back a few months later; the superheroes were now their role models." [Forbes]

Vintage manga | The Comics Journal has a preview of Tank Tankuro, a 1934 manga featuring a superhero robot that's worlds away from Astro Boy. [The Comics Journal]

Awards | Sean Kleefeld reflects on last week's announced changes for the Xeric Foundation, which will no longer provide grants to self-publishing comic book creators, and instead devote funds to charitable organizations: "Clay Shirkey has noted that, culturally, we tend to bemoan the over-abundance of information when, in fact, the problem is more that we simply don't have the proper filters in place to remove what's irrelevant to us as individuals. The Xerics have been, for me at least, one of those filters. If I was looking for good books, I knew that simply choosing something off a list of Xeric-winners was a sure bet." [Kleefeld on Comics]

Previews | Critic Paul Gravett pulls out the graphic novels you should be looking forward to in the latest Previews. [Paul Gravett]

Sales | John Jackson Miller detects a slight uptick in June sales. [The Comics Chronicles]

The Flash's [SPOILER] Just Returned - and They Don't Look Happy

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