Comics A.M. | Egyptian cartoonist Mostafa Hussein passes away

Passings | Egyptian cartoonist Mostafa Hussein died Saturday following a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 79. Hussein had been a cartoonist for the state-owned Al Akbar newspaper since 1974, and was often accused of being sympathetic to those in power. His final cartoon, published in Al Akbar two days before he died, was inscribed “I ??don’t have time to finish this cartoon, forgive me. I will miss you." [Ahram Online]

Awards | The Cartoonist Rights Network International (CRNI) has announced the winners of this year's Award for Courage in Editorial Cartooning, and for the first time in the history of the award they are women: Indian cartoonist Kanika Mishra and Palestinian cartoonist Majda Shaheen. Mishra faced death threats for her cartoons about a religious leader who raped a 16-year-old (and eventually went to prison); Shaheen also was threatened with violence after she drew a cartoon depicting the Al-Quds Brigades as a dog in a cartoon critiquing Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh's relationship with the organization. [Comic Riffs]

Publishing | I spoke with publisher liaison Nora Goldberg of The Distribution Engine, a distributor that's bringing small-press graphic novels from the United Kingdom to comics shops in North America. [Publishers Weekly]

Creators | The husband-and-wife team of Michael Avon Oeming and Taki Soma discuss their upcoming Image Comics series Sinergy. [USA Today]

Creators | John Pound, who created the first run of Garbage Pail Kids trading cards with Art Spiegelman, is still making comics but in a very different way: He draws comics digitally and uses code to generate some random elements, such as colors or balloon text. You can see some examples on his Tumblr. [Wired]

Creators | Seth Tobocman has been touring India, drawing street life and taking part in an anti-rape demonstration in Bangalore; he will be doing a multimedia performance there tomorrow. [The New Indian Express]

Comics | Editor Chris Duffy talks about his latest project, Above the Dreamless Dead, an anthology of poetry about World War I (published by First Second). In this case, Duffy thinks having a variety of styles in a single book serves the subject matter well: "One answer is that the poets have different voices so the artists follow suit. Another is that having a number of graphic approaches to similar material makes the reader think about what they are reading; there's no comfort zone to fall back to -- readers are constantly thinking about both the poem and the way it has been presented. That seems appropriate given the material. Most of us will never know what it is like to be in the middle of war. And movies and fiction that try to really make us feel like we know what it's like are deceptive, I think." [Kindle Post]

Manga | Viz Media is releasing the first volume of the gag manga Lucky Star on its digital service. A four-panel strip about four high school girls that leaned heavily on otaku humor, Lucky Star was published in English by Bandai Entertainment. Bandai put out eight volumes, which may be a record for 4-koma manga, but the run ended when the company went out of business. [Crunchyroll]

Controversy | Former Postmaster General Benjamin Bailar has resigned in high dudgeon from his post on the super-secret committee that chooses what goes on America's stamps, complaining that the Postal Service is "prostituting" itself by depicting characters from comics and movies rather than more "enduring" subjects. Apparently current Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe has been ignoring the committee's recommendations; in November, he went ahead with a series of Harry Potter stamps without notifying them, eliciting howls of protest. "While they may support a drive to 'sell the product' with abundance of pretty and popular culture subjects, the result is a program that lacks gravitas," Bailar said. [The Washington Post]

Comics | A group of high school students is creating a comic book to educate their peers about STDs. [The Baltimore Sun]

Conventions | Apparently you can fight city hall: After two dozen supporters of the Victoria Comic Con showed up at a Victoria, Texas, City Council meeting, the council reversed an earlier decision not to fund the event and voted 6-1 to provide $9,726 in funding, which will allow the show to expand from one to two days. The money comes from a hotel and occupancy tax and can only be used for events that promote the tourism industry. The council had initially voted not to fund the convention at all, because the organizers had not submitted an itemized budget. After the proposed allotments were announced, but before the final vote Anthony Pedone, executive director of the Victoria TX Indie Film Fest, offered $10,000 of his own funding to the show. That, and the members of the public who showed up turned the tide. [Victoria Advocate]

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