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Comics A.M. | First Comics co-founder Rick Obadiah passes away

Passings | Rick Obadiah, one of the founders of First Comics, died Sunday after suffering a massive heart attack while on the treadmill. In its original incarnation, which ran from 1983 to 1991, First was a pioneer in the direct market, publishing works such as American Flagg, Badger and Nexus and selling them outside the confines of the Comics Code. It was also one of the first American publishers to publish manga, bringing out a translated edition of Lone Wolf and Cub in 1987 as a monthly comic with covers by Frank Miller, Bill Sienkiewicz and others. "Last year, Rick reread a lot of the old First titles and was pleased to see how well they held up," writes his friend and former First Comics colleague Mike Gold. "He took a lot of pride in that, for which I am very grateful." [ComicMix]

Crowdfunding | Todd Allen, author of The Economics of Digital Comics and veteran of several Kickstarter campaigns, discusses how crowdfunding fits in with the larger comics market — and how it could work better. [The Beat]

Creators | Chris Schweizer, creator of the Crogan Adventures series of middle-grade graphic novels, explains what a graphic novel is and talks about his new book, The Creeps: Night of the Frankenfrogs, in a podcast interview for the Murray State University's NPR station. [WKMS]

Creators | Louisiana artist Kody Chamberlain is briefly profiled by a New Orleans newspaper following news that his BOOM! Studios comic Tag has been optioned by Fox. [The Times-Picayune]

Manga | Viewster USA CEO Rob Pereyda explains Omakase, a Loot Crate-style subscription box aimed at anime and manga fans that bundles physical manga, CDs, etc., with a subscription to ad-free video on Viewster. The term "omakase," which is often seen on sushi menus, basically means "chef's selection": "Everything together – the video, the merchandise, and the digital goodies – makes up Omakase. Just like a patron to a nice sushi restaurant would trust the chef, we hope that fans will 'leave it to us' in the same way." [ICv2]

Comics | Rich Young, Dynamite Entertainment's director of business development, talks about making and marketing comics featuring the social-media behemoth Grumpy Cat. Each issue will be self-contained and will include three stories by different creative teams. Fun fact: "Many people don’t know but Grumpy’s got a real-life brother named Pokey, and he is also a prominent part of these comics. Pokey is more happy-go-lucky than Grumpy and balances her out when she might be getting a little too cynical or down-and-out." [ICv2]

Collections | Comics artist Aaron Renier (The Unsinkable Walker Bean) and artist Jessica Campbell (a former Drawn and Quarterly employee) show off their collection of graphic novels, minicomics and original comics art. [Chicago Tribune]

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