Comics A.M. | Frustrated Dean Haspiel declares 'Make Mine Me!'

Creators | Dean Haspiel discusses his frustration with creating stories for franchise characters, even working with regular artists and writers for the series, and never hearing back from the editors: "I have a deluge of sad short stories and a bunch of outstanding pitches sitting atop [or buried underneath] comic book editorial desks that will continue to prove that it is nearly impossible to pitch solicited, much less, unsolicited stories. The hurtful part? Editors woo me into thinking I have a chance. I don’t have a chance. Maybe I shot my wad at Vertigo where I pitched and delivered three, critically acclaimed graphic novels? Maybe I’m considered the odd memoir artist who dabbles in digital genre. And, so I’m stuck between too mainstream for the indie crowd and too indie for the mainstream crowd. That used to bother me but now I’m okay with it because, frankly, that’s a cool place to be if you can make ends meet." [Welcome to Trip City]

Creators | Syrian cartoonist Ali Farzat talks about his decision to shift from portraying generic characters in his cartoons to zeroing in on a real person, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and the consequences of that choice. Farzat's drawings started showing up on protest signs, and then he was attacked and savagely beaten by three men: ""I could hear them saying 'break his hands so they never dare challenge his masters again.'" Farzat is now living in Kuwait but hopes to return to Syria some day. [Reuters]

Conventions | Calvin Reid surveyed the comics scene at SXSW, and while he missed the Marvel announcement, he caught some interesting presentations that haven't been as well reported elsewhere, including the announcement that Erin Polgreen has been awarded a $14,000 grant to start a digital magazine of nonfiction and journalistic comics. [Publishers Weekly]

Retailing | Following the revelation that manga sales are up in comics shops, retailer Todd Merrick of Heroes Landing in Clermont, Florida, shares his experience with stocking and promoting manga. [ICv2]

Publishing | Marc Silvestri, one of the founders of Image Comics and of Top Cow, talks about the challenges and joys of creating new characters, as well as the creator-owned paradigm that Image embraces. [Multiversity Comics]

Creators | Jeremy Whitley talks about the creative impulse behind Princeless, his comic about a plucky princess who makes her own destiny: "When we found out we were having a daughter, I had one of those moments where I was walking through Target like I usually do, going down the aisle looking at the Iron Man 2 action figures and the Thor paraphernalia and everything that was up there, and I was like "Damn, the girl aisle is right here." You turn the corner, and it's just bright pink tutus and ridiculous pink fluffy wands, just really over the top, solid Pepto Bismol pink end to end. And the idea that I will have absolutely nothing that I like to share with my daughter is a little nauseating." [Comics Alliance]

Comics | Martha Cornog compiles a handy list of 30 earth-friendly graphic novels, just in time for Earth Day. [Library Journal]

Comics | Irrational Games co-founder Ken Levine explains why there hasn't been a BioShock comic book tie-in: "Actually, there's been a lot of conversations about it, and we've had some really good productive conversations. The biggest problem is if there's going to be BioShock comics, I need to make sure that I'm either writing or on top of the stories, and right now I have so limited time. If I need to spend time on a story right now, it's going to be on the BioShock Infinite story for the game. It's really tough. Because I don't want to just outsource this thing. All the stories in BioShock games really have to be things that I feel are of the quality level and are in the canon, et cetera. I've learned through past experience that you really need to be on top of this stuff. It's one thing to do action figures or something because you can review that fairly quickly and make sure they're right on the money. Comics, you gotta be deeply involved." He also talks about some of his favorite comics and what game writers can learn from comics. [Kotaku]

Comic strips | Sean Kleefeld spots the differences between the art of original Heathcliff cartoonist George Gately and his successor (and nephew) Peter Gallagher. [Kleefeld on Comics]

Comics | USA Today takes a look at the old pulp and radio characters who continue to be popular in comics (and comics-based movies) today: The Shadow (soon to be revived by Garth Ennis), Flash Gordon, the Lone Ranger, the Green Hornet, and another character who is ready for a comeback, The Spider. [USA Today]

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