Comics A.M. | <i>Funky Winkerbean</i> storyline to tackle gay rights

Comic strips | Cartoonist Tom Batiuk, whose Funky Winkerbean has addressed such topics as teen pregnancy, land mines and capital punishment, will next turn his attention to gay rights in a storyline about a gay couple that wants to attend the prom at the comic strip's fictional fictional Westview High School. “It struck me that whenever I sit in classes at Midview High, which I still do, my overall impression is that the younger generation’s attitudes toward gays is more open and accepting than their predecessors,” Batiuk said. “It’s not perfect, but it shows promise for an emerging generation that will bring this issue (intolerance) to an end. I wanted to take those two opposing viewpoints to reach across that divide of intolerance.” The month-long storyline begins April 30. Funky Winkerbean appears in more than 400 newspapers nationwide. [The Chronicle-Telegram]

Conventions | The seventh annual Cape Comic Con kicks off today in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. [Southeast Missourian]

Conventions | Heidi MacDonald offers 12 thoughts on C2E2 and the accompanying Diamond Retailer Summit. [The Beat]

Creators | David Brothers reprints Frank Miller's 1994 speech about Jack Kirby, creators' rights, what really happened in the 1950s, and why he became Spider-Man. Read in the context of recent events, it is strikingly apropos. [4thletter!]

Creators | The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman talks about Image Comics and his own imprint, Skybound. [Broken Frontier]

Creators | Now it can be told: Daniel Clowes turned to art to salve the pain of growing up in 1970s Chicago: "During my childhood, the sports teams there? Not a single championship. In fact, if my teams were winning, I felt bad. I got much more used to the pain of losing than other kids... Comics are the one language I feel I can say exactly how I feel and have no self-consciousness at all. In real life, I try to make everybody happy and smooth things over." [Inside Bay Area]

Creators | Beetle Bailey and Hi and Lois creator Mort Walker reflects on his lengthy career as he's honored by the Stamford, Connecticut, historical society: "I'll draw a comic and then think, five minutes ago that wasn't here. Now it will be in a book and 100 years from now people will read that and laugh. Five minutes before that it was just a thought in my head." [The Stamford Times]

Creators | Gavin Lees talks to Ernie Colón about the challenges of creating Inner Sanctum, a comic based on a radio show that depended on suspense and unexpected twists: "This was a genre that relied on your imagination, your suggestibility. Here, I was foisting my view of the writing on the reader. A better way would have been if we’d been able to cover each panel, have the reader uncover them, one by one. That would have simulated the kind of suspense the radio show intended. Instead, the page is open to instant perusal, essentially killing any suspense intended." [Graphic Eye]

Creators | Phil and Kaja Foglio discuss the process of turning their comic Girl Genius into a novel: "We start out using the comic as an outline. We literally sit down at the computer, open the comic, and start transcribing it page by page, as well as describing whatever the characters are seeing and doing. What might easily be conveyed by a picture can take a surprising amount of time to render in prose. As we go along, we can't help tweaking and adding things. You can tell it's a good writing session if we're snickering as we're typing." [Publishers Weekly]

Creators | Paul Gravett profiles Scottish creator Tom Gauld, whose Goliath views the Biblical villain in a more human light. [Paul Gravett]

Creators | There's a lot more to Che Guevara than the famous photo of his corpse, but that was the starting point for Italian creators Marco Rizzo and Lelio Bonaccorso, who have just completed a graphic novel about the famed revolutionary. [Hindustan Times]

Manga | Viz Media has announced two new shoujo manga licenses, Demon Love Spell, by Sensual Phrase creator Mayu Shinju, and Strobe Edge, by Io Sakisaka. [The Manga Critic]

Retailing | The problem with sketch covers is that they usually arrive at the store long after the regular covers; ICv2 explains in detail how Dynamite has found a way around that. [ICv2]

Commentary | Robot 6 alum Sean T. Collins reviews the Shia LaBeouf comics that the Transformers star was selling at C2E2. "And believe this, too: They’re good." [The Comics Journal]

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