Comics A.M. | Furry convention disrupted by chlorine gas

Crime | Nineteen people were sent to hospitals early Sunday following what appears to have been the intentional release of chlorine gas at the Hyatt Regency in Rosemont, Illinois, host of the Midwest FurFest furry convention. The incident began shortly after midnight, when firefighters and hazmat crews responded to a complaint of a noxious odor on the ninth floor of the hotel, where they found high levels of chlorine gas. Guests were evacuated, with many sent to the nearby Donald E. Stephens Convention Center. Hazmat technicians found what they suspect to be powdered chlorine in a stairwell at the ninth floor. The Rosemont police are treating the event as a crime, as it appears the gas release was intentional. The hotel was decontaminated and the attendees were allowed to return around 4:20 a.m. Midwest FurFest, which with nearly 4,000 attendees in 2013 claims to be the second-largest furry convention in the world, issued a statement about the incident. [Chicago Tribune]

Legal | The direct-market retailer association ComicsPRO has informed its membership that Gary Dills, of Phoenix Comics and Toys, is the former board member being investigated for a potential misuse of corporate funds. Dills was listed as a member of the board on the organization's website as recently as Friday, when the news broke, but his name has now been removed. [ICv2]

Digital comics | Rob Salkowitz identifies five trends to watch in digital comics, including the rise of fringe players and new attitudes toward the back catalogue. [Publishers Weekly]

Creators | Alison Bechdel talks briefly about her work and winning a McArthur Fellowship grant. [Rolling Stone]

Creators | Writer Cathy Camper talks about the genesis of her children's graphic novel, Lowriders in Space: She noticed many of the children in the library where she worked spoke Spanish but there were few books written for or about them; she also observed that books about cars flew off the shelves. So she wrote a book about three lowrider mechanics who sprinkle Spanish words and expressions into their conversations. [Bitch]

Creators | Paste spotlights its favorite Hellboy guest artists. [Paste]

Creators | Zainab Akhtar counts down 10 artists whose work she enjoyed this year. [Comics & Cola]

Graphic novels | Critic Douglas Wolk presents a slideshow of six notable recent graphic novels, including the anthology Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream and Michael Cho's Shoplifter. [The New York Times]

Conventions | Claire Napier offers some lighthearted advice to creators on how to win over cosplayers. [Women Write About Comics]

Books | English professor Bart Beaty discusses the research he did for his upcoming book Twelve-Cent Archie, for which he read virtually every Archie comic published between 1961 and 1969. The book will be part of a series published by Rutgers University Press. "They wanted to celebrate the great works in the history of comics, and I thought it was going to be somewhat predictable, that we would have a book on Art Spiegelman’s Maus, that we would have a book on Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home, and so on," he said. "And I complained to the editor that they were going to end up ignoring all kinds of really fascinating stuff in the history of comics by focusing only on the best works, rather than things that don’t get paid attention to, like Archie comics. And they said, 'Well, we’d love a book on Archie comics. Why don’t you write a book on Archie comics?'" [The Star]

Exhibits | Michael Neno posts some photos of the "Will Eisner: 75 Years of Graphic Storytelling" exhibit at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum. [Eventized]

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