Comics A.M. | Longtime retailer Steve Koch passes away

Passings | Customers and family mourn the passing of Steve Koch, longtime owner of Comic Headquarters in St. Louis, who died Aug. 31 of a suspected heart attack. He was 55. "He knew the true value of a comic book was in the story and the art, not as it being a collectible," said his wife Carla, whom he introduced to comics with a copy of X-Men #1. Koch's customers praised him for running a store that was welcoming to everyone, no matter what their tastes; some have been shopping there since they were children. [Riverfront Times]

Crime | Police in Lexington, Kentucky, believe the man who robbed a local comics and hobby shop D20 Hobbies late last month is also behind three other robberies. In all cases, the robber wore a clown mask and indicated he had a weapon but didn't show one. D20 owner James Risner was puzzled at first as to why anyone would rob a comic shop, but he speculates the thief didn't realize his business had taken over from the previous tenant of the site, a Quick Cash store. "I guess he figured we had a lot of money," Risner said. "Thankfully we didn't have that much." [Lex18.com]

Publishing | Zachary Clemente interviews Annie Koyama of Koyama Press, which publishes the work of Michael DeForge, Renee French, Julia Wertz and a host of emerging artists. [The Beat]

Publishing | The Vietnamese comics industry is still in its infancy, but small publishers see a great deal of potential, and young creators are eager to make comics — including Bao Tin, a recent graduate of the Ho Chi Minh City Institute of Architecture, whose dissertation was a 60-page comic called "Cam" about a boy affected by Agent Orange. Tin's classmate Hoang Lap summarizes the challenges: "We’d really love to pursue comic drawing to the end, but the profession has yet to earn its due recognition and rewards, while stringent censorship by local publishers is also a major deterrent to young artists like us." [Tuoi Tre News]

Creators | Manny Popoca gets schooled by Neal Adams but goes on to ask him some questions anyway, in what turns out to be a pretty entertaining interview. [Moviepilot.com]

Creators | Malaysian artist Tan Eng Huat talks about his work on the Marvel comic Deadly Hands of Kung Fu. [The Star]

Creators | Tony Moore, who knows a thing or two about zombies, drew the second issue of Dutch Bros. Rebellion, a zombie-apocalypse comic published by the Dutch Bros. Coffee drive-through chain. Moore was doing a signing last year at Iguana Comics in Grants Pass, Oregon, when he met Dutch Bros. director of culture Brant Boersma. "[Brant] kind of pitched me the idea (and asked) if I was interested in working on something, and it sounded fun," the artist said. [Mail Tribune]

Comics | Fighting ignorance with comics: Aditi Gupta created the comic Menstrupedia in 2010 to educate Indian girls about menstruation — something that almost two-thirds of girls are unaware of until they experience it for the first time. She put the comic online in 2012 and her website now gets about 100,000 hits a month from all over the world; she plans to translate the comic into Hindi and other Indian languages. [Medical Daily]

Internet | The invaluable Grand Comic Book Database, an online repository of indexed comics, has reached an impressive milestone with the addition of its 1 millionth issue. [press release]

Events | Phillip Kennedy Johnson, who played the trumpet at the mock wedding at the Ignatz Awards, gives a behind-the-scenes account of how the whole thing came together. [Phillip Kennedy Johnson Blog]

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