Comics A.M. | 'MAD' veteran Tom Koch passes away

Passings | MAD Magazine writer Tom Koch passed away March 22 at age 89. He was a writer for the Bob and Ray radio comedy show in 1957, when MAD was trying to broaden its reach by featuring work by popular comedians. Koch adapted some routines he had written, and editor Al Feldstein realized his work was a good fit and asked him to to become a contribute. He wrote for the magazine for nearly four decades, contributing more than 300 pages, but he said he was proudest of a 1965 work, "43-man Squamish." It's still the magazine's most requested reprint. [News from ME, MAD Magazine]

Passings | Gag cartoonist Jim Whiting, whose cartoons appeared in Colliers, the Saturday Evening Post and many other magazines, died March 29. Whiting sold his first cartoon in 1947 and was still actively working in July 2013, at the age of 87, according to this local-paper profile. [National Cartoonists Society]

Graphic novels | The top-selling graphic novel in the book channel last month was 69th volume of Naruto, according to BookScan. Six of the top 20 were volumes of The Walking Dead, five was manga, and just two were superhero titles, Civil War and The Killing Joke. [ICv2]

Awards | The National Cartoonists Society announced the nominees for its divisional awards on Wednesday, and two of the "Silver Reuben" nominees are also nominated for the Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year award: Stephan Pastis (Pearls Before Swine) and Hilary Price (Rhymes With Orange). [Comic Riffs]

Publishing | Jen Vaughn talks about working at Fantagraphics, leaving Fantagraphics, and her plans for the immediate future, which include drawing a lot of comics. [The Comics Reporter]

Creators | Nigerian creator Roye Okupe talks about his superhero graphic novel E.X.O.: The Legend of Wale Williams, which is set in a futuristic city based loosely on Lagos. [Okay Africa]

Creators | Brian Nicholson interviews Connor Willumsen, whose series Treasure Island is being published by Breakdown Press. [The Comics Journal]

Comics | Nirit Anderman reports on the surge of children's comics in Israel. "When I proposed 'Bone' and 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid,' the publisher told me, ‘Comics are nice, but that doesn’t sell here,'" said Kinneret editor Michal Paz-Klapp. "About 'Bone' they said, 'It’s so thick, and in full color, it would cost a fortune, why should we do it?' And so, when 'Bone' hit the top of the Hebrew best-seller list for the first time, I cried real tears because I never believed it would ever happen." The adult graphic novel category is a lot sparser, however. [Haaretz]

Comics | The Paste Comics Crew celebrates April Fools' Day by sharing some favorite humor comics. [Paste]

Manga | Meanwhile, Deb Aoki picks six of her favorite foodie manga. [Publishers Weekly Comics Week]

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