Comics A.M. | Malaysian police disrupt Zunar book launch

Legal | Police interrupted a launch event for Malaysian cartoonist Zunar's latest book, claiming he didn't have a proper permit. The book, ROS in Kangkongland, makes fun of the Malaysian prime minister's wife. Zunar tweeted from the event that 20 officers had shown up. "It is ridiculous to have 20 police personnel interfere in this event. This book is not even banned, I don't even know what offence I have committed," he said. In the end he shut down the event but told attendees they could order the books online. Zunar is scheduled to speak at the United Nations this week on the topic of freedom of speech. [The Malaysian Insider]

Legal | Iranian cartoonist Atena Farghadani, who was arrested in January on charges that included "insult to representatives of the parliament by means of cartoons," suffered a heart attack and was hospitalized last week. Farghadani has been on hunger strike since Feb. 9 to protest the conditions of her imprisonment. She's being held in a prison where many of the inmates have been convicted of serious crimes. Farghadani's parents say that she was beaten in the courtroom, and she has been denied access to her lawyer. "Her life is now literally in the hands of the Iranian authorities. She must receive the urgent medical care she needs, and the Iranian authorities must release her and all other prisoners of conscience immediately and unconditionally," her lawyer said. [Amnesty International]

Awards | Kevin Kallaugher, who draws cartoons for The Economist and the Baltimore Sun under the pen name KAL, is the recipient of this year's Herblock Prize. A Harvard graduate, KAL has drawn over 8,000 cartoons in his 36-year career, and he's currently the artist-in-residence at University of Maryland Baltimore County. [Herblock Foundation]

Publishing | Valiant CEO Dinesh Shamdasani saw his first Valiant comic, X-O Manowar, when he was a pre-teen in Hong Kong: "It had an awesome cover of X-O fighting a red-black version of X-O, and I looked at that and I was like, Oh my god. You can't get this in video games, you can't get this in movies, you can't get this in TV. You can't get this storytelling anywhere." As an adult, he raised the money to buy the bankrupt company because he didn't want the characters to disappear and started a robust new line that builds on the characters and worlds of the original Valiant line. [The Frame]

Creators | Reed Beebe interviews Green Arrow writer Benjamin Percy, who was a novelist when the opportunity came up to write a one-shot story for Detective Comics. [Nothing But Comics]

Creators | Simon Hanselmann talks about his process, his materials, his work space, and his life. [Darling Sleeper]

Comics | A German exhibit focuses on depictions of the Wild West in comics; this slideshow has some interesting vintage panels but be warned that it includes some unfortunate ethnic stereotypes as well. [Deutsche Welle]

Exhibits | The "Alt-Weekly Comics" show at the Society of Illustrators in New York is just what the name says, an exhibit of work that first appeared in alternative papers such as The Village Voice. Artists whose work is on display include Jules Feiffer, Lynda Barry, Chris Ware and Derf Backderf. [Comic Riffs]

Conventions | Captain's Comic Expo, coming up this weekend in Charleston, South Carolina, is a locally owned comic con that has been going on for seven years now and has expanded from one day to two. "We want Captain’s Comic Expo to be a great place to pick up a graphic novel or toy, grab a selfie with R2-D2, or simply enjoy an afternoon with the family. We are thrilled to share our love of comic culture with Charleston," said organizer Mike Campbell. [Moultrie News]

Academia | Eric Stafford report on the third annual ComiConference at Central Michigan University, which focused on diversity in comics and included several participants with an interest in Native American comics. [The Morning Sun]

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