Comics A.M. | Manga sales gain momentum in 2015

Manga | ICv2 wraps up a week of intensive manga coverage with a look at the overall market, and it's looking pretty good: Manga sales were up 13 percent in the first eight months of 2015, and they have been increasing for three years straight. What's more, it's a broad-based increase, with healthy sales in all channels — comic shops, bookstores, the mass market (i.e. Walmart) and libraries. ICv2's Milton Griepp attributes the growth to several factors, including the popularity of streaming anime (which gives related manga properties a strong boost), the emergence of several blockbuster properties (Attack on Titan, One-Punch Man and Tokyo Ghoul), and increasing acceptance of geek culture in general, and anime/manga fandom in particular. [ICv2]

Comics | On World Book Day, children around the globe are encouraged to go to school dressed as their favorite character from a book. However, some U.K. schools banned characters from comics and Disney movies. World Book Day director Kirsten Grant defends those choices, though: "There is a lot of publishing around the Disney characters; you will find a lot of Frozen books, and now there is even a Star Wars book for the first time. It's a different kind of reading experience, for children who wouldn't naturally reach out for a book by Michael Morpurgo or Jacqueline Wilson. All children are interested in different things, we have to find something that makes them pick up a book. If it's a Disney book, or a Star Wars book, at least it's a book." [The Telegraph]

Political cartoons | Here's a look at the recent Ugandan presidential election through the eyes of the cartoonist Snoggie, whose work is carried in the country's Daily Monitor newspaper and also on Facebook. [Global Voices]

Creators | Kazuto Tatsuta talks about his work as part of the decommissioning crew at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, which suffered three meltdowns during the 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami. He has chronicled the ups and downs of his job in a three-volume manga series, Ichiefu: "As one of those workers, I wanted to describe the gap between what the public thought and what I saw inside. Ichiefu is ... like my diary, but I am pleased if it has resulted in showing the workers’ real lives." [Japan Times]

Creators | Here's a lead that's hard to beat: "Oakland-based poet and cartoonist Trinidad Escobar was born in 1986 during a typhoon in the Philippines. She was adopted by a family in the U.S. and grew up an ocean away from her original homeland." Now she's a comics artist and is working on a graphic memoir about that experience, and there's an exhibit of her work in San Francisco as well. [KALW]

Creators | This profile of Australian sports cartoonist David Squires takes an interesting detour when he talks about the importance of fanzines to his development as a creator. [The Roar]

Creators | The local news profiles a young Portland, Oregon, creator: Jawan Blevins, who at 14 has already been offered his first paying comics job. [KOIN]

Exhibits | Visitors to "Integrity of the Page: The Creative Process of Daniel Clowes" at the University of Chicago Special Collections Research Center will get to see a selection of the cartoonist's sketches, notes and early drafts. "The exhibit pieces together these materials so that you can see the arc of Clowes’ art, from his beginning ideas and notebooks all the way through to publication," said curator Ashley Gosselar. [UChicago News]

Retailing | Devin Meadows, owner of Wizard's Asylum in Wichita, Kansas, believes comic shops need to be mom-and-pop stores, not chains, because the personal touch is so important: "It’s really hard if the owner isn’t present in the store quite a bit."  He has also drawn on his expertise as a former set designer to make his store more inviting to newcomers, and he has trained his staff to be more welcoming as well. Stores "often can feel like a clubhouse, uninviting to the general public. They’re set up for people who are 'in on it.' This place is now set up as a more traditional retail environment," he says. [Wichita Eagle]

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