Comics A.M. | Marvel's 'fathers of invention'; Gaiman, Tan win Locus Awards

Legal | Brent Staples pens an editorial for the New York Times on the legal battle between the Jack Kirby estate and Marvel: "The Marvel editor Stan Lee sometimes offered general ideas for characters, allowing the artists to run with them. Mr. Kirby plotted stories, fleshing out characters that he had dreamed up or that he had fashioned from Mr. Lee’s sometimes vague enunciations. Mr. Lee shaped the stories and supplied his wisecrack-laden dialogue. And in the end, both men could honestly think of themselves as 'creators.' But Mr. Kirby, who was known as the King of Comics, was the defining talent and the driving force at the Marvel shop. Mr. Lee’s biographers have noted that the company’s most important creations started out in Mr. Kirby’s hands before being passed on to others, who were then expected to emulate his artistic style." [New York Times]

Awards | Writer Neil Gaiman (Sandman, The Graveyard Book) and artist Shaun Tan (The Arrival, Tales from Outer Suburbia) are among the winners of the 2011 Locus Awards. Gaiman's "The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains" won for best novelette, while "The Thing About Cassandra" won best short story. Tan won for best artist. [Locus Online]

Legal | Jeff Trexler reviews the legal battle between Warner Bros. and the heirs of creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster through the filter of the Neil Gaiman/Todd McFarlane decision, where a judge ruled Gaiman has copyright interest in Medieval Spawn, Angela and other Spawn characters. [The Beat]

Creators | Nicole Rudick has an in-depth interview with Jim Woodring about his odd visions and the inspiration for Weathercraft and Congress of the Animals. [The Comics Journal]

Retailing | The Boston Globe's John Dyer talks to two local retailers, That’s Entertainment and Comicopia, about DC Comics' move to day-and-date digital publishing. [Boston Globe]

Creators | Witch Doctor writer Brandon Seifert discusses his Image/Skybound series about a supernatural doctor: "...Morrow's sort of character archetype — the occult doctor — is a very old idea in horror fiction, but I've never seen it played straight," he says. "Characters like Van Helsing are generally treated as generic monster hunters, and I wanted to see a doctor who approached the supernatural the way a [real] doctor would. And then last in the concept was the idea that all the monsters needed to cause actual diseases from biology." [io9]

Creators | Tom Field looks back at the life and career of the late Gene Colan. [The Comics Journal]

Comics | Paul Gravett picks the comics he's most looking forward to from the June Previews. [Paul Gravett]

Comics | Sebastian Strangio looks at several comics -- or "gruim-chaek" -- produced by the North Korean government. He says the comics are "unabashedly propagandistic, serving up outlandish plots that help inculcate reverence for Great Leader Kim Il Sung and the regime's perennial battles against imperialists of all stripes." [Slate]

Retailing | After 16 years in business, Empyre Comics in Glen Burnie, Md. will close its doors on June 30. [The Capital]

Retailing | The American Press profiles Lake Charles, La. comic shop Paper Heroes. [American Press]

Webcomics | Lauren Davis spotlights Jason Brubaker's webcomic-turned-graphic novel, reMIND. "... there's a lot to enjoy in this online version, from the beautiful, animation-inspired artwork to the epic backstory of love, betrayal, and neurosurgery. And that's before we get to a mecha-enhanced Victuals fighting his way through a city of lizard men," she writes. [io9]

Fandom | To help celebrate the birthday of Smurfs creator Peyo, more than 4,800 people dressed as smurfs gathered in Brussels, London, Athens, The Hague, Dublin, Mexico City, Panama City, Warsaw, Moscow, Johannesburg and New York Saturday to break the Guinness World Record for the "largest gathering of people dressed as smurfs within a 24-hour period in multiple venues." That's a lot of smurfs. [Metro]

Fandom | Matt Alt translates a 1983 essay from lolicon magazine Manga Burikko telling the otaku it's time to drop their idealized notions of puberty and grow up. [Neojaponisme]

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