Passings | Michael C. Gross, the artist, designer and film producer best remembered for creating the iconic Ghostbusters logo, passed away Monday following a prolonged battle with cancer. He was 70 years old. Hired in 1970 as the art director of The National Lampoon, Gross is credited with pioneering the magazine’s approach to comics and illustration; he’s also famed for his notorious cover bearing the headline, “If You Don’t Buy This Magazine, We’ll Kill This Dog.” Gross was encouraged by his friends John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd to move in the early 1980s from New York to Los Angeles, where he produced such films as Heavy Metal, Twins and both Ghostbusters films, and worked on the animated series The Real Ghostbusters. [The Associated Press]
Legal | With the arrest of two more men in Kyoto, Japan, for illegally uploading manga, a pattern is starting to take shape. Three Chinese men were arrested last week for uploading One Piece chapters; the two men arrested today, for allegedly uploading The Seven Deadly Sins, were also Chinese. Both groups received advance copies of the magazines that serialize those manga from a deliveryman who stole them as they were en route to bookstores. The deliveryman, 69-year-old Takehisa Hidaka, said he sold the men the magazines but had no idea what they would be used for. The manga chapters were posted to scanlation sites with English translations before the magazines were officially released in Japan — in one case, the turnaround time from receiving the magazine to posting an English translation was just four to five hours. This wasn’t Hidaka’s first sale, and police are investigating whether there are other groups of Chinese nationals doing the same thing. [Anime News Network]
Political cartoons | The new issue of Charlie Hebdo is out, with a cover that comments on the Paris attacks: “They have weapons. Fuck them. We have champagne!” [The Daily Beast]
Political cartoons | Carol Hills looks at responses to the Paris attacks by Arab and Muslim cartoonists. [PRI]
Creators | Kelly Sue DeConnick talks about Bitch Planet (“It’s a book very few people have middling feelings about, you know?”), Pretty Deadly and Captain Marvel. [The Daily Beast]
Creators | “I want my entire career in comics to be a metaphor for that moment in the Anaconda video when Nicki Minaj slaps Drake’s hand away from her butt, and walks away laughing”: Michelle Dean profiles creator and publisher Spike Trotman, who has always done things her own way, starting with the webcomic Templar, Arizona, going on to helm a number of successful Kickstarter-funded projects, including the Smut Peddler erotic comics anthology, and now running her own publishing company, Iron Circus. [The Guardian]
Creators | Several successful webcomics creators, including Ryan North, John Allison and Dorothy Gambrell, discuss how their business model has evolved over the past ten years. [The Observer]
Creators | Jeremy Whitley talks about his comic, Princeless, breaking into comics, getting an unexpected Eisner nomination, and his work at Action Lab Comics. [Comic Crusaders]
Crowdfunding | The editors of the Beirut-based comics anthology Samandal have launched an IndieGoGo campaign to keep the magazine going after they were convicted on charges of violating Lebanon’s publications laws. The charges stemmed from two comics published in the anthology, both of which continue to be available online. Samdal has been an important outlet for Arab-region creators working on narrative comics; as comics scholar Nadim Damluji said, “It really was like a beacon call – or more appropriately a bat signal – for all artists to come out of the woodwork and find a community.” [The Guardian]
Awards | Members of the Lynd Ward Prize committee discuss their deliberations, which included reading a lot of graphic novels, and how they came to agree on this year’s winner, Mariko and Jillian Tamaki’s This One Summer, as well as the runner-up, Richard McGuire’s Here. [Penn State Daily Collegian]
Comics | Jessica Davis looks at the Seattle comics scene and why the city is a great place for creators and fans alike, talking to a local retailer as well as creator David Lasky and animator Tess Martin. [Queen Anne & Magnolia News]
Legal | Two men who are already serving time in a federal prison for possessing and distributing child pornography have been charged with possession of obscene material after they were caught with drawings — including a prison-made comic — depicting children being sexually abused. Danny Borgos, who was serving a five-year term, pleaded guilty in October and was sentenced to an additional 10 years for possession of a sexually explicit comic that was drawn by another inmate. John R. Farrar was indicted earlier this month, presumably also on obscenity charges, for possession of six drawings. Forensic psychologist Amy Phenix says such comics and drawings are not unusual in prison, comparing them to bootleg drugs. [The Dallas Morning News]
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