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Comics A.M. | 'Naruto' creator's next project will be a sci-fi manga

Creators | Masashi Kishimoto says he's done with Naruto and his friends, now that the manga has ended its 15-year run, and he's also not eager to return to the grind of a weekly series. However, that doesn't mean he's putting away his pen and ink. On the contrary, he has already created character designs for a new sci-fi series, and he's interested in working with the digital magazine Shonen Jump Plus, which would be more flexible with regard to the story's length and schedule. "Since Naruto was a bigger hit than I could ever imagine," he said, "I’d like to aim for the next hit. I don’t know when I can announce the next manga, but because I plan on challenging myself to surpass Naruto, please wait for it." [Kotaku]

Political cartoons | The Los Angeles Times has re-examined the evidence in the Ted Rall case and stands by its decision to end its relationship with the freelance cartoonist. The Times cut ties with Rall in July, saying it found "inconsistencies" in the cartoonist's written account of being "roughed up" by an LAPD officer after being stopped in 2001 for jaywalking. The police department provided the newspaper with an audio tape of the incidents, as well as other documents. Rall had the tape professionally analyzed and claims it supports his story, and that a bystander can be heard telling police to take off the handcuffs, but the two audio experts hired by the Times say the comments on the tape are unintelligible and Rall's interpretation is inaccurate. [Los Angeles Times]

Comics | Monsignor Kevin Gallagher, of the Vatican's Office of Latin Letters, discusses his experience translating Diary of a Wimpy Kid into Latin (the Latin title is Commentarii de Inepto Puero) and explains why he liked the book—  which picked up a new fan when he handed a copy to the Pope. [Publishers Weekly]

Manga | Hard times have hit the manga market in Thailand, where two venerable manga magazines, Boom and Viva Friday, have just folded. Wongsiri Sankhavasi Miyaji, editor-in-chief of NED, the parent company of Boom, blames piracy: "Over the past few years we've seen a noticeable contraction in our market. The decline in sales isn't even because less people are reading comics, but that less people are buying them." The delay between Japanese and Thai publication is also an issue, one that NED can't seem to overcome but Siam Inter Comics is taking on headfirst, with a newly relaunched magazine, C-Kids Express, that publishes new chapters simultaneously with Japan. [Bangkok Post]

Creators | Cancer Vixen author Marisa Acocella Marchetto discusses her new graphic novel Ann Tenna, a fictional story about a gossip columnist. [WWD]

Creators | Leslie Stein couldn't sleep at night, so she used the time to make comics instead. Her new book, Bright-Eyed at Midnight, a collection of her nightly comics, has just been published by Fantagraphics. [The Brooklyn Paper]

Comics | Claire Warner takes a look the winners of the United Nations Comics and Cartoons on Gender Equality competition; the comics, all by European creators, are wordless. [Bustle]

Digital comics | Kodansha Ltd., a digital manga offshoot of the Japanese publishing giant, plans to increase the number of series released simultaneously in English and Japanese from its current 20 to 30, and to have 2,000 volumes of manga available by the end of 2017, up from the current count of 400. [Asahi Shimbun]

Exhibits | The Penn State University Libraries are showcasing the winners of the Lynd Ward Graphic Novel Prize, which has been in existence for just five years, in an exhibit that will run through January 20. [Penn State News]

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