Comics A.M. | 'Naruto,' 'One-Punch Man' top book store sales

Graphic Novels | The one-volume Naruto sequel, Naruto: The Seventh Hokage and the Scarlet Spring, and the first four volumes of One-Punch Man dominate the BookScan top 20 graphic novels list for January, taking five of the top six slots and making room only for Alison Bechdel's Fun Home. BookScan tracks sales in bookstores, and the presence of not only Fun Home but Watchmen and American Born Chinese suggests that graphic novels are popping up on lots of required-reading lists for the spring semester. Three collected editions of Star Wars comics, the first four volumes of Tokyo Ghoul, and the fifth volume of Saga also made the list. [ICv2]

Passings | Linus Maurer, a professional cartoonist whose name Charles Schulz borrowed for his Peanuts character, has died at the age of 90. Maurer was a co-worker of Schulz's at the Art Instruction Schools in Minneapolis when Schulz was developing the characters for Peanuts. "Linus came from a drawing that I made one day of a face almost like the one he now has," Schulz later wrote. "I experimented with some wild hair, and showed the sketch to a friend of mine who sat near me at art instruction, whose name was Linus Maurer. It seemed appropriate that I should name the character Linus." Maurer started his career as an illustrator and was an art director for the McCann Erickson ad agency before becoming a full-time cartoonist, working on a number of nationally syndicated comics including Old Harrigan, Abracadabra, and In the Beginning. In his later years he was a cartoonist for the Sonoma Index-Tribune. "I feel very honored that Schulz used my name in his strip," Maurer said in an interview in 2000. "I can't imagine what my life would have been like if the cartoon Linus had never existed. I think we have a lot in common. We're both philosophical and level-headed." Maurer didn't carry a security blanket, but, he said, "I do keep a lot of sweaters and jackets in the trunk of my car." [The Press Democrat]

Passings | Indian political cartoonist Sudhir Tailang has died of brain cancer. Tailang was born in 1960 and grew up reading Tintin, The Phantom, and Blondie. He was only 10 years old when his first cartoon was published in a newspaper. Tailang started working for the Illustrated Weekly of India in 1982 and over the years he worked for a number of newspapers, including the Indian Express and the Times of India. Several politicians expressed their condolences on Twitter, including Sonia Gandhi, the president of the Indian Congress, and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah, who Tweeted "Was a big fan of his tongue in cheek humour." [Times of India]

Comics | Andrew Harrison takes a comprehensive look at the renaissance of comics in recent years, discussing Saga, Bitch Planet, and The Wicked + the Divine, looking at how comics and movies play into each other, touching on the Angouleme controversy, and winding up the piece with Q&A interviews with Kelly Sue DeConnick, Fiona Staples, and Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie, and a list of recommended readingc. Mark Millar weighs in as well: "If we’re not at superhero saturation point yet, then we’re very close to it. Those characters made a lot of sense in the middle of war and economic crisis, when fear and uncertainty draw you to heroic figures who can put things right. But that moment can’t last forever. Post-Star Wars, I think we’re going to see the return of upbeat, family-friendly science fiction." [The Guardian]

Creators | Norbert Daniels, Jr., remembers Dwayne McDuffie, who died five years ago this month, and discusses his struggle to bring true diversity, including non-stereotyped black characters, to comics. [BLAC Detroit]

Creators | Dana Simpson, creator of Phoebe and Her Unicorn, talks about her work and points out a double standard: "Phoebe can't even mention the existence of underwear, which seems weird to me, because Calvin could run around in the yard naked all the time and nobody cared. I think that there's a gender double standard at work with that kind of stuff. I've in some way set out to make a feminist 'Calvin and Hobbes'." [KING 5]

Creators | Lucy Knisley talks about her graphic memoirs, her work process, and, appropriately for a clothing site's blog, what sort of design she would like to have on a T-shirt. [Threadless]

Graphic Novels | Artist Dave Ortega talks about what he's reading now, which graphic novels he wishes were better known, and coming to graphic novels late in life. [Boston Globe]

Graphic Novels | New to the medium? Meave Gallagher puts together a list of 14 graphic novels that should particularly appeal to women in their 20s. [Cosmopolitan]

Festivals | Olivia Snaije writes up a detailed report on the Angouleme International Comics Festival with a particular focus on the discussion about women in the comics industry, and she includes an account of the Women in Comics panel moderated by Calvin Reid. [Publishing Perspectives]

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