Comics A.M. | Not-guilty pleas in death of elderly comic collector

Legal | Rico Venditti and six other alleged members of a stolen-goods ring pleaded not guilty Tuesday to federal murder and racketeering charges following a revised grand jury indictment in the July 2010 home invasion of an elderly comics collector. The victim, 78-year-old Homer Marciniak of Medina, New York, died of a heart attack a few hours after being tied up and assaulted during the robbery, which prosecutors claim was set up by Venditti and two others. [The Associated Press]

Conventions | A preview of the first Image Expo, which kicks off Friday in Oakland, California, does double duty as a profile of Image Comics. [Contra Costa Times]

Conventions | Bruce Lidl looks at the potential "Comic-Con tax" that could hit attendees as a result of the expansion of the San Diego Convention Center. [The Beat]

Conventions | Drawn and Quarterly and Fantagraphics Books post photo-filled reports from the second annual Indian Comic Con, held last weekend in New Delhi. [Drawn and Quarterly, FLOG! Blog]

Retailers | Image Publisher Eric Stephenson discusses the importance of retailers to the industry, noting the role Chris Powell has taken at Diamond Comic Distributors to help grow the direct market. "Now more than ever, what we really need are more stores. The world at large is taking more and more notice of the comics industry, and it's important that we're able to satisfy demand when curiosity comes knocking." [It Sparkles]

Retailers | Sean Kleefeld talks to Michael Doll, who has just opened Green Dragon, the second comics shop in Ithaca, New York, a city of 30,000: "I've taken a lot of constructive criticism from customers and used many of their ideas to really turn the store into something that everyone would like. I think as a retailer that you need to have an open mind, learn from your mistakes and grow as a business. If you're staunch in your pursuit, you'll never get anywhere. I also wanted to create a fun environment for everyone from kids to seniors." Doll notes that about 40 percent of his customers are women, which came as a surprise even to him. [Kleefeld on Comics]

Creators | Faith Erin Hicks discusses her newest book Friends With Boys, and its roots in her own life, as well as her experience with both webcomics and print publishing. [Graphic Novel Reporter]

Creators | Robot 6 contributor J. Caleb Mozzocco discusses sex, comics and sexy comics with artist Ross Campbell. [ComicsAlliance]

Comic strips | Corey Pandolph is bringing his comic strip The Elderberries to an end so he can pursue other avenues: "I’ve been writing and performing more comedy, finding my cartoons in the pages of The New Yorker and discovering new ways to work in comedy, while still keeping myself happy and food in the refrigerator. I’ve done a daily comic strip in one form or another for nearly 15 years. There have been some real breaks along the way -- a few reasons to really get excited about a future in comics strips -- but nothing seemed to manifest itself into a solid career path." At the same time, Pandolph admits that the webcomics-entrepreneur model is simply not for him. [Fake Rockstar]

Editorial cartoons | The Cartoonists Rights Network is seeking nominations for its Courage in Editorial Cartooning Award. [The Daily Cartoonist]

Music | Comic book rapper Adam WarRock discusses how he went from being a lawyer to a rapper, collecting comics and the origin of his moniker. [Washington City Paper]

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