Comics A.M. | Origins of Green Lantern Simon Baz; 'Ultimate' legacy

Comics | Green Lantern writer Geoff Johns talks with The Wall Street Journal about the introduction this week of the newest member of the Green Lantern Corps Simon Baz, an Arab-American Muslim from Dearborn, Michigan: "As fantastic as the concept of Green Lantern is of an intergalactic police force, the comic has had a history of grounding in the now and dealing with modern characters and concepts and Simon Baz is that. I wanted to create a character that everyday Americans have to deal with. When 9/11 hit, he was 10-years-old. His family was devastated, just like every other American. He’s grown up in that world. It’s just part of the daily life, the new normal." [Speakeasy]

Comics | The new Spider-Man, Miles Morales, reaches a key moment in Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man #14, when Aunt May gives him Peter Parker's web-shooters and the formula for for his web fluid. Writer Brian Michael Bendis explains why he waited so long to pass along the iconic tools: "'This is like Excalibur. This is it. This is like being bequeathed the sword,' Bendis says. 'But, young Miles and (his friend) Ganke trying to figure out how to make web fluid is going to be my favorite stuff to write ever in the history of writing of anything. Just because someone gives you a formula and says, "Here, cook this," doesn't mean you can.'" [USA Today]

Politics | Robot 6 contributor Graeme McMillan explains why political conventions are more like Comic-Con International than, say, a trade show: "Yes, they’re safe spaces in which you can discover your community and get your niche nerd on, but they’re also shows that are meant to rally enthusiasm to help introduce things — be they movies, comics or Presidential candidates — to the world at large, and in both cases, they are events where it is very clear to those producing or even simply exhibiting that the eyes of the world are upon them." Comic-Con has more cosplayers, though. [Time Entertainment]

Creators | Amy Reeder (Batwoman) talks about her work process and the experience of jumping from Tokyopop to Vertigo's Madame Xanadu: "It was unbelievably stressful, and the deadline pressure was tough on me. But it taught me a lot about being a professional, and I had great examples to look up to – and it earned me three Eisner nominations, which meant a lot of job security after that." [Sequential Highway]

Creators | Eva Volin interviews Ben Hatke, whose second Zita the Spacegirl book, Legends of Zita the Spacegirl, came out this week. It's a bit more contemplative than the first Zita book: "There’s a lot of action in this book and that is fun both to draw and to write, but I also wanted to show a bit of travel, and let us see Zita coming to grips with just how big the universe is. That realization of the size of the world is, I think, a common part of growing up, even for kids who don’t get trapped on another planet." [Good Comics for Kids]

Publishing | Annapolis-based digital comics publisher Visionary Comics eschews not only paper and ink but also bricks and mortar; it has no permanent office, but the staff of six meets regularly at the Double T Diner. The company is running a Kickstarter to fund its second graphic novel based on the Western/steampunk RPG Deadlands, and it's shopping around a secret project to film producers that could be Visionary's biggest deal to date. [Patch.com]

Reviews | Joe McCulloch reviews Jack Chick's Satan Comes to Salem with the same piercing eye he turns on comics that aren't crazy evangelical tracts. [The Comics Journal]

Editorial cartoons | "Cartoons are a great barometer of freedom. If a cartoonist can draw the president, then that’s a free press," political cartoonist Daryl Cagle told students at the JJ Institute of Art in Mumbai, India. He also told them that positive themes make for bad comics—"Cartooning is a negative art form"—and that he misses the late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il because he was such good cartoon fodder. [Hindustan Times]

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