Conventions | The Phoenix Convention Center was evacuated Thursday, the first day of Phoenix Comicon, after a fire alarm was triggered by a damaged heat sensor (something similar occurred during last year’s event). Attendees were allowed back in to the venue after about 30 minutes. The convention, which in 2013 drew a record 55,000 people (leading organizers to cap attendance), continues through Sunday. [The Arizona Republic]
Retailing | Kirby Tardy, owner of Collectors Comics in Grand Rapids, Michigan, looks back at 35 years in the business. The store opened downtown in 1979 as Opalia’s Amorphium, and started out carrying a wide range of merchandise; since then it has gone in the opposite direction from many comics shops and focuses mainly on comics themselves, not peripheral items like figures or games. At one time there were several branch locations, and Tardy and his wife Debbie spent a lot of time going to comics conventions in the 1990s. The couple is planning to retire next year, but hopes the business will continue with new owners. [MLive.com]
Retailing | Clockwork Comics & Games of Newark, New York, takes a more eclectic approach, with a mix that includes comics, gaming and DVDs. Owner Rick VanDongen sees nostalgia as an important draw, as customers come in to find the comics and vintage toys. [Finger Lakes Times]
Creators | Gail Simone talks about Leaving Megalopolis, her creator-owned comic (a collaboration with artist Jim Calafiore) originally funded on Kickstarter; it’s now being published by Dark Horse. [Comicosity]
Creators | Charles Burns and Matt Groening may seem like an odd couple, but they attended Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, at the same time and sometimes collaborated. Burns reminisces about those days in an article promoting the Olympia Comics Festival, where he will be a guest this weekend. [The Olympian]
Creators | Australian artist Ben Hutchings talks about the comics he read as a child and developing his own style. Worth a click just for the art. [Pikitia Press]
Creators | Charlie Halson, who is 15 years old and on the autism spectrum, has just published his first comic book, 101 Uses for a Traffic Cone. The book attracted the attention of the London store Gosh Comics, which will be carrying the print edition. Halson also draws a webcomic, Chazdude. [Canterbury Times]
Comics culture | Vincent Connare, the designer of Comic Sans, explains the origins of the font we love to hate. [The Guardian]
Commentary | Retailer Mike Sterling thinks the “New 52” slug on the covers of DC Comics is confusing to new readers, and he has some other concerns about the way comics are organized and numbered as well. [Progressive Ruin]
History | Here’s a nice Comics History 101 article on comics crusader Fredric Wertham, giving some background and explaining the part he played in the Great Persecutions of the 1950s. [Cinelinx]
Exhibits | Vintage comics, original art and movie props are all on display in the Dunedin Historical Museum’s exhibit “Comics: The Superpowered History,” which looks at comics as artifacts and as a reflection of society. [Tampa Bay Times]
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