Comics A.M. | Rare copy of 'The Beano' #1 goes up for auction

Auctions | A rare copy of The Beano #1 from July 1938 -- only about 25 copies are believed to exist -- is being auctioned on eBay by Seaford, England, dealer Phil Shrimpton. With just four days remaining, the opening bid of £3,499 (about $5,875 U.S.) has yet to be met. As you can see on the website, the copy certainly isn't in the best shape. The issue, which sold a reported 442,963 copies when it was released, introduced such characters as original cover star Big Eggo the ostrich, Lord Snooty, Wee Peem and Ping the Elastic Man (the racist caricature in the magazine's logo is Little Peanut, who stuck around on the cover until 1947, when he was replaced by Big Eggo). "Every year or so another one seems to emerge – often found in someone’s attic," Shrimpton says. "People didn’t really look at comics as collector’s items until the sixties and seventies, so lots of them got destroyed. Also a lot of the comics were destroyed during the war as people were more conscious about recycling the old issues.” [The Argus]

Awards | Michael Cavna chats up some of the Eisner nominees, including Andrew Aydin (March), Francoise Mouly (three TOON Books), Gene Luen Yang (Boxers & Saints), Art Spiegelman (Co-Mix) and Chip Zdarsky (Sex Criminals). [Comic Riffs]

Comics | Ricardo A. Hazell writes about the history of black superheroes, from Black Panther to Miles Morales, and how reading about them made him a lifelong Marvel fan. Marvel was way ahead of DC in creating black superheroes and giving them good stories, and that was important to Hazell even as a child: "While there are an ever increasing number of characters of African descent in comic books and at the movie theater, the young and impressionable are done a great injustice whenever comic books take a myopic, whitened version of existence. All heroes are not white, and all villains aren't black." [Chicago Tribune]

Creators | Kate Beaton talks about her two years working in the Alberta oil sands, an experience she detailed in her online comic Ducks. [The Chronicle Herald]

Creators | Marvel writer and editor Bill Rosemann discusses his job and his favorite character, and offers some advice for aspiring creators. [The Kentucky Kernel]

Creators | Brian Azzarello talks 100 Bullets: Brother Lono: "Readers don't love to hate him, they hate to love him. That's why he's so compelling." [Kindle Post]

Creators | Zainab Akhtar interviews online cartoonist Lucie Ebrey. [Comics and Cola]

Editorial cartoons | Editorial cartoonist Jeff Danziger talks about the new collection of his work, The Conscience of a Cartoonist, and the state of political cartooning, which he says is “at the lowest ebb it’s ever been at in this country.” [Seven Days]

Editorial cartoons | Ati Metwaly profiles Indian political cartoonist Sudhir Tailang, who sold his first cartoons at the age of 10 and went on to become one of the country's most prominent cartoonists. This article is rich in detail, and a major theme is the shift among public figures from being able to laugh at themselves (a government minister once called him to complain “I haven’t been in your cartoons for six months now. Have I become so insignificant in India’s political life?”) to calling on cartoonists to censor themselves (or, as in the Aseem Trivedi case, taking legal action). This trend goes hand in hand with increased corporate ownership of the media, which has led to a downturn in the number and prominence of political cartoons. [Ahram Online]

Retailing | Retailer Heather McKnight sees the Amazon/comiXology merger as a threat to independent comics shops: "[I]f other stores and platforms that are not specifically tailored to the comic book needs are able to sell what we are selling, then what makes us any different?" [Dork Shelf]

Conventions | Maura McHugh files her report (with plenty of photos) on MCM Ireland Comic Con. [Forbidden Planet]

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