Comics A.M. | Renewed protest over SodaStream's Angoulême sponsorship

Controversy | More than 80 creators and other industry figures, including Jaime Hernandez, Kate Beaton, Alison Bechdel, Warren Ellis, Eleanor Davis, Jeet Heer and David Brothers, have signed an open letter asking Franck Bondoux, head of the Angoulême International Comics Festival, to cut the event's ties to Israeli soft drink company SodaStream, which has its main plant in an occupied area of the West Bank. A similar action was taken last year regarding the company's sponsorship of the festival. [Comics & Cola]

Passings | Dutch underground comics artist Peter Pontiac died Tuesday at age 63. Born Peter J. G. Pollmann, Pontiac came of age in the 1960s and started out drawing covers for bootleg songbooks, then moved on to create comics inspired by his own life and experiences, including The Amsterdam Connection, Requiem Fortissimo and the illustrated novel Kraut. His comics appeared in the Dutch underground comics magazines Modern Papier and Tante Leny Presenteert, as well as in the American Anarchy Comix and Mondo Snarfo. He later collected many of his comics in the seven issues of The Pontiac Review. He received the Stripschapprijs, a Dutch lifetime achievement award for comics creators, in 1997 and the Marten Toonder Prize in 2011. Pontiac suffered from liver disease and ran a crowdfunding campaign to finance a book about death and his disease, but he passed away  before it could be completed. [Lambiek Comiclopedia]

Awards | The Association of Jewish Libraries has chosen the First Second graphic novel Hidden: A Child's Story of the Holocaust, by Loic Dauvillier, Greg Salsedo and Mark Lizano, as the recipient of the 2015 Sydney Taylor Book Award in the Older Readers category. The awards honor children's books that "exemplify the highest literary standards while authentically portraying the Jewish experience." This is the second Sydney Taylor award to go to a graphic move; Barry Deutsch's Hereville won the award a few years ago. [The Booklist Reader]

Creators | Ted Rall talks about the state of political cartooning. [Talk Nation Radio]

Creators | "I wanted to make a comic about something that was relevant to me and my community": Felipe Flores discusses his graphic novel The Death of Kelly Thomas, which recounts the true story of a mentally ill man who was beaten to death by police in Fullerton, California. [OC Weekly]

Creators | What sets this profile of Holyoke, Massachusetts, artist Hector E. Rodriguez apart from so many other local-artist features is the emphasis on the importance of collaboration, which helped him not only improve his skills but also refine his stories and get them published. [The Republican]

Manga | Takuya Nishie looks at the popularity of manga and novels about teenagers in agricultural schools, including Silver Spoon, by Fullmetal Alchemist creator Hiromu Arakawa, and Moyashimon. [The Asahi Shimbun]

Commentary | Noah Berlatsky discusses Bart Beaty's Twelve-Cent Archie and the lack of continuity in Archie comics. [The Atlantic]

History | Wednesday was the 75th anniversary of Shadow Comics #1, the comic that featured pulp heroes such as The Shadow and Doc Savage. "With the possible exception of Walt Disney's Comics & Stories, it is unlikely that any other comic magazine ever debuted with as many pre-proven famous characters," writes Anthony Tollin in a brief history of the comic. [ComicMix]

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