Comics A.M. | Retailers remain upbeat: "2012 is rocking it"

Retailing | Heidi MacDonald reports on the retailer lunch at Comic-Con International, where spirits were running high after an exceptionally good year, with sales up 13 percent over 2011. Retailers shared success stories, Diamond Comic Distributors offered incentives for new businesses, and MacDonald pulled out an interestingly eclectic list of titles that are spurring sales, including The Walking Dead, Saga, and Jeffrey Brown's cat cartoons and Vader and Son. [Publishers Weekly]

Publishing | ICv2 talks to the Viz Media executives about a range of topics, including the stabilization of the manga market, new interest from comics retailers, the shift to digital, and an uptick in the popularity of shoujo (girls') manga. [ICv2]

Creators | Alison Bechdel walks through her creative process for her latest graphic memoir Are You My Mother?, which included taking about 4,000 reference photos. [Co.Create]

Creators | Len Brown talks about the Mars Attacks bubblegum cards that IDW Publishing is adapting into comics written by Chew writer John Layman. Fifty years ago, Brown wrote the stories on the backs of the cards, whose scenes of graphic violence horrified parents and delighted kids. He remembers getting one batch of 30 letters from the same town: "We started to read one letter after another, and they were saying, 'You should put out educational trading cards. We don't like these space cards you're putting out.' One kid wrote, 'P.S. We really love them. Our teacher is making us write this.' We thought that was hysterical. He snuck in the secret to us." [USA Today]

Creators | In a video made at Comic-Con International, Chris Schweizer discusses his Crogan's Adventures series and why he prefers drawing with ink on paper over digital media. [TallTale Radio's YouTube Channel]

Manga | The Manga Moveable Feast, a monthly blog carnival focusing on one creator or title, celebrates the manga supergroup CLAMP this month, and Melinda Beasi kicks it off with an intro to the collective and their works. [Manga Bookshelf]

Manga | A group called "Atomic Bomb Survivors Seeking Peace and Security" has asked the Hiroshima Board of Education not to use the manga Barefoot Gen in its Peace Studies program. The creator of the manga, Keiji Nakazawa, is a survivor of the Hiroshima bombing (he was 6 years old), and the story draws on his experiences, which included losing most of his family to the blast; the protesting group calls the book a "one-sided portrayal" of the event. [Anime News Network]

Awards | Librarian Robin Brenner convenes a roundtable of librarians to discuss this year's Eisner Award nominees and winners. The general consensus seems to be that the awards have little sway with library patrons, although they may (or may not) influence the folks buying them for the collection. [No Flying No Tights]

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