Comics A.M. | Russ Manning Award nominees announced

Awards | The nominees have been announced for the Russ Manning Promising Newcomer Award: Daniel Bayliss, artist of Kennel Block Blues and Translucid (BOOM! Studios); Leila del Duca, artist of Shutter (Image Comics); Dan Mora, artist of Klaus and Hexed! (BOOM! Studios); Marguerite Sauvage, artist of DC Comics Bombshells (DC Comics), Scarlet Witch (Marvel) and Faith (Valiant); and Tillie Walden, writer/artist of I Love This Part and The End of Summer (Avery Hill). The winner will be announced in July at Comic-Con International in San Diego. [Comic-Con International]

Publishing | After Apple rejected three adult graphic novels from Northwestern Press, refusing to release them on iBooks, publisher Zan Christensen responded by re-submitting one with all the naughty bits covered by ... a photograph of apples. The book, Hard to Swallow, is carried by Diamond Comic Distributors, and Christensen had hoped for a simultaneous print and digital launch. "Make no mistake: it’s within Apple’s legal rights to reject the book, but it’s important that the public knows they are doing it," Christensen wrote. "We must all remember that Apple’s iBooks is not a free marketplace of ideas, no matter how much it wants to portray itself as such. Apple gets to dictate what’s 'inappropriate' and what’s not, but wants to do it behind the scenes," [Unicorn Booty]

Publishing | Crime novelist Ace Atkins has inked a deal with 12-Gauge Comics, which will adapt four of his Nick Travers books into graphic novels. The company has already published a graphic adaptation of one of his short stories, Last Fair Deal Gone Down, with art by Marco Finnegan. [Publishers Weekly]

Publishing | DC Thomson, publisher of the long-lived British comic The Beano, has launched Beano Studios, which will offer "boredom-busting entertainment" for kids ages 7 to 10. Beano Studios will take over the Beano website and publication of the comic, and will also offer content on other platforms such as YouTube. [Down the Tubes]

Political cartoons | Cartoonist Wes Mountain interviews Luo Jie, deputy chief of the China Daily’s art section, who is basically responsible for overseeing tightly controlled official political cartoons — "using the Western method of cartooning to express the Chinese view of the world," as Luo puts it. The cartoons are aimed at foreign audiences and lampoon their leaders; publishing unapproved depictions of Chinese leaders is illegal in that country. The interview is drawn in comics format and offers some fascinating insights. [Junkee]

Creators | Noah Van Sciver is relocating to Columbus, Ohio. He doesn't have a place to live yet, but references to Columbus and its culture have already begun popping up in his work. [Columbus Alive]

Creators | Shane Foley works for the Queensland (Australia) Ambulance Service by day and draws comics by night, and his art has just appeared on the cover of the latest issue of The Phantom. A lifelong comics fan, Foley says that technology has made it easier to submit artwork from far away — but personal connections still matter: "Despite all the technology, a lot of work still goes to people that editors know. They know them personally and they know they're dependable. Because everyone in publishing hates it if the deadline is missed." [ABC News]

Retailing | Writer Sterling Gates and writer-artist Dorshak Bloch, both of whom have ties to Oklahoma, will be at Speeding Bullet Comics in Norman, Oklahoma, on June 18 as part of the store's 18th-anniversary celebration. [The Norman Transcript]

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