Comics A.M. | Russian media watchdog eyes Marvel's 'Avengers'

Legal | At the request of a state-owned distributor, the Russian media watchdog Roskomnadzor is investigating charges that Marvel comics are "propaganda of a cult of violence," specifically, violence against Russian targets. The agency will review Avengers #1, due out in Russia in August, "regarding the use of Soviet symbols, the presentation of the characters as Russian service personnel, and the incitement of violence and cruelty," according to the the Russian Legal Information Agency. This seems to be about the Winter Guard and specifically about Vanguard, who wears a hammer-and-sickle logo; the European publisher, Egmont, plans to remove the logo for the Russian release. Roskomnadzor has the option of issuing an official warning; a publisher who gets two of these in a year may have its license revoked. [CNET]

Publishing | Sales of comics and graphics to the direct market were down $200,000 in the first half of 2014 from the first half of 2013; in a $250 million market, that's not a huge decrease (Miller points out that that's the equivalent of one top-selling comic). In terms of unit sales, single-issue comics were down just over 6 percent, and graphic novels were up by more than 5 percent, and for the first time in history, an Archie title (Afterlife With Archie) topped the graphic novel chart. Miller has the top 10 charts, market shares and more. [Comichron]

Comics | In a rich, anecdote-filled interview, Francoise Mouly talks about her life as a creator, editor and publisher of comics, as well as the other areas she has explored (biology?!) and her work as the art editor of The New Yorker. [The Rumpus]

Comics | Three Spanish creators, one of whom is the editor of a finance site, are making a comic about Bitcoin and its founder, the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto. [CoinDesk]

Creators | Cartoonist Khalid Albaih, who is Sudanese but now works out of Doha, talks about coming to prominence (he has 59,000 followers on Facebook) during the Arab Spring and about how he deals with government censorship — preemptively: "The key is to self-censor. This comes from our background. As Muslims, as people of this region, we know that a lot of our culture depends on this," he said. "Not everything that you think should you say ... If you think about things longer, the ideas come out better. That way, it’s not offensive to anybody. I don’t want my cartoons to offend anyone. I want my idea to get across." [The Gulf Times]

Cartoons | New Yorker cartoon editor Bob Mankoff talks about how the magazine changed the cartooning scene, how he got his job, and why he isn't a standup comic, among other things. [History News Network]

Reviews | The fine-arts magazine Artforum has devoted its current issue to comics and graphic novels, and while the list of contributors is impressive, Dominic Umile points out that it skews toward older works and includes only two contributions from women writers. [Dominic Umile]

Conventions | The one-day Allentown (Pennyslvania) Comic Con drew in 4,000 visitors this past weekend, including a sizable cadre of cosplayers. [The Morning Call]

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