Comics A.M. | 'Saga,' 'Persepolis' & 'Drama' among most challenged books

Graphic novels | This week is Banned Books Week, when the American Library Association releases its list of the 10 most challenged books of the previous year. This year's list includes three graphic novels: Persepolis, Saga and Drama. Michael Cavna discusses graphic novel with Charles Brownstein, executive director of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, who points out that Drama, which was challenged for being "sexually explicit," is just the opposite: "In the incidents I’ve personally been involved in, and many others, the book’s light touch is precisely what infuriates those who want to take it off the shelves — there’s a sense that’s been communicated to me and others that kids shouldn’t be reading that being gay is a normal part of the human experience." [Comic Riffs]

Legal | As part of a plea deal, Donald Griffin has admitted to taking part in a 2010 home-invasion robbery in Medina, New York, that resulted in the death of 77-year-old comic collector Homer Marciniak. In his statement, Griffin said the robbery was planned by Rochester businessman Rico J. Vendetti, who became interested in comics after selling shoplifted merchandise on Internet auction sites (Venditti pleaded guilty in December). Griffin and two accomplices broke into Marciniak's house, tied him to a chair, and stole his collection of rare comic books, valued at more than $30,000. Marciniak died of a heart attack shortly afterward. Griffin could face life in prison. [The Buffalo News]

Comics | George Gene Gustines interviews Betty Tokar Jankovich, the real-life inspiration for Archie Comics' Betty; she briefly dated Archie creator Bob Montana. Journalist Gerard Peary figured out her identity and has made a documentary, Archie's Betty, about the people behind the iconic Riverdale characters. [The New York Times]

Creators | Amnesty International has chosen Malaysian cartoonist Zunar to be part of its Write for Rights campaign, which bears the hashtag #W4R. The cartoonist, who's facing nine charges of sedition because of a tweet critical of the government, is the first Malaysian to be selected for the campaign. [The Malaysian Insider]

Creators | I interviewed Hazel Newlevant about her new comic No Ivy League, and ran a preview as well. [Good Comics for Kids]

Publishing | Image Comics has announced that Jeff Boison, formerly of DC Entertainment, has joined the company as director of publishing planning & book trade sales. Bolson will be responsible for mass market, online and bookstore sales. [Image Comics]

Manga | Britt Peterson looks at the increasingly serious treatment of transgender characters in manga. [Foreign Policy]

Manga | Japan's Finance Minister Taro Aso is a fan of the manga Golgo 13, but he may find the latest chapter a little unnerving:Iit features a story about high finance, featuring a character who looks a lot like him. [Bloomberg]

Manga | Two Japanese manga magazines are posting openings for editor-for-a-day jobs. Weekly Shonen Jump, the most popular manga magazine in Japan, and Morning, which publishes more adult-contemporary fare, are both looking for someone to come in for one day to evaluate submissions, look over fonts, that sort of thing. [RocketNews 24]

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