Comics A.M. | Salt Lake's FanX kicks off with mayoral decree

Conventions | At a press conference Thursday to kick off FanXperience, the Salt Lake Comic Con spinoff event, Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker declared Jan. 29, 2015, as "Salt Lake Comic Con's Day of Heroes." Organizers, who have capped ticket sales for the second annual event at 70,000, say they expect a sellout. The Deseret News also looks at the origins of Salt Lake Comic Con in a profile of founders Dan Farr and Bryan Brandenburg, who were introduced to comic conventions not as fans but as entrepreneurs. FanX continues through Sunday. [KSL.com]

Festivals | Reporter Alex Turnbull files a video report from the Angoulême International Comics Festival that includes segments on the tributes to the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists, the Belgian cartoonist Hermann, and a 24-hour comics challenge. [France 24]

Creators | Grandville creator Bryan Talbot talks about his work: "Doing comics is a very slow-motion thing. To be passionate implies an intensity I don’t think I’ve got." [The Guardian]

Creators | Joel Christian Gill is doing a book tour for Black History Month, promoting his graphic novels Strange Fruit and Tales of the Talented Tenth, but he's also questioning the whole idea of Black History Month: "Black history is fundamentally American history. These stories of people doing these amazing things don’t happen in Canada, don’t happen in Europe. These specific stories that I am telling are quintessential American stories. And, when you take that and you apply it to the 28-day period that we always talk about, then you get my rallying cry, which is '28 Days Are Not Enough.'" [The Philadelphia Tribune]

Creators | Adam Elwell and Greg Leonov report on a recent appearance by Matt Fraction and Kelly Sue DeConnick at Mount Hood Community College. [The Advocate]

Creators | "You’ve got a better chance of being an NFL linebacker than an editorial cartoonist," said Kevin Necessary, who beat the odds (after years of obsession and hard work, and almost quitting the field entirely): He's been hired to draw editorial cartoons for the website of the TV station WCPO. [WCPO]

Creators | Veronica Berns had trouble explaining her graduate work in chemistry to family and friends outside the field, so she turned her PhD thesis into a comic book. Her Kickstarter campaign to publish it has already raised almost twice its goal. [University of Wisconsin-Madison News]

Creators | Bellingham, Washington, cartoonist John McColloch has a sweet paying gig: He's drawing cartoons about the Seattle Seahawks for a Twitter campaign. [Bellingham Herald]

Graphic journalism | Journalist Dan Archer discusses his nonfiction graphic novel (it's actually quite short) that tells the story of Marlene Bird, a homeless Cree woman who was attacked and set on fire. A survivor of Canada's residential school system, where abuse was rampant, Bird was an alcoholic and a survivor of domestic abuse, and after the attack, which has not been solved, she lost both her legs. "I want people to read the story and not think, ‘Oh, it’s another drunk. They were asking for it, because they made a series of bad choices.’ I want people to see there are a much larger societal factors that pushed Marlene down this route" said Archer, who has also made graphic novels about the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and child trafficking in Nepal. [The Star Phoenix]

Retailing | "It's an exciting time to be into comics" says Josh Bonno, the co-owner (with his wife, Molly) of Blaze-Thru Comics in Plymouth, Michigan. The store, which just opened last year, caters to a range of customers, with a mix of superhero and indy comics. The Bonnos are also working to create a comics community with events such as a "Blaze-Thru and Brew" night at a local brewery. [Hometown Life]

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