Comics A.M. | Sci-fi scholar George Slusser passes away

Passings | Dr. George Slusser, co-founder of the University of California, Riversides' renowned Eaton Collection of Science Fiction & Fantasy, passed away Tuesday at age 75. Curator emeritus and professor emeritus of comparative literature, Slusser expanded the Eaton holdings from 7,500 items to more than 300,000, making it the largest publicly accessible collection of science fiction and fantasy literature in the world. It encompasses novels, journals, manuscripts, comics and manga, fanzines and anime, and includes first editions of Bram Stoker's Dracula, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Action Comics #1 and The Fantastic Four #1. “Over three decades, George Slusser built the Eaton Collection up from a small core of titles into the world-class archive that it is today,” Rob Latham, co-director of UC Riverside's Science Fiction and Technoculture Studies program, said in a statement. “The field of science fiction scholarship owes him an incalculable debt.” [UC Riverside]

Comics | A library volunteer sorting through a box of donated books about World War II came across a rare Canadian comic: Jewish War Heroes, published in 1944 by the Canadian Jewish Congress to highlight the bravery of Jewish soldiers and counter claims that Jews were not contributing sufficiently to the war effort. There are only a handful of known copies of the comic, which is the first in a series of three, and Peter Birkemoe of The Beguiling says the value is hard to estimate; at auction, “your low end would be in the $1,000 range; your high end would be close to five figures.” [National Post]

Graphic novels | ICv2 has the October BookScan graphic novel chart, which lists the top 20 titles in retail bookstores, and it's a good month for The Walking Dead. Not surprisingly, given that the new season premiered in October, there are five volumes on the chart. Three volumes of Scott Snyder's Batman and three volumes of Attack on Titan also made the list; Image was the publisher with the most titles, with The Walking Dead and the first volume of Saga. The No. 1 title: the 67th volume of Naruto. [ICv2]

Creators | Grant Snider won the Charles M. Schulz Award for college cartoonists when he was in dental school, and his work appears in the Best American Comics anthology and The New York Times Magazine, but he hasn't given up his day job as an orthodontist. In fact, he says, the two careers have much in common:“Both are highly detail oriented, highly hands on, completely visual kinds of things.” But cartooning is solitary, while his orthodontics practice keeps him in contact with people. [KCUR]

Creators | Longtime Archie Comics artist Dan Parent talks about his work, including the character he created, Kevin Keller, and what he thinks about the new directions the publisher has been taking. [Comics Alliance]

Creators | Casey Cora profiles emerging comics artist Leo Perez, whose sharp-edged, colorful art shows a strong graffiti influence. [DNAInfo]

Webcomics | Claire Fishman explains Homestuck. [The Montclairion]

Conventions | Tucson Comic Con is this weekend, with expected attendance of between 10,000 and 15,000. Founder Michael Olivares says he was inspired by the late artist Michael Turner, who died of cancer in 2008: "[Turner] was doing what he loved even though he was going through treatment, and that pushed me to ask why couldn’t I do something that I love and start this comic book convention." [Daily Wildcat]

Retailing | Matthew Kreger decided to open a comic shop after retiring from a 25-year career as an opera singer, so he joined forces with a local gaming store to launch Boom Comics in Topeka, Kansas. He's doing it partly to sell off his massive collection of back issues, but he also offers weekly Magic games and has one of the few Walking Dead pinball machines in Kansas. "We really want to make it like your basement. So come in, we have snacks, we have sodas, we have everything here to make you feel at home," he said. [The Topeka Capital-Journal]

Retailing | T.J. Johnson has owned Third Planet in Houston since 1975, and he was ahead of the curve in when it came to inclusiveness, making an effort to carry comics by women and featuring female superheroes, as well as a mix of merchandise that included toys and T-shirts."Back in those days, it was almost sacrilege to put anything but comics in that kind of store," he said.  [Houston Chronicle]

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