Comics A.M. | Stan Lee announces final appearance in Canada

Creators | Stan Lee has announced his visit to Fan Expo Canada in September will mark his final appearance in that country. "It’s so pleasant to go somewhere where people like you and want to hear what you have to say," he said. "It’s very flattering. But I’m 93 years old. I don’t know how much longer I’ll be able to do it. I want to make this one big event.” When it was pointed out that Lee doesn't look as if he's slowing down, the legendary creator replied, "Well, I can’t run the marathon and win the way I used to.” Lee made his final convention appearance in Europe in 2014. [Toronto]

Publishing | Sparkplug Books, the small comics publisher founded by the late Dylan Williams, is closing its doors. Founded in 2002, Sparkplug published the early works of David King, Jason Shiga and Rina Ayuyang, among others, and was an important publisher in the small-press comics world for years. [The Comics Reporter]

Comics | David Harper looks at the question of variant covers from every angle, talking to readers and retailers about whether they are a gimmick or provide solid value for store owners and customers. Opinions are all over the map, as are the different publishers' ratios of variants to regular covers. [Sktchd]

Comics | The comic Bitcoin: The Hunt for Satoshi Nakamoto tells the story of Bitcoins, but it has also become part of the story of Bitcoins: The comic, which was crowdfunded with Bitcoins, has been the focus of several of the cryptocurrency community's charitable events, including auctioning off copies signed by Bitcoin pioneers. [Crypto Coins News]

Comics | Deborah Whaley, associate professor of American Studies and African American Studies at the University of Iowa, discusses the way black women are treated as comics characters, including this commentary on Eartha Kitt as the Catwoman in the Batman television series: "Yes, Catwoman was an anti-hero, but she was funny, smart and powerful, and she did not encompass the typical jezebel, tragic mulatta, sapphire, mammy, or other maligned images of black women that pervaded popular culture at the time. Catwoman was largely depicted as equal to the male characters in the show; she was tough and glamorous all at once; she was a wonderful contradiction of black womanhood. Her stint as Catwoman also seemed to convey that she could and did occupy the same space as white women and she was not subservient or marginal." | [Blavity]

Comics | Comics scholar Hilary Chute, a visiting professor at Harvard, is the guest on a Radio Boston segment about comics that depict war. [Radio Boston]

Comics | Jen Dot of the Chicago-based band Swimsuit Addition has started a virtual zine called Disappearing Media that's heavy on the comics; the subtitle is "stories & stuff for weirdos of all ages!" [Comics Reader]

Retailing | The Jedi Alliance in Spokane, Washington, styles itself as a religious organization, and it's housed in a remodeled church, but the purpose really seems to be to bring people together through their shared love of vintage arcade games. The "church" is only open on Sunday evenings, and it offers a wide variety of entertainment options, including sales of comics in its "gift shop." [Spokesman-Review]

Retailing | The local news team pays a visit to Rainbow Comics, Cards & Collectibles in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and talks to customers about why they keep coming back. [KDLT]

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