Comics A.M. | Sydney, Australia's oldest comic store is closing

Retailing | After nearly 30 years in business, Comic Kingdom -- the oldest comic store in Sydney, Australia -- will close its doors for good. Clayton Wildridge, who's worked at the store for two decades and now manages it, points the finger at digital comics: “The culture has changed. It’s all internet and downloads now. The last thing I read said readership of comics was actually up, but purchases of hard copies were down. People download them instead and read them on the phone.” [The Daily Telegraph]

Legal | Amnesty International has called on the government of Malaysia to drop all charges against political cartoonist Zunar, who's scheduled to appear in court Friday on nine charges of sedition stemming from a series of tweets accusing the government of manipulating the sodomy trial of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim. "Zunar has for years highlighted government corruption and repression through his cartoons — this is what he is being punished for," said Josef Benedict of Amnesty International. "It is absurd that Zunar is facing potentially decades in prison for a series of tweets." [Amnesty International]

Creators | Rebecca Burns writes about Rep. John Lewis' double life as a congressman and writer of the acclaimed graphic memoir March; she follows him around DragonCon and talks to his fans as well as Lewis himself. There's a great moment when author Tom Heintjes arrives to host a panel featuring Lewis and his collaborator, Andrew Aydin. "I got there late, and thought I had the wrong room," Heintjes said. "Standing room only and lines down the hall; I assumed it must be some Lord of the Rings panel." [Politico]

Creators | Chris Mautner interviews Kate Beaton. [The Comics Journal]

Creators | Writer Rob Williams talks about his new Vertigo comic Unfollow. [Comic Riffs]

Political cartoons | It's been a while since we've had a good college-newspaper kerfuffle, so here you go: The Daily Illini ran a cartoon depicting a trick-or-treater climbing over a fence and saying "I'm going as an illegal immigrant." When readers protested, the editors suspended the staff member who chose the cartoon and ended its subscription to the Cagle Syndicate, which provided it. Alan Gardner provides links, comments on the situation, and hosts an interesting discussion in the comments section of his blog. [The Daily Cartoonist]

Comics | In an audio interview, Dan Merritt of the Dearborn, Michigan, comic shop Green Brain Comics discusses the increasing number of minority superheroes, noting, "There has been a great move towards diversification of the entire business." [WDET]

Comics | Owen Freeman writes about designing the cover for the 20th issue of Lazarus, the Image Comics series by Greg Rucka, Michael Lark and Santi Arcas, and shows some of the initial concepts and early sketches he came up with before settling on the final design. [Owen Freeman]

Manga | To mark the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, the Japanese radio station NHK Hiroshima has published a short manga, Shodo no Hosokyoku (Broadcasting station on the scorched ground), about the station employees' heroic efforts to get back on the air the day after the bomb was dropped. The eight-page manga, which will be handed out to students on field trips, is based on an employee's diary and other historical materials; poignantly, one of the characters says, "We could have saved tens of thousands of lives if we had put out the air raid alert one minute earlier." [Asahi Shimbun]

Conventions | Rhode Island Comic Con, which takes place this weekend, has made arrangements to avoid the overcrowding problems that occurred last year. The event will be spread across two venues, and ticket sales will be limited to 17,000 per day, which is the capacity of two sites combined. [Providence Journal]

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