Comics A.M. | Syrian cartoonist faces trial; Trudeau taking sabbatical

Editorial cartoons | The Cartoonists Rights International has given its 2013 Courage in Editorial Cartooning award to Syrian cartoonist Akram Raslan, who was arrested in his newspaper office in Hama, Syria, about six months ago and has been held incommunicado since then; reliable sources report that he has been tortured while in prison. Raslan will be tried on Monday in a special court on an array of charges, including insulting the president and incitement to sedition, stemming from his cartoons. [Cartoonist Rights Network International]

Creators | Meanwhile, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette cartoonist Rob Rogers is donating the prize money from the Thomas Nast Award he recently received to the CRNI. Rogers' donation will go directly to a cartoonist who's in hiding for fear of being deported to his home country of Syria. [Cartoonist Rights Network International]

Comic strips | Garry Trudeau will take a sabbatical from Doonesbury this summer to work on his television series Alpha House, which will be produced by Amazon Studios and streamed online. [Comic Riffs]

Events | Torsten Adair surveys the graphic novel scene at Book Expo America. [The Beat]

Creators | Steven Ringgenberg remembers the late Dan Adkins, who worked for a wide range of publishers as a penciler and inker. [The Comics Journal]

Creators | Marc Sobel talks to Rutu Modan, whose latest graphic novel The Property debuted a few weeks ago at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival. [The Comics Journal]

Creators | Chris Hoffman talks about his comic Salt City Strangers, which features a team of Latter Day Saints superheroes: "Marvel Comics had a story line where the Avengers wanted to have a team in every state that protected the state from the supernatural. They mentioned the Mormon team in passing, but never showed it. I was laughing, wondering what kind of state-themes the characters would have." [The Salt Lake Tribune]

Creators | Former Chicago resident Lucy Knisley has a restaurant-centric conversation about her graphic memoir Relish. [The Chicago Tribune]

Digital comics | Paul Gravett interviews Russell Willis, the publisher of the graphic novel app Sequential, which launched in the United Kingdom and Ireland this week and will be available in the United States soon. [Paul Gravett]

Retailing | Raleigh, North Carolina, retailer Rick McGee, manager of Foundation's Edge, offers some thoughts on why his business is surviving in the age of Amazon and digital comics: "The initial assumption was that online comics would hurt stores because it would give way to pirating. In reality, shoplifting does more harm to stores. Digital sales actually help comic book sales rather than harm them." [The Technician]

Conventions | Indianapolis will get its own comics convention next March. [Indianapolis Star]

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