Comics A.M. | Ta-Nehisi Coates among Book Critics award finalists

Awards | Adding to a list of recent honors that includes a National Book Award and a MacArthur "genius grant," author and journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates has been nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism for his acclaimed memoir Between the World and Me. Coates is collaborating with artist Brian Stelfreeze on Marvel's new Black Panther series, which debuts in April. [The New York Times]

Creators | Comics-industry pundit Rob Salkowitz looks at the resurgence of interest in Jack Kirby, who has posthumously received credit (and pay) for the work he created over the years for Marvel Comics: "For decades, the story of how everyone made a fortune off the work of this visionary creator except for Kirby himself – who until his final days toiled to eke out financial security for his family – stood as one of the most egregious injustices in an industry distinguished by its ill-treatment of creative talent. Now, as we approach his centenary in 2017, the man that Stan Lee nicknamed 'King of the Comics' is finally starting to get his due in the wider world of art, culture and commerce." [Forbes]

Conventions | Comic-Con International organizers have announced the second wave of special guests for the 2016 convention, held July 21-24 in San Diego: Jason Aaron, Kate Beaton, Paul Gulacy and Patrick Rothfuss. [Comic-Con International]

Creators | For Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Michael Cavna looks at March, Rep. John Lewis's graphic memoir of the Civil Rights movement, recounts a recent visit to Lewis's office, and talks briefly to artist Nate Powell: "March has been life-changing for me, and as a parent raising two young children into this world, I’m trying to create something that will help them feel connected and empowered to make a difference in the world they will inherit." [Comic Riffs]

Publishing | Drew Ford, acquisitions editor for Dover Books, talks about the publisher's line of comics and apocalyptic fiction. Dover has traditionally reprinted works that were in the public domain, but Ford's job is to acquire new and out-of-print works; the comics line includes Sam Glanzman's A Sailor's Story and Jerome Charyn and Francois Boucq's The Magician's Wife. [Publishers Weekly]

Manga | Scholar Matthew Brummer explains how the Japanese government and the manga industry are cooperating to sell the public on an expanded role for the Japanese military. While the American military teams up with movie and game creators to create macho imagery, the Japan Self Defense Force (JDSF) takes the opposite tack, going for cuteness (moe): "Moe induced by manga is the recognition of a fictional realism, whereby Japan is able to explore its hard power identity against a backdrop of cute fantasy, one in which the JSDF symbolically disarms itself by normalizing, domesticating, and emasculating the military. Indeed, the manga military has become virtually indistinguishable from many of the prominent 'neighborly' government institutions, including the postal service, utilities, and railway, cast in their likeness from the same popular culture mold." [The Diplomat]

Exhibits | An exhibit at the Montana Historical Society celebrates the work of Stan Lynde, creator of the syndicated comics Rick O'Shay and Latigo. [Helena Independent Record]

Retailing | After more than 25 years in business, The Comic Den in Kew Gardens, Queens, New York, is closing its doors at the end of the month. Co-owner Janet Vargas blames digital comics for dwindling sales: "It’s like a dying hobby. It’s sad, but young people are growing up using all these new technologies." Vargas and her husband Luis are looking for a smaller space to continue selling hard-copy comics and may take their business online. [DNAInfo]

Retailing | TV reporter Tim Bolen pays a visit to Conspiracy Comics in Burlington, Ontario. [CHCH]

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