Comics A.M. | Ta-Nehisi Coates wins National Book Award

Awards | Journalist and author Ta-Nehisi Coates, who'll write Marvel's new Black Panther series, has won the National Book Award for nonfiction for his acclaimed memoir Between the World and Me; he was awarded a prestigious MacArthur "genius grant" in September. Noelle Stevenson's Nimona was shortlisted for the National Book Award for young people's literature, making the 23-year-old cartoonist the youngest finalist ever. However, Neal Shusterman won in that category for his novel Challenger Deep. [The New York Times]

Political cartoons | A cartoon depicting Syrian refugees as rats caused a stir Wednesday on social media, with many people comparing it to Nazi propaganda. Tim Sanders, himself a political cartoonist, argues that while the cartoon shouldn't be censored, the cartoonist, Mac, chose the wrong target: "The job of the satirist and cartoonists is indeed to offend and outrage, but who do we want to offend? For me, it is the powerful, the rich, those who make decisions that can ruin or end the lives of other ‘lesser’ beings. Attacking the poor and weak isn’t satire - it’s bullying." Cartoons are powerful, he adds, and drawing the refugees as rats dehumanizes them and reinforces the racist narrative of groups like Marine LePen's Front National. [The Independent]

Best of the year | Michael Cavna shares his picks for the best graphic novels of 2015. [Comic Riffs]

Creators | Tillie Walden, creator of The End of Summer and I Love This Part, talks about her work and the emotional response it evokes. Walden, who is working on her thesis at the Center for Cartoon Studies, says she is not afraid to make a page and then throw it out: "When I was younger, I thought the pages I made had to be the perfect reflection of my vision, but now I know things don’t work like that. I just made 50 pages of my thesis, and I’ll use maybe 30, but making 20 bad pages is still good because I’m still being productive." [Vulture]

Creators | Anne Ishii interviews Adrian Tomine in depth about his new collection of short graphic stories, Killing and Dying. [The Comics Journal]

Creators | Shea Hennum writes about Argentinian creator Héctor Germán Oesterheld, whose The Eternaut was released in a collected edition this week by Fantagraphics. Oesterheld was a journalist before turning to comics and his work became more explicitly political as his career went on. He disappeared in 1977, and a fellow creator supposedly was told by the government that “We did away with him because he wrote the most beautiful story of Ché Guevara ever done.” [Paste]

Awards | The 32nd Aydın Doğan International Cartoon Competition Awards were given out at Tuesday a ceremony in Istanbul. Top honors went to Albanian cartoonist Agim Sulaj, while two Iranian cartoonists, Mohsen Nuri and Jalal Pirmarzabad, received the second and third prizes, respectively. Political cartoonists from 66 different countries entered their work in the competition. [Hurriyet Daily News]

Retailing | Bigfoot Comics and Collectibles will hold its grand opening this weekend in a converted church in Granite City, Illinois. Owner John Chaffee talks about what he plans for the business — and shows off some vintage comics. [Fox 2 Now]

Retailing | A reporter from the Cal State Fullerton newspaper pays a visit to the nearby comics shop Comic Book Hideout. "I wanted to create a place where cool, normal people can come and buy comic books," says owner Glynnes Pruett. "If you’re creating a retail store, you want people to want to be around and want to be there, and a lot of comic book stores don’t get that." [Daily Titan]

Conventions | Bakersfield Comic-Con, which takes place this weekend, is bigger than ever this year and has moved to the Kern County Fairgrounds to allow for more exhibitors and attendees. Organizer Steve Wyatt has lined up a lot of activities as well as special guests Sergio Aragones and Stan Sakai. [The Bakersfield Californian]

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