Comics A.M. | Ta-Nehisi Coates wins PEN Literary Award

Awards | Ta-Nehisi Coates, the writer of Marvel's Black Panther, has won a 2016 PEN Literary Award recognizing the art of the essay for his acclaimed memoir Between the World and Me. The author and journalist has already received a National Book Award and a MacArthur "genius grant," as well as a nomination for the National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism. The PEN award comes with a $10,000 prize. [PEN]

Creators | Mexican artist Raúl Treviño has been reluctant to take on violent stories because he has experienced it in his own life: Two family members have suffered violence at the hands of the Mexican drug cartels. But when BOOM! Studios approached him about illustrating Justin Jordan's Sombra, a fictional tale about the cartels, he reconsidered. "I realized: Since we cannot change reality, I can face my fears and the way I see reality," he says. And that's what happened: "Being involved in this project is a way of healing." [Comic Riffs]

Creators | Writer Ryan North talks about The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: "It’s like a puzzle. How do you face [evil] with just squirrel powers? Being able to have a bunch of squirrels have your back at any one time is a great power to have." [The Washington Post]

Creators | I talked with Chester Brown about Mary Wept Over the Feet of Jesus and how it relates to his previous book, Paying For It. [Publishers Weekly]

Creators | Philadelphia playwright and director Dave Ebersole talks about his supernatural/noir comic Dash, which centers on a gay man living in 1940s Los Angeles. [Philadelphia Weekly]

Digital comics | The Toronto music and comics label Trinket has released two digital comics that integrate music into the story; readers can click on links to download or stream music from the artists in the story, and there are sound effects and other bonuses as well. [Exclaim]

Digital comics | With last week's announcement that comiXology and Kindle will release new chapters of Kodansha manga, including Attack on Titan and Princess Jellyfish, the same day they're published in Japan, the question arises of what's the best way to buy your digital manga? Krystallina runs the numbers on several different options; ultimately, it depends on how you like to read your manga. [The OASG]

Digital comics | Snapchat has agreed to purchase Bitstrips, the make-your-own comic app that was really hot on Facebook a couple of years ago. The app is now more focused on personalized emojis than the short gag comics that were popular in the beginning. Fortune reports that the deal is worth $100 million in cash and stock. [Fortune]

Retailing | Third Coast Comics moved its location closer to Chicago's Loyola University, whose students are an important part of its customer base, but at the same time the store has reduced its selection and shifted its emphasis from serial comics to graphic novels. That has some students going elsewhere for their weekly fix, although owner Terry Gant says he hasn't seen a drop in business. Gant also stopped carrying figurines and T-shirts, saying they don't sell: "I think people like seeing [action figures and T-shirts] in shops, but they’re almost like window dressing." [Loyola Phoenix]

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