Comics A.M. | 'The 99' creator on death threats, political pressure

Creators | In a new profile of Naif Al-Mutawa, the creator of the Islamic superhero comic The 99 addresses the death threats made against him by ISIS and the fatwa issued against the animated adaptation in Saudi Arabia, and reveals he recently met with Kuwaiti police "to answer the charges of being a heretic." Mutawa also blames pressure from "a handful of conservative bloggers" in the United States for The Hub not following through with plans to air the animated series. He said that after President Obama praised his work in 2010, attacks on him escalated in the United States, where he was painted as a jihadist "intent on radicalizing young kids to make them suicide bombers. And here [in the Gulf] I became an apostate Zionist. My mother told me growing up, be careful who your friends are because you end up inheriting their enemies. And that's what happened: I don't know President Obama. I'm very honored he called me out. But the hate became magnified after that." [Al-Monitor]

Comics | Blake Hennon looks at Marvel's diversity efforts, talking with Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso All New Captain America writer Rick Remender and author Rob Salkowitz. [Hero Complex]

Creators | Rayaan Ibtesham Chowdhury writes about the inhuman pace of a manga creator's life: One Piece creator Eiichiro Oda used to sleep just 30 minutes every four hours, and Naruto manga-ka Masashi Kishimoto still hasn't had a honeymoon, 15 years after getting married. [The Daily Star]

Creators | Joyce Brabner discusses her graphic novel Second Avenue Caper, set in the early 1980s when the AIDS epidemic was just gathering steam; it's the story of Ray, a New York nurse who made a deal with the Mafia to smuggle an unapproved drug over from Mexico, selling marijuana to finance the operation. "It was one of the bravest things I had ever seen and I didn’t want the story to die with Ray," Brabner says. [New York Daily News]

Creators | Seth talks about his work, including designing the Complete Peanuts volumes, and his preference for old things over new: "If somebody shows me an iPhone, I think it’s interesting, I’m impressed with the technology on some level, but also I’m turned off by it. I think part of me just rejects it naturally, and I would be much more interested if someone showed me any machine from the past. I’d immediately like that, I’d like the feel of that." [The London Yodeller]

Creators | I interview Kel McDonald about her many comics projects, which include her webcomic, Sorcery 101, her graphic novel trilogy Misfits of Avalon (the first volume of which was just published by Dark Horse), how she makes a living as a creator — using a combination of revenue from her webcomics sites, convention sales (of self-published books she funds on Kickstarter) and Patreon — and the difference between self-publishing and working with a traditional publisher. [Good Comics for Kids]

Creators | Matt Haley, who dropped out of school in 1988 to become a comics artist, talks about working with Aaron Lopresti, Steve Rude and Stan Lee, and reflects on how the industry has changed. [Portales News-Tribune]

Creators | Cartoonist Jason Salas explains why he plans to quit drawing in three years. [Las Cruces Sun-News]

Festivals | Frank Santoro reports on last weekend's Comic Arts Brooklyn. [The Comics Journal]

Conventions | Michael Morse reflects on the significance of last weekend's Rose City Comic Con, held in Tyler, Texas: "Only in its second year, and 90 miles from any major cities, the event has outgrown two venues and has begun attracting international sci-fi icons such as 2014 guests classic Doctor Who star Colin Baker and acclaimed Star Wars novelist Timothy Zahn. The success of an event like this, in a conservative bible-belt town, is a prime example of the wide growth and acceptance of Comic-Con culture happening in our society today." [Hilltop Views]

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