Comics A.M. | The comics Internet in two minutes

Awards | The Xeric Foundation, the nonprofit corporation established in 1992 by Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles co-creator Peter Laird, has announced the recipients of the fall/winter grants: Sarah Becan, The Complete and Original Ouija Interviews; Sixta C., Soldiers of God; Ben Costa, Shi Long Pang, The Wandering Shaolin Monk; Blaise Larmee, Young Lions; Lane Milburn, Death Trap; Stefan Salinas, Within the Rat; and Nathan Schreiber, Power Out.

The Xeric grants assist creators with the costs of self-publishing. [The Xeric Foundation]

Retailing | Ron Marshall has resigned after just a year as chief executive of the financially troubled Borders Group. Michael J. Edwards, who joined the book chain in September as chief merchandising officer, has been appointed as interim chief executive. [The New York Times]

Publishing | Criticism of Bluewater Productions' work-for-hire agreements -- creators get paid when, and if, a comic turns a profit -- continues to mount in the blogosphere, where Heidi MacDonald pledges to no longer run the company's press releases. More commentary from Simon Jones, Tom Spurgeon and Johanna Draper Carlson. [Bluewater Productions]

Conventions | This article about the opening of the Taipei International Book Fair is worth reading just for the penultimate paragraph: "At the opening ceremony for the Anime and Comics Pavilion, Kazuo Umezu, author of the Japanese horror manga series The Drifting Classroom, was invited to sing a song." [Central News Agency]

Creators | Brian Heater continues his multi-part conversation with Eddie Campbell. [The Daily Cross Hatch]

Creators | Grant Morrison talks about Batman and Robin, the return of Bruce Wayne, and introducing new villains without getting bogged down by backstory: "I like the idea that the Joker was never really explained, and then six months later you got another Joker story in 1940 or whatever. They didn't explain his origins or motivations at all. They just kept telling more cool stories and showing more sides of his character. He was built up, developed and refined along the way rather than introduced as a complete package. To me that seems to be the mark of the best villains – they're introduced in a really cool way and then left for the future to play with. Like some future Alan Moore and Brian Bolland will come along one day and tell the origin of Professor Pyg and it will be the best comic ever. [laughs] That's how it should be."

Morrison also notes -- and I don't recall seeing this elsewhere -- that "Season 1" of Batman and Robin has been extended from 13 issues to 16, with "Season 2" featuring Bruce Wayne and "a different sort of dynamic." [IGN.com]

Creators | Arthur de Wolf interviews Italian cartoonist Andrea Castellan, better known as Casty, about his Disney comics work. [Disney Comics Worldwide]

Creators | I like this overview of "the finest comics writers in the universe" simply because it notes what work the author considers the "shining moment" and "darkest hour" of each creator. Runaways represents Brian K. Vaughan's creative low point, apparently? [Indiana Daily Student]

Comics | Preservation work is largely complete on a Roman ship discovered in 1982 at Saint Peter Point, Guernsey. It's been named Asterix in honor of René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo's pint-sized Gaul. [BBC, with video]

nightwing batman court of owls
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