Legal | Alaska legislators are considering introducing a bill that would expand the state's child-pornography laws to include cartoons and computer-generated images (anime is mentioned specifically in the article).
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2002 that cartoons depicting minors in sexually explicit situations are legal because real children are not involved. Congress responded the following year by expanding obscenity laws to include digital images and cartoons. In June, a federal appeals court upheld the conviction of Dwight Whorley, a Virginia man sentenced to 20 years in prison in part for possessing child pornography. However, the Justice Department also prosecuted him under the PROTECT Act for receiving cartoon (manga/anime) images via email depicting the sexual abuse of children. Whorley's conviction was the first under the 2003 statute that was not based on photographs of children.
Creators | Todd Klein reports that longtime letterer Joe Rosen has passed away. He was 88. Rosen began his career at Harvey Comics, and later worked on countless titles for Marvel and DC Comics, including The Amazing Spider-Man, Daredevil, Fantastic Four and Power Pack. [Todd's Blog]
Retailing | The Walt Disney Company has called in Steve Jobs and his Apple team to overhaul its 340 Disney Stores in the United States and Europe. The floor-to-ceiling reboot, expected to cost about $1 million per store, will include interactive elements and even a scent component. The company also is considering changing the outlets' names from Disney Stores to Imagination Parks. [The New York Times]
Conventions | Writer-editor Jamie S. Rich has arrived at a finding after staffing the Oni Press booth at last weekend's Wordstock book festival: "I have to say, for as much as comics folks like to bitch about behavior of comics fans at conventions as if it were unique to the field, it's totally not. Book lovers are just as socially awkward and downright stupid and rude. The inane questions we heard or off-hand, thoughtless remarks rivaled anything a fanboy might lob at an unsuspecting comics pro." [Confessions of a Pop Fan]
Webcomics | Cartoonist Scott Kurtz, a vocal critic of Zuda Comics, has revised his stance on DC's online initiative: "If companies like DC can enter the Webcomics world, and find a way to work with creators fairly and bring credibility and positive attention to this medium … that’s good. If Zuda can light a fire under the asses of talent that normally wouldn’t make progress, that’s awesome. We want that, don’t we? Doesn’t a rising tide lift all ships?" [PvPonline]
Creators | Through the sales of the first xkcd collection and tickets to his book tour, cartoonist Randall Munroe raised enough money to build a school in Laos: "We’re not going to torment the kids’ ability to learn phonetics by calling it The XKCD School, but we will be writing a dedication which will go on a plaque." In other Munroe news, the cartoonist talks with Laura Hudson about his self-published book, the rise of xkcd, and raptor-phobia. [xkcd blog via Fleen; Comics Alliance]
Creators | Mike Mignola discusses the evolution of Hellboy, the state of B.P.R.D., Witchfinder, and what's next for the Hellboy universe. [TFAW.com]
Art and design | Todd Klein launches a multipart study of DC Comics' Robin logos through the decades. [Todd's Blog]