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

Legal | Former 2000AD and Judge Dredd artist Ron Smith testified yesterday, denying charges that he sexually abused a 13-year-old girl over a three-year period in the 1980s. “I never touched her in any way or at any point,” Smith, 80, told the court.

The alleged victim also testified, saying that Smith bought her books illustrating sexual techniques, and even "made her act out a mock rape scene" at knifepoint to prepare her for a real-life attack. Update: A jury has cleared Smith on all charges. [Get Surrey]

Retailing | Bookstore sales fell 2.6 percent in April, to $969 million, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. [Publishers Weekly]

Publishing | In a move that inches close to print on demand, Digital Manga Publishing is inviting readers to pre-order certain Juné yaoi titles that aren't set to be published for a while. If those orders reach a certain level, DMP will release "early limited print" editions of the books, "even several months earlier if fan demand is high." [Juné Manga, via Brigid Alverson, who has additional commentary]

Retailing | A little late to the conversation, retailer Lisa Lopacinski wants publishers and creators to stop shifting the blame for low-selling books: "In a sea of new items, it only makes sense to do what you can as a creator and publisher to get your items to rise to the top, and if you do not, then EXPECT to fail. To blame Diamond and/or the Direct Market because no one wanted to buy your comic book is not only irresponsible, it is RIDICULOUS. I know many in today's society prefer to blame everyone else for their own failures; it's easier than doing the work. But it doesn't fix or accomplish anything. As a business owner and as a human being I resent being blamed for the failure of others to do their jobs." [Sequentially Speaking]

Retailing | A fire Thursday night gutted the historic Western Hotel Annex Building in Renton, Washington, which housed apartments and several businesses, including The Comic Den. The cause of the fire is being investigated. [The Associated Press]

Retailing | James Graham profiles Huntsville, Alabama's family-friendly comic store The Deep. [Examiner]

Creators | Art Spiegelman discusses Maus and his sketchbooks. [The Guardian]

Creators | Adam Warren explains what he's attempting to accomplish with the superhero comedy Empowered. Sort of: "... I quite enjoy capering about in the gray zone between what might be 'cheesecake' and what might be 'criticism of cheesecake'... or even 'criticism of criticism of cheesecake,' etc., etc. Or do I even mean that? Am I just trying to see what Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose would be like, if it happened to be in B&W and didn’t make very much money? Or am I trying to spice up a character study of coping with chronic failure and low self-esteem by larding on the sex and cheesecake? Or am I engaged in an odyssey of nigh-Cronenbergian self-mutilation, as I try to see how quickly I can cripple my drawing hand by grinding out 200 pages of pencil-heavy artwork over ludicrously short timeframes? Or am I just being an obnoxiously insincere jackass? You decide!" [Dark Horse]

Creators | Writer Gail Simone chats about "Women in Refrigerators," and writing Superman. [Flipside]

Creators | Here's the first installment of a multi-part Q&A with longtime X-Men writer Chris Claremont, who talks about his latest return to the characters with X-Men Forever. [BIFF BAM POP!]

Creators | Collaborators Thomas Hall and Daniel Bradford chat about their comics Robot 13 and KING! [Surfing the Bleed]

Comics | Vertigo provides a preview of Jeff Lemire's upcoming monthly series Sweet Tooth. [Graphic Content]

Comics | "This graphic novel has been praised by many as one of, if not the, greatest Batman story ever put to paper." Guess which one he's talking about. [Examiner]

Star Wars Finn Poe feature
Star Wars Makes Poe Dameron and Finn the Galaxy's Dynamic Duo

More in Comics