Comics A.M. | The mystique of the Marvel writers' retreat

Publishing | Alex Abad-Santos examines how Marvel has created a mystique around its writers' retreats, using the necessary secrecy to transform the planning meetings "into something fans are genuinely interested in." The piece goes beyond that, however, touching upon recent accusations of sexism, and the inclusion of newly Marvel-exclusive writer G. Willow Wilson in this month's retreat. [Vox]

Comics | Matt Cavna interviews Matt Bors, editor of The Nib, the comics section of the website The Medium, which has become the go-to site for journalism and commentary in comics form. [Comic Riffs]

Best of the year | The Publishers Weekly critics vote for the best graphic novels of the year; Jillian and Mariko Tamaki's This One Summer tops the list, and there are plenty of interesting suggestions as books that got even one or two votes are included. [Publishers Weekly]

Best of the year | The staff of comiXology makes its choices for the best comics offered by the digital distributor, in categories that range from best new series to best manga series to best colorist. [comiXology]

Best of the year | Taking a slightly different approach, Rich Barrett singles out the 25 most interesting comics of 2014, a list that encompasses comic books, graphic novels, webcomics and newspaper comic strips. [Mental Floss]

Gift guide | The Good Comics for Kids bloggers post their gift guide, with lots of comics and comics-related suggestions for readers up to age 16. [Good Comics for Kids]

Comics | From Donald Duck to Krampus, Matt White rounds up 12 Christmas-themed comics. [Publishers Weekly]

Comics | Rick Olivares looks back at 1994's Aster the Celestial Knight, the first comic produced in the Philippines and published by an international publisher. [The Philippine Star]

Graphic novels | Building Stories creator Chris Ware writes about Richard McGuire's graphic novel Here, which he first encountered as a short strip in Raw magazine back in the day: "It was the first time I had had my mind blown. Sitting on that couch, I felt time extend infinitely backwards and forwards, with a sense of all the biggest of small moments in between. And it wasn’t just my mind: “Here” blew apart the confines of graphic narrative and expanded its universe in one incendiary flash, introducing a new dimension to visual narrative that radically departed from the traditional up-down and left-right reading of comic strips. And the structure was organic, nodding not only to the medium’s past but also hinting at its future." [The Guardian]

Digital comics | Having written about the freedom that digital comics gives him to read comics without having to store physical copies (or think of them as "collectible"), Shaun Huston now discusses another storage question -- which comics to save as digital downloads, rather than to entrust entirely to the cloud. [PopMatters]

Academia | University of California Riverside professor Suveen Mathaudhu, who has combined his expertise in materials science and his interest in superheroes to create a museum exhibit that combines the two, will receive the Norm Augustine Award for Outstanding Achievement in Engineering Communications for his work in bringing science to popular audiences. [UCR Today]

Retailing | Reporter Kelli Weldon profiles Tribe Comics and Games in South Austin, Texas, which opened in 2008 and recently moved to a larger location. [Community Impact]

Conventions | Coming up right after New Year's: Wizard World New Orleans, with comics artist Neal Adams among the guests. [Times-Picayune]

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