Comics A.M. | Tom Ziuko health update; women and comics

Creators | The Hero Initiative offers an update from colorist Tom Ziuko, who was hospitalized earlier this year for acute kidney failure and other health conditions, and then returned to the hospital for emergency surgery about a month ago. "I can't impress upon you enough how frightening it is to actually come up against a life-threatening medical situation (not to mention two times in less than a year), and not have the financial means to survive if you're suddenly not able to earn a living. Like so many other freelancers out there, I live paycheck to paycheck, unable to afford health insurance. Without an organization like the Hero Initiative to lend me support in this time of dire need, I truly don't know where I would be today," Ziuko said. [The Hero Initiative]

Publishing | CNN asks the question "Are women and comics risky business?" as Christian Sager talks to former DC editor Janelle Asselin, blogger Jill Pantozzi, Womanthology organizer Renae De Liz and others about the number of women who work in comics, the portrayal of female characters and why comic companies don't actively market books to women. "Think about it from the publisher's point of view," Asselin said. "Say you sell 90 percent of your comics to men between 18 and 35, and 10 percent of your comics to women in the same age group. Are you going to a) try to grow that 90 percent of your audience because you feel you already have the hook they want and you just need to get word out about it, or b) are you going to try to figure out what women want in their comics and do that to grow your line?" [CNN]

Publishing | ICv2 talks to Viz Media's Senior Vice President Alvin Lu and Japanese Shonen Jump editor Hisashi Sasaki about the publisher's decision to take the American version of Shonen Jump to digital — despite having a print circulation of 125,000, which is pretty good nowadays. [ICv2]

Retailing | Tony Barry and Jared Whittaker of Superfly Comics and Games in Yellow Spring, Ohio discuss why they didn't exhibit at this past weekend's Wizard World Mid-Ohio Con, as well as the interactions with convention organizers that eventually led them to file a Better Business Bureau complaint. [Panels on Pages, via The Beat]

Retailing | ComicsPRO, the trade association for direct-market retailers, will hold its 2012 annual meeting Feb. 9-11 at  the DoubleTree Hotel in Dallas. [ICv2]

Crime | Manga creator Moto Hagio reports that some drawings purporting to be hers that were sold in an online auction were in fact forgeries. [Anime News Network]

Creators | Co-writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray discuss their work on DC's All-Star Western and how the attention around the New 52 has brought them new readers: "Some people just say automatically, 'Well, I don't like Westerns. I don't like history,'" Palmiotti said. "And we have a lot of those same people coming up to us and saying, 'I would have never read a Jonah Hex book but I gave this one a shot.' We knew we had one chance to get the readers involved, and it looks like it turned out pretty well." [USA Today]

Creators | Robot 6 contributor Matt Seneca chats with Gary Panter about his new book The Land Unknown, among many other topics. [The Comics Journal]

Comics | David Brothers takes issue with the marketing tactics used by comics publishers (DC and Marvel, for the most part), including blacked-out covers and holding back on details of stories or the creative team. He ends on an up note, though, with an example of marketing that works. [4thletter!]

Analysis | The Drifting Classroom: Formulaic horror story or expose of parent-child relations in postwar Japan? Noah Berlatsky lays out an argument for the latter as part of a roundtable on Kazuo Umezu's story of schoolchildren whisked away into a threatening wasteland. [The Hooded Utilitarian]

Reviews | David Anderson declares Philip Gelatt and Tyler Cook's Petrograd "the best way to learn history." [Spandexless]

Visuals | J. L. Bell points out a particularly nice panel by George Perez from New Teen Titans: Games that features a fight in the Guggenheim Museum, which is a brilliant setting. The paintings are all wrong, though. [Oz and Ends]

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