Comics A.M. | Two graphic novels crack Costa Book Awards shortlist

Awards | Graphic novels for the first time have made the shortlist for the Costa Book Awards (formerly the Whitbread Awards): Mary and Bryan Talbot's Dotter of Her Father's Eyes in the Biography category, and Days of the Bagnold Summer by Joff Winterhart in the Novel category. [The Guardian]

Passings | Indian politician and former editorial cartoonist Bal Thackeray has died at the age of 86; Thackeray was in the news most recently supporting fellow cartoonist Aseem Trivedi, who was jailed briefly on charges of sedition. [The Comics Reporter]

Awards | The Australian Cartoonists Association has bestowed their highest honor, the Gold Stanley Award, on David Pope, cartoonist for The Canberra Times. [The Canberra Times]

Digital comics | Julian Burgess, who did the coding for The Guardian's online comic about the U.S. elections, explains how the magic was made. [The Guardian]

Libraries | Librarians at Kansas State University Salina and Kansas Wesleyan University teamed up with student Greg Charland to create a graphic novel about library skills, featuring ninjas. The booklet, which was heavily promoted by both universities, was a hit, and students' library research skills are better than ever (although whether because of the graphic novel or some other factor isn't clear. [Library Journal]

Retailing | Russ Burlingame interviews Arlene Spizman, owner of The Comics Shop in Oswego, New York, which just celebrated its 20th anniversary. Spizman was moved to open the store by the success of DC's "Death of Superman" event in early 1992. [Comicbook.com]

Gift guide | Charlie Jane Anders recommends some graphic novels for people who don't usually read graphic novels, and the readers chime in with more in the comments section. [io9]

Creators | Writer Ed Brisson and artist Michael Walsh discuss their new Image series Comeback, about a shady time-travel service that fetches dead people back from the past—before they died. But there's a catch, Brisson says: "If time travel is illegal, you can't bring someone back from the past and just carry on as you were. In Comeback, people have to go and live a witness protection-style life once reunited — new home, new life and no connections to their past. Giving up your past in order to preserve part of it." [USA Today]

Creators | Writer Kathryn Immonen is looking forward to developing stories about Sif, a longtime supporting character in Thor who is finally stepping into the limelight in Journey into Mystery: "Sif's got her origin story, but beyond that she's really kind of a blank slate aside from the broad strokes of her personality. It's thrilling that the real estate has been put aside to develop her character in a way that hasn't really been done before." [USA Today]

Creators | Gabrielle Bell, whose new book The Voyeurs is just out, talks about why she chose comics over prose, why she favors memoir, and how she makes her creative choices. [The Morton Report]

Creators | The local paper chats with graphic novelist Dan Cooney, the creator of Valentine, who has a new how-to book out. "The market has grown by offering comics and novels that respect and appeal to women, according to Mr. Cooney. 'This business has been traditionally male-dominated and women were represented as sex objects, but that's changing,' he said, noting also that Valentine, his graphic novel heroine, is willowy and mostly fully clothed. She relies on her skill and intelligence to win." Cooney is currently working on Tommy Gun Dolls, the story of a group of Prohibition-era burlesque queens who moonlight as bank robbers. [The Martha's Vineyard Times]

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