Comics A.M. | U.K. publisher Great Beast to close

Publishing | The British independent publisher Great Beast, which has released the work of Dan Berry, Marc Ellerby and Isabel Greenberg, among others, will close on Jan. 7. Founded in 2012 by Ellerby and Adam Cadwell, the publisher was something of a victim of its own success, as Cadwell explains: "As the group got bigger, as the books became more successful and as we widened the range of shops we sold to there became more of a need for the management and promotion to come from one or two people and Marc Ellerby and I (Adam Cadwell) happily took up that role. However, as time went on we found that the time spent working for the benefit of the group was getting in the way of us actually making our own comics, which is why we started the group in the first place… We looked at many ways of monetising the group so we could pay someone to run things whilst still giving the creators the bulk of the profits but we just couldn’t find a fair way to make it work." [Great Beast Blog]

Publishing | Who prints the comics — and why are publishers and printers so reluctant to talk about it? Reed Beebe investigates. [Nothing But Comics]

Publishing | All Things Considered looks at the 75-year history of Marvel Comics, including an interview with Stan Lee. [NPR]

Creators | Blacksad writer Juan Díaz Canales and artist Juanjo Guarnido explain how they created a story set in the United States in the 1950s, despite having never been there, and why they chose to portray all the characters as animals. "It was a narrative experiment to mix a noir story, which is very modern, and the fable, which is as old as human oral tradition," Guarnido said. [PRI]

Creators | Dylan Horrocks talks about finding his own voice as a creator again, after feeling that he lost it after a stint at DC Comics. His latest graphic novel, Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen, is about his quest to regain that lost voice. [Newswire.co.nz]

Manga | Viz Media has "rescued" three series previously licensed by Tokyopop and is publishing them digitally; this is something Viz has been doing for a while, but what makes this announcement notable is that one of the series is the very popular Sgt. Frog. [Anime News Network]

Best of the year | Chris Taylor dubs the Saga Deluxe Edition,collecting the first 18 issues of Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples' hit space opera, as "the must-have graphic novel of 2014." [Mashable]

Commentary | As an exhibit of Archie Comics Co-CEO Nancy Silberkleit's personal collection of Archie memorabilia is about to open at a library in Charleston, South Carolina, Maria Martin meditates on her childhood love of Archie and why she still likes the comics today: "I like to keep up with Archie comics the way I like to stay Facebook friends with people I don't like — to watch them evolve. I like when their new self contradicts their old self. I like that it is all documented. In the same way, it's interesting to watch as the Archie series tries to adapt and remain relevant. Betty and Veronica can't reconcile their friendship and move forward as women who want each other to grow and succeed, because to do that, the series would have to abandon most of what we know of the two characters. As the writers of Archie struggle to drag the gang into the 21st century, they have begun producing new stories with possible future scenarios for Archie and friends." [Charleston City Paper]

Events | Three creators, Stuart Sayger, Gavin Smith and Jackie Crofts, and 10 "challenge artists" spent the day working on their comics at Nickel Plate Arts in Noblesville, Indiana, and attendees were invited to contribute to a collaborative comic that will be published digitally and in print. [Current in Noblesville]

Conventions | Omaha, Nebraska, will get its own convention in 2015, the O Comic Con. Several entertainment guests have already been announced (including an actor from the original Star Trek), and there will be about a dozen comics creators on hand as well. While comics culture has apparently been slow to take hold in Omaha, the three organizers of the con were inspired by the fact that the anime con Anime NebrasKon drew 6,000 attendees. [Omaha World-Herald]

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