Comics A.M. | 'Valerian' creator on (possibly) influencing 'Star Wars'

Creators | Pierre Christin, the creator of Valerian and Laureline, discusses the possibility that his space opera was a source for the Star Wars movies — and how he and his collaborator Jean-Claude Mézières changed the story to move it away from the Star Wars universe: "I instantly felt connected with Star Wars because of the number of intersections and parallels with our comic strips. George Lucas had created complex worlds, just as we had. Like us, he had staged the functioning of societies from within, although Star Wars focused perhaps a bit more on the struggle between good and evil. In this respect, Valerian was more European, more intellectual." [EuropeComics]

Publishing | As First Second Books prepares to celebrate its 10th anniversary, Cory Doctorow (who wrote the graphic novel In Real Life) talks to the staff about how they produce those beautiful books, how they match up writers and artists, and what French books they won't be publishing in the United States. [Boing Boing]

Publishing | Spike Trotman discusses her two current projects, the latest Smut Peddler anthology, published by her own company Iron Circus, and her graphic biography of singer Josephine Baker, which will be released by First Second. [Paste]

Creators | Artist Johnnie Christmas discusses his collaboration with novelist Margaret Atwood on her comic Angel Catbird. [The Globe and Mail]

Creators | Writer Si Spurrier talks about his new series Cry Havoc: "It's about a woman trying to live a normal life, but she's not. She's infected by a sliver of chaos, an idea, something which kicks her out of her nice, neat, domestic little life. Over time it digs up all this stuff that, if she would admit it to herself, has been bubbling away under there all along. And then, of course, we take this absolute batshit twist and send her off to Afghanistan." The story is told with an unusual structure, and three different colorists work on different parts of the series. [Vulture]

Creators | Writer Tom King went from the CIA to comics, but he says his work on counterterrorism was just a side trip — he really wanted to write comics all along. His favorite part of writing: "I always think of Die Hard for some reason, that moment he grabs the gun and says, 'Yippee ki-yay' — I feel like my job is to create those moments, where you create enough quiet and then you turn the tension up and you create something loud and it gets that adrenaline going. ’Cause you can’t just write at 11 all the time or else it just sounds like noise." [The Washington Post]

Creators | Former comics teacher Otto Fong has created a series of comics explaining advanced science concepts to children; his latest is The Quantum Bunny. Beyond hard facts, the Singapore-based creator says, "The comic addresses the issues that school teachers are unable to in class, for example, 'why we are studying science' and 'what ethical issues are involved.'" [Straits Times]

Creators | Finbar Mallon has created a superhero with schizophrenia to counter the popular stereotypes of mental illness: "It seems almost every schizophrenic character in popular culture is a misrepresentation, as they are either portrayed as evil or psychopathic or the condition is wrongfully associated with having split personalities. I used to work in a psychiatric hospital and both there and outside I have known many brilliant schizophrenic people who I feel are being grossly misrepresented, and that is reflected in people's attitudes and behaviours. They are much more likely to be victims of violent crime than the perpetrators, for example." [Dorking and Leatherhead Advisor]

Retailing | A comic shop is taking over from not one but two stores in the Center Street Promenade in Anaheim, California. Pop! Comics had a soft opening this week in a space formerly occupied by a gift shop, and next month it will expand to take over the former cigar store next door. [The Orange County Register]

Festivals | Can't make it to France for the Angouleme International Comics Festival? Check out Jen Vaughn's sketchbook. [Mental Floss]

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