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Comics A.M. | Warner Bros. plans buyouts, possible layoffs

by  in Comic News Comment
Comics A.M. | Warner Bros. plans buyouts, possible layoffs

Business | DC Entertainment parent company Warner Bros. is expected to offer buyouts to an unspecified number of employees as part of an effort to increase profits following a disappointing summer at the box office. The cuts are thought to be spread across the film, television and home entertainment units; if not enough workers accept buyouts, unnamed sources contend the studio may resort to layoffs. Warner Bros. wouldn’t comment on the report. [Bloomberg]

Legal | Hirofumi Watanabe has filed an appeal in Tokyo District Court, seeking to overturn his conviction on charges of sending threatening letters to venues and retailers linked to the Kuroko’s Basketball manga and anime series. Watanabe admitted to all the charges on his first day in court, and after he was sentenced to four and a half years in prison, he said, “I’m glad to accept the ruling so I can live over four years in prison,” so this is a reversal for him. [Anime News Network]

Retailing | Part of the roof of Collectible Treasures in Farmington, Michigan, collapsed Monday night during heavy rains, causing an estimated $15,000 to $17,000 worth of damage to the store’s inventory. [MyFoxDetroit.com]

Legal | A Taiwanese newspaper has more details on cartoonist Wang Liming, who has been criticized in the official Chinese media as a “pro-Japanese traitor”: His Chinese social media accounts have been suspended, access to his online store has been blocked, and he has decided to remain in Japan, where he has been visiting since May. Liming, who uses the pen name Biantai Lajiao, is apparently still able to use Twitter, and is responding by drawing a series of cartoons about Chinese-Japanese friendship. [Want China Times]

Comics | Francoise Mouly, who in 2008 launched the Toon Books line of comics for early readers, has a new imprint, Toon Graphics, featuring comics for older readers (ages eight and up). Mouly thinks comics are ideal for learning: “You don’t have to explain to a child how to look at cartoons,” she says. “You don’t have to tell a kid how to find Waldo, for example. They do this much better than adults, because they pay attention to details and are used to processing information to extract meaning out of it. That’s how they make sense of the world, and comics are good diagrams for how to extract meaning from print.” But Timothy Shanahan, distinguished professor emeritus of urban education at the University of Illinois at Chicago, begs to differ: “If a youngster spends an hour reading a comic and an hour reading a book, they’re probably processing a lot more words when they’re reading a book. It’s not that comics are bad, it’s what they might replace.” [The New York Times]

Creators | Randall Munroe, creator of xkcd, talks about making comics, writing code that sometimes turns into comics, and how he ended up doing exactly what he likes to do: “One of my advisors when I was an undergraduate, the chairman of the physics department, said, ‘If you’re going to go on here, then you need to specialize. You need to pick out something and focus on it than for more than a little bit. You can’t just work on a problem, get a little bit of an answer, and then go on to the next one.’ But in a roundabout way, I found one of the few ways to do exactly that.” [Rolling Stone]

Creators | Cece Bell’s husband Tom not only encouraged her to study art, he worked two jobs to help her finish art school. Now she’s the author and illustrator of a number of children’s books as well as El Deafo, a graphic novel about growing up Deaf. (Fun fact: Tom is the author of the Origami Yoda books.) [Kindle Post]

Creators | Johnny Ryan talks about the cartoon of Prison Pit in an interview that is best described as irreverent. [Vice]

Creators | Editorial cartoonist and racing fan Bob Englehart created a graphic novel about short-track racing, Trackrat: Memoir of a Fan, to help him come to grips with the 2008 death of racer Shane Hammond, which he witnessed. [Middletown Press]

Political cartoons | Syrian cartoonist Ali Ferzat, whose hands were broken by the secret police of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, discusses his latest cartoon, in which he criticizes President Obama’s lack of direct action against ISIS in Syria. [Buzzfeed]

Awards | Nate Beeler, cartoonist for the Columbus Dispatch, has won the John Fischetti Award, which given for a single cartoon. In this case, it was for Beeler’s drawing of the Statue of Liberty and Justice kissing after the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act. [The Daily Cartoonist]

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