Comics A.M. | Was Snoopy behind the slow death of 'Peanuts'?

Comic strips | Reflecting on Charles M. Schulz's long-running Peanuts, Kevin Wong lays much of the blame for the comic strip's slow decline at the feet of the increasingly popular Snoopy: "[N]ear the end of the 60s and well into the 70s, the cracks started to show. Snoopy began walking on his hind legs and using his hands, and that was the beginning of the end for the strip. Perhaps he was technically still a dog, but in a very substantial way, Snoopy had overcome the principal struggle of his existence. His opposable thumbs and upward positioning meant that for all intents and purposes, he was now a human in a dog costume. One of his new roleplays was to be different Joes — Joe Cool, Joe Skateboard, etc." [Kotaku]

Awards | Human Rights Watch will award a Hellman Hammett grant to Malaysian cartoonist Zunar, who faces nine counts of sedition stemming from his political cartoons and tweets criticizing the Malaysian government. In addition to bringing an unprecedented number of sedition charges against the cartoonist, who could face up to 40 years in prison, the government has also banned five of his books. "I'm unable to sell my books openly and bookshop owners who sell my books have been warned that their business licenses could be revoked and had to resort online selling," Zunar said. "But the police went to company operating the online selling and asked them to release the names of all online customers. So I have to resort to selling my books like I'm selling drugs, but I will continue to sell them as there is demand, just like drugs." [The Malaysian Insider]

Plagiarism | Canadian political cartoonist Graeme MacKay had a Twitter battle with someone who was copying other people's editorial cartoons, deleting the artists' names, and replacing the words with new dialogue slamming Prime Minister Stephen Harper. MacKay reached out to several of the cartoonists whose work was repurposed and they also pushed back; the plagiarized cartoons have now been taken down. [The Daily Cartoonist]

Creators | In an interview for the radio program Fresh Air, Alison Bechdel explains that her career as an openly lesbian cartoonist creating comics about sexuality was a direct reaction to her father's secretiveness about being gay: "I threw myself into the gay community, into this life as a lesbian cartoonist, deciding I was going to be a professional lesbian. In a way, that was all my way of healing myself." [NPR]

Creators | Like his first graphic novel, Kashmir Pending, Malik Sajad's second book, Munnu, depicts the people of violence-wracked Kashmir. “I thought I would write this book 10 or 15 years from now," he said. "But from 2008-2010, many kids were killed in our neighborhood — I knew some of them. I went to study in London a year later, but I just couldn’t relate to the idea of ‘life expectancy’; sometimes you just feel guilty, especially when people younger than you die. Such tragic events push you to hurry up. Time becomes precious." The book was published in the United States by the HarperCollins imprint Fourth Estate. [The Indian Express]

Creators | Writer Scott Duvall describes his newly announced comic Narcopolis: Continuum as a "companion piece" to the British sci-fi movie Narcopolis: "Our goal was for the movie and the comic to each stand on their own. The movie is not required viewing to enjoy the comic, but if you’ve seen the movie, it will certainly enhance the experience as you’ll catch nods to it as we weave in and out of the movie’s plot." Ralf Singh is the artist for the comic, which will be published by Heavy Metal. [The Hollywood Reporter]

Creators | With a new arc of Phonogram just launching, writer Kieron Gillen is making the media rounds: Today's interview is a podcast chat about his career till now, the new issue of Phonogram, and what he's planning next. [Tripwire]

Creators | Jess Fink talks about her influences, her book We Can Fix It!, and what she's working on now. [Albany Times-Union]

Creators | Michael Dooley shares his list of the 21 best artists at Comic-Con International, chosen with a designer's eye. [Print]

Manga | Stacy King of Udon talks about the Manga Classics line, which she edits. [Comic Attack]

Conventions | There seems to be a new trend toward small, local comics conventions that set themselves up as the exact opposite of media-dominated cons, sort of like craft beers vs. Budweiser. The latest one is NEO Comic Con in North Ridgeville, Ohio, a one-day show in a Holiday Inn that will feature 18 creators, mostly local. Admission is $3, kids are free, and the show is exclusively comics with some movie stuff as well, including a visit from the 501st Star Wars Garrison. [The Chronicle-Telegram]

Conventions | Appleseed Comic Con is going on hiatus as organizer Zack Kruse moves on to other things. [Appleseed Con]

Conventions | Jim Shaw goes to Comic-Con with his 15-year-old daughter, which prompts a series of reflections about the way comics were versus the way they are now. [The Comics Journal]

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