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Comics A.M. | The comics Internet in two minutes

One Piece, Vol. 27

One Piece, Vol. 27

Publishing | Viz Media has confirmed that its public relations and design departments were among those affected by Tuesday’s layoffs. In a brief statement released yesterday, the company assured fans that, “We have no plans at this time for drastic measures such as product cancellations or business line closures. Your favorite series are not going away.”

Melinda Beasi, Simon Jones, Kai-Ming Cha and Lissa Pattillo provide more commentary. [Viz Media]

Legal | As a Belgian court decides whether to ban Tintin in the Congo because of racist content, Roger Bongos and Sebastian Rodriguez argue that Hergé’s book shouldn’t be censored but rather read and analyzed within the context of the era in which it was created. “You cannot deny however that the book is very discriminatory of black people,” Bongos writes. “Hergé wasn’t a racist person himself: he simply reflected the image the Western world had of the Congo and of Africa during those years, as well as the colonial aspirations of Belgians. In this sense, the book is kind of Proust’s ‘madeleine episode’ for us: it helps us remember our colonial history.” The court is expected to issue its ruling on May 31. [France 24]

CBLDF

CBLDF

Politics | The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund looks at the track record of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan on the First Amendment. [CBLDF]

Webcomics | I missed this as it was unfolding on Monday, but a software developer named Dale Zak released the Web Comics application through the iTunes App Store that picks up RSS feeds of webcomics. Many creators reacted quickly and angrily, leading Zak to change the app’s price from $1.99 to free before finally removing it altogether. Lauren Davis and Gary Tyrrell provide analysis. [Storming the Tower, Fleen]

Awards | The Asahi Shimbun profiles the winners of the 14th Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize. [Asahi.com]

Conventions | Cartoonist Evan Dorkin posts “a disjointed report” about last weekend’s Toronto Comics Art Festival. [Livejournal]

Retailing | Jeremy Shvetz spotlights The Phoenix comics store in Scarsdale, New York. [Scarsdale Patch]

DMZ #53

DMZ #53

Creators | Brian Wood talks about his Vertigo series DMZ, New York City and becoming a New Yorker: “I can’t remember at which point I considered myself a New Yorker, officially. Maybe after I graduated college? One of Matty’s defining characteristics is his endless struggle to ‘belong,’ and typically he is struggling too long and too hard and that’s where the mistakes come in. He earned the respect of the locals pretty early in the series, but he clearly doesn’t feel like he has. Maybe the true New Yorkers are the ones who don’t talk about it, who just get on with life and aren’t always trying to prove it to you.” [Gothamist]

Comics | David Colton briefly spotlights IDW Publishing’s upcoming True Blood miniseries. [USA Today]

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