Rory Root Dead at 50
Rory Root, visionary comics retailer and owner of the Berkeley, Calif., comics bookstore Comic Relief, died of complications from a hernia operation at an Oakland hospital May 19. He was 50. Root was a well known comics retailer and among the first to recognize that it was both necessary and inevitable that comics would be integrated into the general book market. Long before the present market for graphic novels, Root emphasized book format comics and reorganized his store and his selling practices to emphasize them. He was also a pioneer in reaching out to librarians—formerly openly hostile to comics—working closely with public library systems to assist a new generation of librarians in building collections and integrating comics of all kinds into the library system. Root and his store Comic Relief have been instrumental in establishing the comics category as an integral and substantive part of American educational and recreational reading. Over at PW The Beat, Heidi MacDonald has gathered responses to his death from around the web; and the Comics Reporter has published a detailed obituary.

Glyph Award Winners
The winners of the 2008 Glyph Comics Awards were announced on Friday May 16 at a ceremony at the East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention held in Philadelphia, Pa. May 16-17 on the campus of Temple University. Percey Carey’s Sentences: The Life of MF Grimm won Story of the Year; James Strum won Best Writer for Satchel Paige: Striking Out Jim Crow; and Kyle Baker won Best Artist. A full list of the winners can be seen at the Glyphs blog.

Atlas to Distribute Fanfare
U.K.-based nouvelle manga publisher Fanfare announced that it has a new deal with Atlas Book Distribution in Ashland, Ohio to distribute its titles to the book market. Fanfare publisher Stephen Robson said Atlas already has Fanfare’s backlist and forthcoming titles will be published in November. Robson also noted that titles from Fanfare’s Spanish publishing partner, Ponent Mon will also be added to its Atlas Distribution list in order to make them available to wider audience. Among the Fanfare titles to be distributed by Atlas are the 2008 Eisner Award nominee, The Ice Wanderer by Jiro Taniguchi, Tokyo Is My Garden by Frederic Boilet and Benoit Peeters and Disappearance Diary by Hideo Azuma.

Edwards Named Uclick CEO
Douglas Edwards has been named the CEO of Andrews McMeel Universal’s uclick division as of June 2, 2008. Uclick is a digital content provider of comics and games on the Internet and for mobile phones. Edwards was a co-founder of Handmark, which developed and distributed mobile media. More information can be found at the uclick website.

IDW on Mobile Phones
IDW Publishing has announced they will be offering their comics on mobile phones through uclick’s GoComics mobile comics service. This summer IDW will release three titles on mobile phones: The Thief of Always, Aleister Arcane, and The Claws Come Out. The comics will be available at GoComics' website or through the GoComics' Mobile Comics application. The Comics can be read for free with ads or they can be purchased.

Viz Movie News
Viz Media and National CineMedia’s Fathom are presenting Bleach the Movie: Memories of Nobody in over 300 movie theaters on June 11 and 12 at 7:30 PM. Tickets for the movie can be purchased at participating theaters and online at the Fathom website. Also, along with NCM Fathom Viz is presenting the live action Death Note movie on May 20 and 21 at 7:30 PM. To promote this event, Viz has partnered with retailing chain Hot Topic; customers who purchase a Death Note t-shirt or DVD in select stores will receive a free ticket to the film. More information about the movie, tickets and theaters can be found at the Death Note website. Viz has also announced the release of the live action Honey and Clover DVD. Honey and Clover, based on the manga by Chica Umino, is a romantic comedy about five art students. More information can be found at the Honey and Clover website.

William Elder Dies
William “Willie” Elder, a cartoonist and commercial illustrator for MAD magazine, died Thursday May 15. He was 86. Elder was hired by MAD magazine editor Harvey Kurtzman when the magazine was first launched in 1952. More information about Elder can be found at

Comics Slideshow Event
Dixon Place is holding an event, Carousel, which will feature a cartoon slide show presented by artists and performers. The event is hosted by R. Sikoryak, and other artists that will be present include Leela Corman, Brian Dewan, M. Sweeney Lawless, Jared Whitman, and Todd Alcott. The event will be held on Wednesday May 21st from 8 to 9:30 PM. Dixon Place is located at 258 Bowery between Houston and Prince on the second floor in New York City. Tickets are $12 and $10 for students and seniors. More information can be found at the Dixon Place website.