§ It turns out that Barack Obama and Britney Spears ranked highest on Yahoo’s most searched for names list, but Naruto cracked the Top Ten, along with various starlets and geek staples WWE and RuneScape.

§ Political writer Spencer Ackerman looks at Secret Invasion and finds the premise poorly served:

Most importantly, the main Secret Invasion book is disappointingly executed, particularly considering that Brian Michael Bendis writes it. The very first page promises that Bendis explore the religious aspect of the invasion as a central motif, as does the Embrace Change website and (to a lesser extent) Twitter feed. And yet, for the first three issues, all you get is the occasional invocation that the Skrull god loves humanity; there’s a prophesy for the earth to become the Skrull throneworld; and the Skrulls fight for that prophesy. It’s classic tell-don’t-show.

[Link via Sean Collins]

§ The Motley Fool’s Tim Beyers always capers like a pup over Marvel’s movie moves, so this dissing on DC over Batman’s “comic book death” seems a bit, well, partisan:

Not only has this “event” been publicized in an eight-month story arc titled “Batman: R.I.P.,” but now we’re told it’s a fake death of a fictional character we like to pretend could be real? Sheesh.

Contrast that with how Marvel Entertainment (NYSE: MVL) killed Captain America in the comics. Few saw it coming. Targeted press leaks made days before the issue hit newsstands led to massive buzz and, consequently, sellouts at comic stores across the country.

Has this man ever read actual comic books?

Gus Cov Rgb§ Michael C. Lorah interviews French cartooning star Chris Blain about his new (to these shores) GUS AND HIS GANG:

My characters discover themselves in their love stories. It’s how the world works. You learn more about yourself each time you love and peculiarly when you suffer – when the story is strange or when it’s complicated. In each case, you are always surprised. You could not have imagined the things that happened and the things you learned.

§ Brian Heater catches up with Tom Spurgeon for The Year in Review Pt. 1 [of 2]:

Newspapers folding, newspapers shedding staff. In the past year, I think it’s something like 20-30 full-time newspaper editorial cartoonist positions have been lost, which is about a quarter of what were remaining from a once proud tradition of every town having an editorial cartoonist on staff. Now it might be as low as 55 or 60 newspapers that have that kind of position and that kind of voice. It’s kind of been a weird year. You mentioned the Obama New Yorker cartoon, and I think what’s kind of interesting is that that was really the most memorable cartoon to come out of this historical election. And you can almost argue that editorial cartoonists as a group didn’t really show for themselves very well in this historical election year.

§ Heater also reports from the KGB Bar Comix Reading on Sunday, which has apparently gotten too big for its venue:

It was standing room only on Sunday night—or kneeling, rather, as audience members contorted bodies around the projector’s beam cutting through the center of the room. The consensus, it seems, amongst nearly everyone packed into KGB Bar on Manhattan’s East 4th st. was that the bi-annual comics event had finally outgrown its old home amongst the strangely homey décor of Soviet-era Russian memorabilia lining the walls.

§ We missed Tucker Stone’s comprehensive write-up on MoCCA’s Euro-tooner event:

While Igort discussed both with an equal amount of focus, his excitement for the Japanese portions was palpable—dropping unexplained words like “satori” (a Japanese Buddhist term commonly used in Zen to describe enlightenment) as well as discussing the differences between the way his work is colored in their Japanese and American publications—at times it was difficult to keep up.

Still, even his throwaway mention of his desire to work in duotone instead of color or his desire to publish more “mute” cartoon sequences made it clear that this was a cartoonist that takes his work incredibly seriously, and it was hard not to find that inspiring. He’d opened by saying he believed that we are in a new golden age of graphic novels. By the end of his too-short talk, it was obvious why.

§ Geoff Boucher talks to Neil Gaiman about…surprise–Sandman!

It was another six or seven years before I could get DC Comics to agree that it would stop the “Sandman” monthly comic book when I stopped. Again, it simply wasn’t heard of. Batman didn’t stop when Bob Kane or Bill Finger stopped doing it. “Fantastic Four” didn’t stop when Stan Lee stopped writing it. That simply wasn’t how comic books worked. There were so many ways that I was wandering around as a guinea pig. I was also very, very pragmatic about existing in a world in which everything was disposable. That was the joy of comics, wasn’t it? Nobody was doing their PhD on me back then. Nobody was publishing books on symbolism in “The Sandman.” All of this, it has been wonderful and baffling and inspiring.

§ Even New Zealand cartoonist Dylan Horrocks is getting in on the BATMAN RIP commentary via a radio show.

In case anyone wants to hear it, here’s me talking on Radio New Zealand National’s The Panel about Batman RIP, which I freely admit I haven’t read (and probably never will). Don’t get me wrong – Grant Morrison is great, and I wish him and everyone else involved all the best. But truth be told, I have no patience for these silly media events any more…