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

Conventions | The inaugural Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo drew an estimated 27,500 unique attendees, slightly less than the 30,000 expected. "We felt it was an excellent launch," Lance Fensterman, Reed Exhibitions vice president, told ICv2.com. "For the last year this show has been a theory. For the last three days people have been able to walk around and experience what the event, the concept, and the community are about, and now we can grow from here." Christopher Borelli, Brent DiCrescenzo and Heidi MacDonald file wrap-ups from the show. [C2E2]

Publishing | According to ICv2's annual white paper, presented during the Diamond Retailer Summit at C2E2, sales of comics and graphic novels in the United States and Canada fell 5 percent last year as the total market declined from an estimated $715 million in 2008 to $680 million in 2009. In the book channel, manga sales dropped by more than 20 percent, while sales of kids and young-adult graphic novels jumped by more than 50 percent. [ICv2.com]

Publishing | Checker's Mark Thompson has released a lengthy, and scathing, open letter detailing the grievances against Diamond and CEO Steve Geppi that led the publisher last month to cut ties with the distributor: "The total lack of transparency of Diamond’s internal financials in this economy is tantamount to Russian roulette. Financial bravado alone does not cut it anymore. These publicly filed and successful lawsuits against Diamond ownership and smatterings of financial information discussed with Diamond led us to believe that there are going to be substantial hurdles for Diamond going forward. We believe insurmountable hurdles in a climate of already conservative lending and spending. Checker could not justify continuing with Diamond to anyone with which we have a business relationship." [press release, via Journalista]

Digital comics | Apple CEO Steve Jobs has admitted the company made a mistake when it rejected an iPhone app from political cartoonist Mark Fiore, who last week won a Pulitzer Prize. Apple invited Fiore to re-submit the app. [Media Decoder, Media Decoder, Comic Riffs]

Conventions | Annie Burris and Michael Worthan report from Wizard World Anaheim Comic Con. [Wizard World Anaheim]

Awards | Callie Miller eyes the finalists in the graphic novel category of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Winners will be announced on Friday. [LAist]

History | An art historian unravels the mystery of a Superman painting that hangs in the library of Lehman College in New York: It turns out the painting, by H.J. Ward, is the first official portrait of the Man of Steel, commissioned to promote the Superman radio show. It had long adorned the office of Harry Donenfeld, owner of National Allied Publications (aka DC Comics), but disappeared after his retirement in 1957. [City Room]

Education | The Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art in Dover, New Jersey, get the spotlight. [The Record]

Comics | A look at pop stars who dip their toes into the comic-book pool. [Financial Times]

Comics | A woman who has "never really gotten into comic books" discovers Marvel's Pride & Prejudice adaptation. [Chip and Co.]

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