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

Publishing | Citing frustrations over fulfillment, warehousing and invoicing issues, Checker Book Publishing Group reportedly has ended its exclusive book market agreement with Diamond Book Distributors. Simon Jones reports that Checker Publisher Mark Thompson made the announcement in a series of "strongly-worded posts" in a private online industry forum (Thompson apparently granted permission for the information to be reposted). Repeated attempts to contact Checker by phone this morning were unsuccessful.

The Dayton, Ohio-based publisher signed exclusively with Diamond in November 2003, expanding on an agreement made the previous year. Checker's problems with the distributor apparently arose over the past 1 1/2 years. According to Jones' post, "Outstanding canceled orders of Checker’s books are allegedly in excess of $250,000 in retail value." Jones has more details. [Icarus Publishing]

Publishing | The 57th volume of Eiichiro Oda's insanely popular comedy-adventure series One Piece has sold 2 million copies in Japan in just two weeks, the fastest time ever for a manga to reach that milestone (it took the previous volume six weeks to sell 2 million). What's more, publisher Shueisha has printed more than 3 million copies of the 57th volume, surpassing the 2.85 million copies last year for the 56th volume of One Piece and the 2.9 million copies in 2004 by Say-zan-sha Publications for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

Meanwhile, David Welsh and the Reverse Thieves consider why One Piece isn't the runaway hit in the United States that it is in Japan. [The Mainichi Daily News]

Legal | Brooks Barnes and Michael Cieply delve into the legal battle between the children of Jack Kirby and Marvel/Disney. It's a good read that's part overview of what's at stake, part profile of Kirby family attorney Marc Toberoff. There's also confirmation that Mark Evanier and Stan Lee expect to be called as witnesses. [The New York Times]

Conventions | Hugo Martín takes another look at efforts by Anaheim and Los Angeles to lure Comic-Con International away from San Diego. [Los Angeles Times]

Retailing | In its quarterly report, Texas-based retail chain Hastings Entertainment, which sells new and used books, videos and video games, notes that it plans to expand its comics category. "We tested this in two stores during fiscal 2009 with strong results," CEO John Marmaduke said in a statement. "We will be further expanding this to twenty existing stores by the end of the second quarter." Hastings has 153 locations in 21 states. [press release]

Creators | Fantasy author Jane Yolen discusses her graphic novel Foiled. [Graphic Novel Reporter]

Creators | Jeff Parker and Tom Fowler talk about their Wildstorm miniseries Mysterius the Unfathomable. [Underwire]

Creators | Brian Heater continues his multi-part interview with Bill Ayers. [The Daily Cross Hatch]

Creators | Here's an audio interview with cartoonist Erika Moen recorded at Emerald City ComiCon. [Stumptown Trade Review]

Creators | Matt Price celebrates the 48th birthday of Mark Waid by listing his 10 favorite Waid-written comics collections. [Nerdage]

Craft | D'Israeli walks through the process for a "Stickleback" cover for 2000AD. [D'Blog of 'Israeli]

Craft | Writer Cullen Bunn shares the story overview from a rejected comics proposal. [Cullen Bunn]

EXCL.: Tales from the Dark Multiverse: Knightfall Promises a New DC Crisis

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