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Diamond Book Distributors

Diamond Book Distributors

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]

One Piece, Vol. 57

One Piece, Vol. 57

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]

The Incredible Hulk #1

The Incredible Hulk #1

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]

Mysterius the Unfathomable

Mysterius the Unfathomable

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]



I can say why One Piece isn’t the same (mind-boggling) hit on the West (where it is regularly outsold by Naruto – a much inferior manga – pretty much everywhere you look) than in Japan: It doesn’t look like a (stereotypical) manga!

The “weird” artwork puts off a lot of people (not me, I love it!) used to more conventional manga styling.

Sad but true.

Hunter (Pedro Bouça)

My guess is in Western countries, pirates aren’t as interesting as ninjas. Ninjas are more exotic. Plus the story of Naruto starts with a love story, something that a lot of teenagers like. One Piece’s story, on the other hand, appeals to a wider audience from a great age range.

And there’s also the artwork. I’ve recommended One Piece to many people, but some were repulsed by the artwork. They’re missing a great manga.

Never read One Piece before, but I just found the first volume online and started reading it. I don’t see what’s so off-putting about the artwork. It looks more like an episode of Dragonball Z than a traditional manga, but I don’t see why that would drive away Western audiences.

“There’s also confirmation that Mark Evanier and Stan Lee expect to be called as witnesses.”

The million-dollar question is, what about Steve?

From what I gather (and please correct me if I’m wrong), he wasn’t pleased with Kirby’s co-creator claim on Spider-Man, so it would seem he’d be a natural ally for Marvel in this.

He also believes, at least according to conventional wisdom, that Spider-Man was work-for-hire, which would bolster Marvel’s claims against the Kirbys. However, Kurt Busiek posted awhile back saying that Ditko felt Marvel hadn’t lived up to its end of the agreement and had cheated him out of decades’ worth of royalties — in which case, even if he denied the Kirbys’ claim to Spider-Man, he would likely bolster their claims to the other characters in question.

Okay, I’ve read a good bit of One Piece now, and I definitely don’t think it’s the art. It’s the translation. It’s terrible. It had to be translated by someone who barely speaks English.

One Piece is much superior to Naruto? They are both fairly common shonen manga. Naruto is drawn a bit better and I care more about the characters, but they are basically the same shit.

Curious… Diamond Book Distributors dropped Checker Books last December, with returns not accepted after June 2010. Given that the latest Checker title in Books In Print was dated September 2009, I wonder how viable the company is.

As for Steve Ditko, some sources claim that he redrew/re-purposed an old Simon/Kirby proposal known as Spiderman/Silver Spider on orders from Stan Lee. If Ditko testifies, it could be a repeat of the Eisner/Wonderman suit. Does Marvel give Ditko any creator renumeration?

Dear Torsten,

One correction to this post. Checker canceled Diamond orders not the other way around. We were unaware that members of this website were trying to contact us. We will call into them.

Mark Thompson
Checker BPG

@Torsten: yeah, that’s the Kirbys’ argument, and generally acknowledged as truth — but the crux is that Ditko’s version bore very little resemblance to Kirby’s. I’d be curious what percentage, if any, the judge thinks the Kirbys are entitled to.

“One Piece is much superior to Naruto? They are both fairly common shonen manga. Naruto is drawn a bit better and I care more about the characters, but they are basically the same shit.”

One Piece is more imaginative, better drawn (albeit in an unorthodox style) and has much more interesting characters. Of course, that’s my personal opinion. It is true that both are fairly common shonen manga, but I think One Piece is superior in craftmanship.

Do note that quality doesn’t have much to do with sales. There are many manga out there better than either of them that have very low sales.

For those who commented, bad translation wouldn’t be an issue on EVERY western country, so that’s not what is keeping OP down on the west by itself. Also, pirate comics are fairly popular in Europe (at least much more than ninja comics not named Naruto!), yet One Piece is still outsold by Naruto there.

It’s the art style, I can’t find another reason.

Hunter (Pedro Bouça)

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