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Old 06-05-2020, 05:22 PM   #1
Hypo
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Default DC Cuts Ties with Diamond

THR: DC Cuts Ties with Diamond Comic Distributors
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DC has cut ties with Diamond Comics Distributors, THR can confirm.

The announcement was made via an email to retailers sent Friday morning, with the company telling customers that all orders for DC product will be fulfilled by Lunar Distribution and UCS Comic Distributors for periodical releases and Penguin Random House for graphic novels and collected editions starting later this month.

An email sent to retailers explained, “We recognize that, to many of you, this may seem like a momentous decision. However, we can assure you that this change in DC's distribution plans has not been made lightly and follows a long period of thought and consideration. The change of direction is in line with DC's overall strategic vision intended to improve the health of, and strengthen, the Direct Market as well as grow the number of fans who read comics worldwide.”

The message continued, “In the near term, Diamond will only be fulfilling orders placed through June 1 Final Order Cut-Off and will not solicit the sale of new DC titles further. To ensure a smooth transition for retailers, DC will suspend Final Order Cut-Off for June 8, making those books available to order on Final Order Cut-Off on June 15.”

A spokesperson from DC told THR, “After 25 years, DC and Diamond Comic Distributors are ending their long-standing relationship. Moving forward, comic book retailers can obtain their DC books from Penguin Random House, or their books and periodicals through Lunar or UCS comic book distributors. DC continues to be committed to providing the Direct Market with best in class service and the fans with the world’s greatest comic books.”
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Old 06-05-2020, 06:54 PM   #2
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I feel like this is a good thing. I've long felt that Diamond's apparent monopoly on modern comic distribution has been a detriment to stores, especially the smaller shops. Hopefully this will help them both with the price of future DC comics, and those from publishers still with Diamond. Furthermore, with trades being handled by Penguin, I'd wager that book stores and super stores will begin having larger selections of comics, which is promising in terms of potential sales numbers.
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Old 06-05-2020, 07:13 PM   #3
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Yeah, only problem is that I now have to pay for shipping twice. Once for Diamond's freight company, once for DC.
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Old 06-05-2020, 07:42 PM   #4
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It'll make sales charting more tricky too. We'll see if it affects solicitations.
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Old 06-06-2020, 12:56 PM   #5
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Bleeding Cool: Stagnant DC Sales, Diamond Plans and What Happens Next – The Gossip
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But why is any of this happening at all? The gossip is that Pamela Lifford, President of Warner Bros. Consumer Products has no love for DC Comics monthly comic books. The belief from some is that they cost too much to make, they take up too much editorial and production time, everything is rushed to deadline which means the urgent often trumps the important decisions being made and – they bring in too little money, compared everything else they do. Don't get them wrong, they still make money, just not as much as all that prime Burbank real estate could make.

Instead, the gossip is that DC will focus on,, and rapidly expand, their original graphic novels line and the bookstore market, book fairs, libraries, Walmart – and they may keep the Walmart 100-page giant comics. They've already cancelled them for the direct market through Diamond. And for easy, cheap serialisation, they have digital already.

Its been notable that the bookstore market for comics has been rapidly growing for a different, younger, more female market. Scholastic book fairs and the like have seen Dav Pilkey and Raina Telegemeier sell millions and more and more graphic novels being signed up for the kids, middle grand and YA market. DC has had commercial and critical success in this market, the Titans OGNs rising up the bookstore sales charts and Harley Quinn grabbing all the Eisner nominations. And, hey, comic book stores can sell those DC books instead.

Graphic novels have a more forgiving timeframe than monthly serialised comic books. They are prepared and produced longer in advance, there's less of a rush to production, it's just a more pleasant environment all round. No events, no variants, just… comics. Now, this is just gossip right now, but it's from high levels in the industry. I'll see what shakes out over the weekend.

Including whatever it is that Diamond does now. What if Diamond decides to no longer distribute to Midtown Comics and DCBS now that they, as UCS and Lunar, are direct competitors and taking away DC product entirely? Why shouldn't Diamond take away their Marvel, Image, Boom, IDW and Dark Horse? What then? Let's face it folks, we are deep into the New Distributor Wars of 2020.

Then there's another benefit for DC – no longer having their sales compared to those of Marvel Comics. They are usually second, the optics look awful, and I am told that it is always DC Comics calling up Diamond before publicly sales data is released to get it tweaked. Now there will be no way to compare aside from bookstore sales data – where DC traditionally do stronger. The only direct market chart that measures DC against Marvel – will be Bleeding Cool's very own Bestseller Chart. That, right now, is it.

Oh yes, and DC Comics deciding to announce this on a Friday, is intentional in the hope that aggrieved retailers may have a weekend to calm down before DC feels they may have to respond. It's a common tactic. But I can't see many calming down. Because while so many would have been just as aggrieved whenever this was announced, to do this in the middle of a pandemic and a national crisis, is going to hurt retailers who have to pay the added shipping and freight from dealing with multiple distributors. Diamond, already having to deal with the shutdown, may have to raise prices to survive after losing their second-biggest vendor. The direct market was starting to ramp back up again… when this happened. This may have been a time for unity, but instead has literally brought division. Wars have winners and losers and a lot of collateral damage. To do this to the direct market at its lowest point arguably ever seems not only poorly conceived but extremely foolhardy. The current global and national crises have been used as an excuse for DC Comics to try and grab a bigger piece of the pie., and the ripples will travel across the pond. By pond, I mean the Atlantic Ocean.

Currently, UK stores are being told to use Lunar or UCS for monthly comics. There is a really big problem here. Diamond has Diamond UK, a British hub and warehouse near Manchester Airport that gets comics and other products in and then distributes to stores across the British Isles and Europe. This manages to bring massively costs of international shipping down to a manageable level. Neither UCS or Lunar have such a hub in Europe, and have no plans to make such an option. Instead, UCS and Lunar ship individual packages to individual stores in the UK. The costs of this are pretty insane. One store told me that instead of getting (for example) 50% off cover price on DC Comics titles from Diamond UK, they now have to pay over the cover price when they add shipping. Which means that, for UK customers, the cost of DC Comics titles are going have to double. While Marvel, Dark Horse, Boom, Image, IDW and the rest still distributed by Diamond and everyone else, will stay the same. So what comics as a Brit will you choose to buy?

The UK makes up around 10-15% of Diamond's marketshare, but DC Comics gets a larger share. DC has over the years done pretty well getting British people to like DC stuff. Enough to want to work for them when they grew up. Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, Garth Ennis, David Lloyd, Warren Ellis, Grant Morrison, Steve Dillon, Mark Millar, Frank Quitely, Brian Bolland, Alan Davis, Mike Carey, Paul Cornell, Rob Williams, Si Spurrier, Aaron Campbell, Ram V, many more. Now British comic stores are going to have to reduce what DC Comics titles they sell as fewer people will buy them. Oh and we still can't get DC Universe here. That link from the US to the UK that has profited DC well over the years is about to go away.

I have e-mails in with UCS and Lumar asking if they have any way to match what Diamond UK was able to offer British stores. And to Diamond asking 'what the hell?' I'll tell you if I hear anything. But it feels like this could be The Nail. You know, like the one that Alan Davis wrote and drew.
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Old 06-06-2020, 01:34 PM   #6
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I want to simultaneously puke, cry, scream and destroy something.
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Old 06-06-2020, 09:56 PM   #7
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I'm following all of this news pretty closely, so I wasn't really surprised yesterday when I was driving and heard the news break on youtube. This is going to cause an avalanche of consequences for many parties, both unintentional and intentional.
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Old 06-07-2020, 03:59 PM   #8
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Comic book retailers unite in shock and anger over DC split with Diamond
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Direct Market comic book retailers polled by Newsarama are stunned by the sudden move by DC to sever ties with Diamond Comics Distributors, the company who distributes the vast majority of comic books to stores.

DC has chosen to instead sell their books through the distribution network they set up and announced in April 2020 during the COVID-19 crisis that shut down Diamond’s network — leaving stores no choice but to buy from two of their competitors for DC titles.

"It was a nice gut punch after we just reopened our doors for the first time in two months," said J.C. Glindmyer, owner of Earthworld Comics in Albany, N.Y. of Friday's surprise news. "As most retailers, I’m not going to cut off my nose to spite my face, I’ll order for my regulars, the minimum for racks, but [I’m] not putting any significant resources in their future projects."

"The timing of this is terrible and shows a blatant disregard for concerns of comics sellers," said Benn Ray of Atomic Books in Baltimore. "So I say this as a lifelong DC Comics fan as well as a retailer — screw you, DC Comics. I wish them every bit as well as Marvel did when they did this back in the '90s. Whoever is calling the shots at DC, if there is anyone, should be sacked immediately."

"I just don’t have a respectful comment," said Bret Parks, owner of three Ssalefish Comics locations in Winston Salem, Greensboro, and Concord, N.C. "I can’t think of anything useful or positive about this. I just wish DC would go away or fire their sales team and start over."

"This is an insane bombshell," wrote Brian Hibbs of Comix Experience in San Francisco in a Facebook post.

"They are handling this about as well as Captain Hook being a proctologist," said Ryan Seymore of Comic Town in Columbus, Ohio. "There has been no transparency or heads up, and at times it has felt like we have been lied to."

Retailers we spoke to said the move means higher shipping costs to stores, lower discounting from Diamond, and even thinner profit margins.

"Without the DC purchases through Diamond, my discount will be less, making my business no longer profitable or viable," said Charlie Harris of Charlie’s Comic Books in Tucson, Arizona.

"I don't believe that it will be profitable or practical for most retailers to order low return-on-investment periodicals from a second distribution source," Hibbs wrote on Facebook. "The extra shipping and handling involved is going to melt profit, while the endless extra hours trying to enter and massage data into point-of-sale systems that were not designed to quickly process mass data dumps from anyone other than Diamond is going to be nothing but waste for thousands of individual store fronts — when what they need from their suppliers is nothing but disheartening."

"I am also being offered substantially worse payment terms from these new 'distributors,' (they are not, really, distributors; they are jumped-up retailers, and the direct competition for periodical comics for every independent comic store owner. They are Midtown and DCBS.), so my cash flow will be curtailed, just when I need cash flow the most," Hibbs explained.

"Diamond shipping has always been fairly reasonable," Seymore said. "If you are an account that orders enough, there is even a shipment option where your books are delivered via pallet, which cuts shipping costs further. If shipping is too much, it cuts directly into the profitability of an item."

"The problem is cutting back to sell out amounts might not be enough to rein in the shipping costs," he added. "What also is a worry is the logistics of two companies that are truly new to distribution. They have done mail order for years, but this is an entirely new ballgame."

Not only was there barely any notice given to retailers — with some expecting to have delays on DC's comics in their store — but retailers we spoke to question if distributors can afford to continue operating long-term with the market split into different companies.

"I'm angry, "Harris said. "Last minute notification without time for me as a retailer to keep the comics coming in a timely manner."

"My initial reactions were shock and disappointment, "Seymore said. "Shock because of the next-to-no-notice about this decision to their retail and distribution partners. As of this moment that I am writing, Diamond still had DC comics listed on their Final Order Cutoff due on Monday, which leads me to believe that they are completely blindsided by this.

"It might be petty, but I am not thrilled about my two biggest online competitors now profiting off of me," Seymore continued. "Having to buy books from companies that already had been selling books to guests for nearly half off is not something that sits well with me at all. Business is business but this feels like a recipe for potential disaster. We now have two companies learning the ropes without any of the infrastructure Diamond has. What happens if one has to close? How quickly will the other be able to pick up the slack? There is a reason that we went from two distributors to just one all those years ago. That was a nightmare and I do not want to go through that again.

"My disappointment boils down to … instead of enhancing and giving distribution options, we are forced to work with companies that have been distributing books to shops for less than two months," Seymore continued. "Whatever issues I have with Diamond, I trust their infrastructure, and it has proven to be successful for decades. Factor in that during the shutdown they announced two distributors but tried to hide through omission that they were online giants Midtown and DCBS. It feels sketchy."

"I don't even want to think about what this does for Diamond's solvency, and their ability to help float stores and publishers over the short- and medium-term," Hibbs wrote. "What DC has done is disgraceful and is flatly harmful to the direct market."

Some retailers said the move also feels like DC has given up on the direct market retail system, perhaps banking instead on digital readers and books by mail — which retailers said would be a mistake.

"DC is overplaying their hand," Glindmyer said. "While there is significant interest and solid potential sales in the upcoming Batman title and Three Jokers, other projects going forward will have a difficult time getting a foothold. Retailers will be hard pressed to 'sell' newer DC product. If titles like DCeased were introduced now, they might be D.O.A.

"Retailers are disappointed in DC," he added. "Readers may have a more difficult time getting the titles they want, and digital is not the answer. Digital readers and Wednesday warriors are two different animals — they rarely venture out of their collection zone. Not seeing any winners on any side here."

While retailers said they’d love to punish DC with a boycott, they admitted it wouldn’t be fair to customers who want to read DC’s stories. But they anticipate this hurting the market overall.

"I don't see that they've given us any options,” Harris said. “My store is very DC-centric."

"What shop wants to be a hash tag for not carrying Justice League or Catwoman?" Seymore said. "That being said there will be, and rightfully so, shops that will choose not to carry DC moving forward. Maybe the higher shipping and lower discounts will make products not financially viable for them. Maybe the choice will come from the poor management of this entire debacle by DC."

"As for me, I'm pretty much cutting everything but orders for subscribers and cutting back on the graphic novels I order," said Ray of Baltimore. "This will also reduce the number of graphic novel titles I'm going to regularly restock from DC now too."

"This is business-side stuff, so hopefully, most readers won't feel the effects of DC's buffoonery," Ray continued. "But it's going to require retailers to spend time unknotting a bunch of orders to make sure the transition is smooth, so readers don't miss any titles and retailers don't accidentally end up with like 100 copies of Metal Men (or any, really)."

"This creates unnecessary stress for retailers at a time when many are struggling just to survive," Ray said. "I would imagine for many, it will engender the same level of hostility toward the company that I feel. How about, instead of creating chaos, DC Comics actually did something for the retailers who have been selling their books? I suppose that's too much to expect."
Bleeding Cool: Dennis Barger and Brian Hibbs Agree Over DC Quitting Diamond
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Mike Wellman of Atomic Basement: This is such a disgusting and ill-timed move on behalf of DC Comics. With all of the turmoil that comic book stores are facing, that THE WORLD is facing, to take their solicitations off the board right now is obnoxious and short sighted. While I'm not one for monopolies, I think that Diamond Comics did the exact right thing by ending product flow while our nation was under quarantine. The last thing I needed was weekly thousand dollar shipments while our stores were shut down. Disneyland can go in hibernation? The summer movie season can go in hibernation? So can I! Then DC made a deal with Midtown Comics and some other scrounge opportunist to keep their product flowing when the rest of the industry is in shutdown. Practically trying to force us to open our doors again. All of that is fine and dandy. But to go EXCLUSIVELY AWAY, from the comic shops who have supported them and ordered their product through Diamond for 20+ years and make us all have to set up new accounts and new terms with a new "distributor" (one being Midtown Comics) reeks of opportunism. We are not in a position or interest at this point of setting up a new account, especially one that is subservient to another comic book store. I saw this happen in the mid-90's when Marvel Comics thought it was a good idea to buy out Capital Distributors and go away from Diamond. Diamond's not perfect. No business is perfect. But in my 25 years of retailing, they were for the most part DEPENDABLE and solid! This is a very selfish move for DC and those other two parties involved at a time like this. Keeping the trains running is our best bet at this juncture and for DC to do this right now… I might as well just send them a link to Midtown, because that's what this is. In protest, every DC Comic on my shelf tomorrow is $1.00. This excludes the recent hot Batman issues, but everything else can go.
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Mike Wellman of Atomic Basement: Due to DC's announcement of going exclusive with Midtown Comics and whoever that other company is for Distro, every DC floppy at Atomic Basement is $1. Every DC trade and hardcover is $5, no matter the cover price. Let's clear some space on the shelves for companies who don't want to add more stress on top of the strife we are already dealing with. Mike Wellman Atomic Basement Comics 400 East Third Street Long Beach, CA 90802 310-650-4606 DC=Dollar Comics

Joe Field of Flying Colors: I don't have the answers for you, Mike. I wish I could more fully understand this move, but I doubt we'll get the complete story any time soon.

Jesse James of Jesse James Comics: Pivot your business folks…dont think about what happen…just take care of your customers… CUSTOMERS DONT CARE where their DC books come from they just want them….. Sell them comics!

Brian Hibbs of Comix Experience : This is an insane bombshell. I don't believe that it will be profitable or practical for most retailers to order low-ROI periodicals from a second distribution source — the extra shipping and handling involved is going to melt profit, while the endless extra HOURS trying to enter and massage data into POS systems that are not designed to quickly process mass data dumps from anyone other than Diamond is going to be nothing but waste for thousands of individual store fronts when what they NEED from their suppliers is nothing but disheartening.

I am also being offered substantially worse payment terms from these new "distributors" (They are NOT, really, distributors: they are jumped up retailers, and the direct competition for periodical comics for every independent comic store owner. They are Midtown and DCBS), so my cash flow will be curtailed, just when I need cash flow the most.

I don't even want to think about what this does for Diamond's solvency, and their ability to help float stores and publisher over the short- and medium-term.

What DC has done is disgraceful and is flatly harmful to the Direct Market.

Dennis Barger of QuikStop Comics: Bye bye DC comics, don't let the doorknob hit you where the good lord split you!!! This is a declaration of war against the direct market and I'm happy to oblige
Bleeding Cool: Mile High Comics Launches 'DC Sucks' 50% Off Sale
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I was going to take this afternoon off, as I came in early this morning and spent four hours in 90 degree heat weed-wacking the Jason St. parking lot. My relaxation plans were all shot to hell, however, when DC Comics blindsided everyone at noon by sticking a shiv into the back of Diamond Comic Distributors, and Diamond founder,Steve Geppi.

To say that I am seething with rage right now, is a total understatement. I actually saw this coming a couple of weeks ago, but was hoping against my own common sense that the new owners of DC (AT&T) would come to the realization that keeping Diamond alive was critical to the revival of the 2,000+ Direct Market comic book retailers who serve the core of their most dedicated readers. Instead, my own predicted worst-case scenario is now unfolding, with DC announcing this afternoon that they are severing all ties with Diamond Distributing, effective in three weeks.

So, what do the new kingpins at DC think that they are doing? Well, first of all, they want to drive more business to their online channel. Second, they think that they can do just fine on their trade paperbacks and hardbacks selling them to traditional bookstores through their distribution relationship with Penguin/Random House. Third, their recent "experiment" of selling $9.95 pseudo comic books through Walmart and Target has shown them quite clearly that they can generate massive comic book sales without a single comics specialty shop remaining in existence.

All of those factors are serious, but I think that DC's real issue is money. AT&T paid one hundred and eight billion dollars ($108,000,000,000.00) to buy Time/Warner just 18 months ago. The exact amount that they paid in cash is unknown, but some portion of that purchase amount was an assumption of existing Time/Warner debt. Nonetheless, the debt service on those loans/bonds is easily six billion a year, and quite possibly more. Sadly, they won the bidding war on this incredible deal just in time for the pandemic to slam Time/Warner's business into the ground, and thus reduce revenues drastically. Simply put, the managers at AT&T are now in a horrible bind. They need immense amounts of cash flow to service their debt, and they need it immediately.

Meanwhile, while everyone at DC is freaking out because their entire ship is in danger of sinking in their self-created ocean of debt, Diamond sends out a letter to all of their vendors telling them that, instead of being paid on time for all of their products that were long-since shipped by Diamond, they will receive small incremental payments on the monies owed to them, over a period of 13 weeks.

As I am sure that you can well imagine, that letter from Diamond really was the death knell for their relationship with DC. Management in the past would have had fewer options, and far more loyalty to the long-term Diamond relationship, but these new guys are terrified that they are all going to be fired, so they want out. Now. Immediately. And they could care less about who is going to wind up as collateral damage. They are only concerned about saving their own sorry asses, and no one else matters. Absolutely typical self-serving NY financier/Wall Street BS.

So, what does this all mean? Honestly, I do not think that anyone knows for sure. DC is trying to force all Direct Market comics shops to now order their weekly publications from a couple of lame-ass pseudo-distributors that they have self-anointed. We saw Marvel try this exact same stupidity with their Heroes World debacle, in 1998. They lost millions in short term revenue, and even more from the debilitating effect that it had on their market share and their brand.

Of greater importance to me is the future of periodic comic books, and the retailers who can only cover their operating costs by selling those new issues. Frankly, my first instinct is to say that they are all dead, and that the party is totally over for new comics. Diamond Distributing is certainly at immediate risk, as losing their #2 product line (in an already depressed market) is a catastrophic loss. To use the phraseology of Wall Street, their ability to continue as a going concern is now in great doubt.

The same is true of every comic book store in America, as the horrors of our Heroes World experience showed us all what an unmitigated disaster results from trying to coordinate multiple shipments from multiple distributors. It is an absolute nightmare. Not impossible by any means, but still an exercise in raw misery.

Truth be told, my greatest concern with the future of the Direct Market retailers revolves around money and/or credit. With so many stores having been shuttered for eight weeks, or longer, who has the means remaining to establish credit lines with these new "distributors," while simultaneously meeting their existing obligations to Diamond? Truthfully, this is a perfect storm of disasters for Direct Market retailers. Some stores will most definitely survive, but thanks to the unilateral decision today by DC Comics, I think that number of surviving entities was just reduced drastically. It is a sad, sad day in the history of comic books.

As regards Mile High Comics, I believe that we are going to be just fine. I was nearly four million dollars in debt nine years ago (including a million dollars! in outstanding Diamond invoices), and deduced that my operating losses were mostly resulting from unsold new issues that we ordered for our clients, but which they then failed to purchase from us. Simply put, I started reducing new comics as a key element of our company product mix, and immediately saw things turn around for us. We paid off most of our company debt through the sale of our 56th Ave. building three years ago, and (finally) paid Diamond totally off last week. I will never again (ever) go in debt for new comics.

So you know, we are doing reasonably well right now selling back issues and books online, and operating our awesome Jason St. Mega-Store with a focus on families and pop culture products. I plan to still be around to serve you for many years to come, and we are actively buying collections every day with that future prosperity in mind. Meanwhile, however, I feel very badly for Steve Geppi, as he is my dear friend, and he also generously helped us in so many ways to stay in business during those years when we were down and out. I wish that there was something that I could do to help him right now, but the new guys at DC have come for him with their heartless knives, and all I can do is to watch the resulting carnage in dismay and horror. The cruelty of his fate is very hard to bear.

P.S. I am beginning a 50% off back issues sale today with the codeword DCSUCKS! I make no apologies for the forthrightness of my codeword choice, as I am rightfully and truly pissed off. The 50% off DCSUCKS! Codeword applies to all ten million+ of our back issue comics and magazines, including an awesome collection that Pam purchased this morning. Those key issues will be in our Premium New-In-Stock link at about 10 AM tomorrow (Saturday) morning. Only new issues, my few variants, and our professionally-grade comics are excluded. Please stay safe, and have a great weekend. We will all survive, because, love is love…
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Old 06-07-2020, 05:46 PM   #9
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^What a mess. And DC is like 95%+ of what I get.

EDIT: On the plus side, I just filled the gap of 6 Silver Age GL books I needed from Mile High at half price. When they arrive, I will at least have every GL issue from vol. 2 #38 and over. Getting there.

+ YouTube Video
ERROR: If you can see this, then YouTube is down or you don't have Flash installed.

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Old 06-07-2020, 09:35 PM   #10
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My local shop owner had just told me last week he was going to stay with Diamond because the devil you know is better than the one you don't. I'll find out this week what his reaction is to this news. Bleeding Cool is a pretty biased rag; Rich Johnston is going to cherry pick the reactions he wants for his articles when they are just a drop in the bucket of 2,000 stores out there.
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Old 06-08-2020, 12:08 AM   #11
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With a case like this, he can pick from a lot of cherries though.
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Old 06-08-2020, 01:56 AM   #12
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End of an Era: The comics industry reacts to the DC Diamond split

This Diane Nelson quote is something:

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I’m afraid I’ve not been privy to this recent decision. I can say purely as a private individual that Diamond has, for a long time, been unwilling or unable to modernize and support and grow the biz as needed for a healthy direct channel. And may not even be solvent. It would be imprudent for any publisher to not have a distribution contingency plan. I am disappointed by the communications roll out if the decision, as it seems (from my admittedly removed and limited POV) not nearly robust enough and to not have offered retailers sufficient notice and explanation as to what I’m sure is a reasonable and probably even advantageous decision for them. It’s never good for any company to have a monopoly on a business and Diamond has for too long. I’m optimistic DC will help retailers understand how to navigate the transition. And I’d almost guarantee (I would guarantee but as I say, I’m not privy to this) that there’s no way DC or WB have a financial stake in these distributors.
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Old 06-08-2020, 03:23 AM   #13
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Shut the fuck up, Diane, you've done more than enough harm.
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Old 06-08-2020, 11:12 PM   #14
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Jesus fucking Christ, I spend a couple days offline and shit hits the fan.

Well if DC doesn't want my money (read: if my store won't/can't order from rivals), then I guess that I can just make up imaginary stories in my head that are way cooler than whatever DC is putting out (or attempting to). I'll save money that'll be used elsewhere.
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Old 06-09-2020, 01:34 PM   #15
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wonder what this means for us, is our lcs no longer gonna carry DC comics?
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Old 06-09-2020, 02:13 PM   #16
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Bleeding Cool: DC Comics Leaves Diamond and The Earth Still Continues to Revolve
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Dan Wallace of Impulse Creations Comics & Collectibles read Mile High Comics' Chuck Rozanski's notice about DC Comics leaving Diamond Comic Distributors and deciding to launch a DC Sucks 50% sale as a result. Wallace has a very different take on the situation. He writes;

For many years, Diamond Comics Distributors has had exclusive contracts in place with all the major comics publishers for distribution within the US. That all changed this week when DC Comics severed ties with Diamond, resulting in outrage from many in the comics retail community with no particularly good reason for that outrage in most cases.

While only DC and Diamond know the full details of the breakup, the first public cracks in their alliance came at the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the US. As lockdowns began to go into effect in many areas, Diamond made the decision to cease distributing comics to stores after March 25th. This was done out of concern for shops that could not or would not utilize alternative means to service their customers and receiving comics they couldn't sell would create financial problems for those stores.

Prior to this decision by Diamond, many stores including Impulse Creations took quick action to implement cleaning procedures, curbside pickup, local delivery, and to enhance our existing online sales with features such as free shipping and new categories to make finding items easier.

Our customers have always been our #1 concern followed closely by our amazing staff. You are why we exist and we are willing to do whatever is necessary to continue to serve you and to keep our team employed while layoffs are widespread. Comic books may seem low on the list of what's important during a pandemic but, when the world is going crazy, being able to get some entertainment from the safety of home goes a long way toward relieving stress and reducing anxiety.

It came as a shock then when we received the news that the supply of new comics would cease for an indeterminate length of time. The reasons for Diamond taking such drastic action were justified as many other stores were either not prepared to adapt as quickly as we did or were in some especially restrictive areas where store owners and staff could not even enter their stores. Even so, this came as a crushing blow to us and to DC Comics as well which needed to get books into stores in order to pay their hard working creators who make these books the joy that they are.

Our first response was to reach out to publishers who we could order from directly. All the largest publishers were hampered by exclusive contracts with Diamond so ordering from them was not an option but we were able to create a supply chain to bring in comics from publishers like Scout Comics, Source Point Press, TKO Studios, A Wave Blue World, Big Blue Comics, Short Fuse, Black Mask Comics, Hero Tomorrow Comics, Inverse and more. While these publishers couldn't take the place of some of the big names in comics, the level of quality in their books is amazing and we were able to expose them to new readers, many of whom have now embraced them as favorites.

Along with bringing in these books, we began doing Facebook Live shows, increasing our social media presence, and engaging in other efforts to shine spotlights on items we already had in stock to keep our doors open and to satisfy the needs of our fans who were anxious for comics during the shutdown. It took a lot of effort but, having read super-hero comics all my life, the idea of giving up simply wasn't something I could even consider. Things were hard but that just meant we had challenges to overcome and each one needed a solution instead of a shrugged shoulder.

It was then though that DC Comics stepped in with a plan to distribute comics outside of Diamond. They were able to get around their exclusive contract with Diamond to offer new comics to stores that needed them. No stores had to use this option. Stores that were unable to sell comics could simply wait and their orders would still be filled by Diamond when distribution there resumed. For stores like ours with ready customers and plans in place to accommodate them though, being able to get new comics from a major publisher was a huge shot in the arm and prevented more stores from going out of business that the pandemic would have otherwise claimed.

Even though using these new distributors was not mandatory, their mere existence was met with explosive tempers from comic store owners. Those stores fell into roughly three categories with two of them having some justifiable outrage. Stores that simply could not be open in any capacity (mailorder has been legal in almost all areas but there are exceptions) and stores that are so small that the shipping cost for a handful of DC books from another distributor would make them unprofitable to ship in really had no good option and they were not happy about other stores bringing these books in. The third group though is made up of store owners with the mindset that all change is bad. Change requires doing something more or different than what they've always done and sitting back to wait for the status quo to resume is easier. Any new way of doing things is rocking that boat and that made them uncomfortable.

Even with that third group, I understand the feeling. New things can be scary and even hard. They might work and they might not. Sticking with the tried and true is not only easier but it also carries with it less risk.

All of that makes perfect sense but it's also true that the comics industry can't improve and grow without change. Complacency leads to stagnation. The shops stay the same so the fans stay the same so the stories themselves stay the same. Eventually, that spells the demise of the entire industry and no one involved in it wants that.

Diamond doesn't want that and neither does DC. There are no villains involved here and there are no heroes either. Everyone is doing what's best for them first (including us at Impulse Creations) but most are also trying to do what's best for the industry as a whole too.

When the pandemic first hit, DC Comics donated $250,000 to a fund to assist comic stores that were suffering losses. DC publisher Jim Lee has been working tirelessly through all this doing a sketch a day for 60 days,each being auctioned for several thousand dollars with those funds being donated as well. Lee has also recruited other artists along the way to create additional art donations.

To even think for a second that DC does not love and support the retail comics industry is ridiculous. Whatever the specific reasons for leaving Diamond are, they may well benefit DC directly but there is no doubt whatsoever that there is a game plan in place to make the comics industry bigger, stronger, and more vibrant which benefits everyone from their new distributors, to comic stores, and to fans.

There will be some growing pains as this all plays out. There are stores that will be uncomfortable with that and will express their outrage for some time to come. This is change and change is hard but the comics industry needs change if it is to survive and I applaud DC for being willing to stand up to critics for the good of the industry and I look forward to seeing what comes next.
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Old 06-09-2020, 04:59 PM   #17
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wonder what this means for us, is our lcs no longer gonna carry DC comics?
They will most likely still carry DC, but they'll offer less of a discount.
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Old 06-09-2020, 08:55 PM   #18
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They will most likely still carry DC, but they'll offer less of a discount.
My LCS doesn't even do discounts and I'm on a first-name basis with the manager. I'm not, however, a really big spender.
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Old 06-10-2020, 04:59 AM   #19
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My store is one of three stores in Cologne, all within about three miles. So I have to do something to stick out. The current dollar to Euro exchange rate fluctuates between 0.88 and 0.92, so I usually take dollar prices 1:1 to adjust for higher shipping costs. If you have a pull list, you get a 10% discount, which is closer to the actual exchange rate. If I go any lower, it cuts too deep into the profit margin.
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Old 06-10-2020, 05:47 AM   #20
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As a kid (well, about 16 or so) I seem to remember there was like 3 shippers before Diamond. And everyone was angry about the monopoly Diamond suddenly had. But I can't really speak to it much.
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Old 06-10-2020, 03:44 PM   #21
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Well, I went to the LCS today and the guy who's functionally the manager said the change is a pain and there's some confusion about the solicits for July 1 (that might actually ship for July 8), but it wasn't too big a deal for them.
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Old 06-11-2020, 03:53 PM   #22
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I imagine this needed to be done, but it should have been rolled out in a way that didn't harm the shops.
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Old 06-12-2020, 01:04 PM   #23
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Bleeding Cool: "Hasty, Sociopathic Decisions" – Image Comics' Publisher On DC Comics
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6.11.2020

Dear Creators—

"Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it." It's true: We can either learn from past mistakes, or we can make them again.

In comics, it often seems as though we like to make the same mistakes.

Just ask DC.

Back in 1994, Marvel bought a distributor called Heroes World.

At the time, there were multiple distributors, Diamond Comics Distributors and Capital City Distribution, being the largest among them.

So Marvel bought Heroes World and then announced they would distribute exclusively through that one outfit.

DC's response was to sign an exclusive with Diamond.

That prompted Archie, Dark Horse, and Image to negotiate with both Diamond and Capital for exclusives.

Diamond made the better offer.

Viz and Kitchen Sink signed exclusives with Capital, but by 1996, Capital's business was failing and Diamond bought them out.

A year later, Heroes World went out of business, too, and Marvel returned to Diamond.

Why Diamond?

Well, Diamond was the only distributor left by that point. Sure, there were some small distributors handling indie and alternative titles, but they didn't carry anything from the major publishers. For a publisher of Marvel's size, Diamond was literally the only remaining option when Heroes World went out of business in 1997.

And lest we forget, Marvel was in bankruptcy at the time.

So here we are in 2020, with the world in something approaching the worst shape it's ever been in, and DC has forgotten this bit of comics history and chosen this moment to leave Diamond.

You've no doubt read their statement about how this move was intended to strengthen the marketplace.

Pardon the profanity, but that's bullsh-t.

This is a hasty, sociopathic decision made by people who do not care about the long-term welfare of our marketplace, let alone about comics.

The good news is that just as Marvel wasn't capable of destroying our industry back in 1994, DC – still a distant second to Marvel after all these years – isn't going to, either.

Some of you are concerned about Diamond's continued stability after losing DC's business, but the truth of the matter is that DC is around 30% of Diamond's comics business, and Diamond doesn't just deal in comics.

In addition to distributing comics, Diamond also distributes toys, games, and other merchandise, with games in particular being an increasingly large part of their business. Diamond owns a games distributor – Alliance Games – which services roughly half the number of accounts that make up the comics market and their business has been fairly robust.

As far as comics are concerned, though, the rest of the marketplace accounts for 70% or so of Diamond's Direct Market business.

That doesn't mean this isn't going to be a challenge for Diamond and for the rest of the marketplace, but it's not quite the deathblow so many seem to fear.

That fear, though – the fear that has prompted emails and texts from so many of you, and which has been coursing through the retail community since the news dropped last Friday – underscores something that should alarm everyone in comics:

DC did this without any consideration for how it would affect the rest of the marketplace.

There's a great Maya Angelou quote that along with the quote I opened with, is one of my all-time favorites:

"When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time."

Generally speaking, when a publisher leaves one distributor for another, there is a transition period. Inventory and data are transferred, accounts are taken care of – everything is done with careful planning so that all involved parties can move forward with peace of mind.

When Marvel bought Heroes World and pulled their business from their other distributors, they gave notice. Not in terms of days, but months.

That is not what happened here.

With everything going on right now – not just a global pandemic that has left our economy on the brink of depression, but an unprecedented number of nationwide protests against police brutality and institutional racism – DC decided to blindside Diamond and the rest of the industry with their decision to end a decades long business relationship.

They're the second largest publisher of comics and graphic novels in the United States, owned by one of the largest telecommunications companies in the world and financially more secure than almost any other publisher in comics.

They didn't have the resources to give even a few months notice? Not just out of professional courtesy, but out of consideration for the rest of the retail and consumer marketplace they will continue to operate in regardless of who distributes their comics?

Ultimately, what this all boils down to is distributor confusion causing retailer panic and disarray, and at the end of the supply chain, you have BATMAN readers wondering what in hell is going on.

And embarrassingly, it's nothing more contrived than negligent behavior and a deep lack of business acumen and poor internal leadership. This might be forgivable from a smaller company with fewer resources and less history in the market, but not from a publisher of DC's stature.

To put that in perspective: There are Image creators who have requested that we hold off on promoting their work because they think it would be tone deaf against the backdrop of current events—but DC made this move as though they were not only tone deaf, but completely oblivious to anything other than their own ambitions.

Our industry is more than one publisher, though, and we will get through this.

Should something happen to Diamond, we aren't without our options, both within the Direct Market and the book trade, but as of now, the hope is that exploring those options won't be necessary. Should that change at any point, we will let everyone know.

I have spoken with Steve Geppi and members of the Diamond team about what's happening, as has Image's President, Todd McFarlane. Our takeaway is that while there will definitely be some challenges ahead for the marketplace, Diamond is not on the verge of collapse.

Someone asked me if Image is still being paid by Diamond, and we are.

Back when Diamond stopped shipping due to COVID-19 and the various statewide stay at home orders, that action – frustrating though it was – prompted Diamond to set up reduced payments to publishers.

The way those payments were structured meant that for eight weeks, we received 25% of what we were owed for sales made from late January to mid-March, with the remaining 75% to be paid out over the following eight weeks.

While that wasn't ideal at the time, the payments we are now receiving are making up for the period when stores were not receiving new product, and we are well on our way back to something approaching "normal."

We're almost a month into shipping comics again and, while not all stores have reopened yet, the drops in our books' orders have been relatively minor. Some titles' orders have actually increased from what they were at pre-COVID.

In other words, there are reasons to be hopeful.

That's not easy for everyone, and that's understandable.

Image isn't owned by AT&T or Disney.

Image doesn't have an overall first look deal with Paramount or Netflix or Amazon Studios or Legendary or HiveMind or any of the other IP farms with little actual interest in selling comic books.

We're not like everybody else.

When Image first started, there were many who accused the Image Founders of leaving Marvel and setting up their own company out of self-interest, and given how incredibly successful Image was in the beginning, they could have easily just produced their own comics and left it at that.

What they did instead, though, was invite their fellow creators to join in building the company they'd started, or as Image's former Executive Director Larry Marder once put it, "to cast off their work-for-hire shackles and join the revolution."

As a result, Image doesn't operate like other publishers—least of all, Marvel and DC.

That makes publishing with Image a little daunting at times, because "not like Marvel and DC" can sometimes be construed as "I have to do everything myself and I don't get a page rate and what if nobody buys my book and I never make any money doing this and will I ever be able to get a job anywhere else again if this doesn't work out?"

But Image has been the company it is for going on 30 years now, because it offers creators the same independence Rob, Todd, Jim, Marc, Erik, Whilce, and Valentino craved for themselves back in 1992.

It isn't always easy, and that independence is at times fraught with hardship and uncertainty, but that independence is what makes it possible for everyone – from a relative unknown at the beginning of their career to a bonafide superstar – to work with Image, instead of for Image, and share the same opportunities.

Or at least the opportunities they want to share.

There is no one way to do things at Image – no masterplan. What looks like an opportunity to one creator may seem like trouble to another, and vice versa.

When the company first started, the founders themselves had a single rule, which was that no partner could tell another how to run their business.

To a large degree, that extends to the company's philosophy toward the creators we work for and with. For some, that's liberating, but for others it's frustrating.

The bottom line, though, is that the idealism that launched the company with such fanfare all those years ago is the same fuel that propels Image along now.

We use the word "creator" a lot – we publish creator-owned comics, so it's hard to avoid – but something that isn't said often enough about Image and its founders is that they love comics. They didn't become the biggest names at Marvel by accident or spend years at their drawing boards prior to that because they had a passing interest in drawing.

Without exception, they loved comics, and it was through their mutual affection for this medium and their shared frustration with the business that had developed around it that they came together to start a company that, frustrating though it may be in its own way, was better than the rest.

Not a company that exists as a line item on a spreadsheet amidst some larger corporate entity's other investments, not as part of a plan to harvest ideas for other media as an end to itself, but as a fully realized vision of what can happen when people who genuinely love what they do come together as a group.

So getting back to DC, and where the comics industry has suddenly wound up as a result of their decision to dissolve their distribution agreement with Diamond, this isn't the first time one of our industry's "Big Two" has shown us who they are, and as history has proven repeatedly, it's probably not the last.

That's scary and it's stressful for all of us, but at the same time, moments like these are why Image exists.

We believe in comics, we believe in this industry, and we believe in you.

And despite how bleak things may look now as we shelter in place and worry what surprises tomorrow might bring, we believe there are better days ahead.

Sincerely,

-e.s.

Eric Stephenson
Publisher
Image Comics, Inc.
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Old 06-12-2020, 03:58 PM   #24
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Bleeding Cool: DC Comics to Continue Distribution Through Diamond UK Until 2021
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Old 06-12-2020, 04:07 PM   #25
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Let's hope they extend that beyond 2021. It would make things a LOT easier for me.
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