Plus: News on Terrific Production, Archie Comics, Rebellion, L.A. Comic-Con and more.
Distributors: UCS Comics Distributors, one of the two comics distributors that began working with DC Comics during the COVID-19 industry shutdown earlier this year, has told retailers they will no longer distribute DC’s books as of January 2021. Their accounts will be serviced by Lunar Distribution, the other distributor for DC that came into being during the pandemic. UCS was formed by retailer Midtown Comics, while Lunar was formed by Discount Comic Book Service.
So is UCS going away? Not according to the email they sent to retailers, which you can read over at The Beat. It says “UCS is not closing. We will be offering other exciting items that stores can use!” So it’ll be interesting to see what they offer in the future. John Jackson Miller has additional commentary.
Big news from Archie Comics, which this week began releasing all its comics on the ComiXology Unlimited service the day they come out. This is the first time a publisher, other than ComiXology itself, has put its comics on the all-you-can-read platform on the publication date. The Beat has a good piece putting this move into perspective, noting that Archie has been publishing fewer single-issue comics of late, and that these comics are also available day-and-date on the free (to the user) library service Hoopla.
IDW Entertainment has set up a new initiative within its Kids, Family, and YA division that will focus on developing original material for young readers. Erika Turner has been named senior editor of original content at IDW Publishing; she comes to IDW from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, where she was senior editor of their Versify imprint. On the IDW Entertainment side, Jeff Brustrom is the new vice president of kids, family, and animation, and Daniel Kendrick is the director of animation; both will work on developing animated properties.
Plus: News on ‘Fun Home,’ Vault Comics, IDW, DC’s new GM and more.
Not surprisingly, Dog Man has once again claimed the top spot on best-sellercharts for USA Today, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Publishers Weekly, Indie Bound, Toronto Star, and The Globe and Mail, among others. It’s the ninth book in Dav Pilkey’s popular kids graphic novel series to land at No. 1 on the best-seller chart.
Plus: News on Image Comics, IDW, Si Spurrier and more.
The first day of DC Comics’ FanDome event, which was held this past Saturday, garnered 22 million global views from more than 220 countries and territories, according to The Wrap.
The publication spoke with Lisa Gregorian, Warner Bros. Television Group chief marketing officer, and Blair Rich, president of worldwide marketing at Warner Bros., who came up with the idea for the event.
“We had a couple of sort of mission things in mind as we built it that were our North Stars that we never wavered from,” said Rich. “Number one, it had to be for the fans, by the fans, about the fans, and be completely fan-centric, and anything that wavered from that was not allowed. We wanted it to be accessible. That’s why it was free. It was a global event translated into nine languages and we wanted it to feel like a major moment.”
Plus: News on Fantagraphics’ new logo, the CBLDF, Ignatz Awards and more.
Publishing: DC Comics’ long-delayed The Other History of the DC Universe finally has a release date: the first issue by 12 Years a Slave screenwriter John Ridley and artists Giuseppe Camuncoli, Andrea Cucchi and José Villarrubia will arrive in November. That issue will focus on Black Lightning, and Ridley spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about his history with the character:
When Black Lightning came out, I remember, as a younger person, how that felt to have a series that was led by a man of color, who in his regular identity was a teacher. Like I said, my mom was a teacher. It was a comic book that really, for me, for the first time, I felt like, “Oh, okay, this is for us as much as anybody else. The book, the universe, all of those things, you know, this is for us.” If I ever had at an age felt like, “Oh, I want to be a writer, I want to be a creator, I want to be a storyteller, I want to deal in the fantastic,” certainly when Black Lightning came out, it was a moment that galvanized that feeling.
Plus: How the pandemic has impacted Scholastic and VIZ Media, the ‘Thundarr the Barbarian’ comic that almost was and more!
IDW Publishing has “parted ways” with Jud Meyers, who they had named as their new publisher on July 22.
“IDW Publishing has parted ways with Jud Meyers and would like to thank everyone for their discretion,” the company said in a short statement. Meyers was named publisher after longtime publisher Chris Ryall departed the company, but was then placed on administrative leave a few days after the announcement.
Publishing: Publisher’s Weekly looks at Scholastic’s fourth-quarter and full year results for fiscal year 2020, which ended May 31 for the company. Not surprisingly, given the COVID-19 pandemic, they were down significantly compared to last year. Revenue was down $187 million, or almost 40%, leading to a 10% drop in their full-year revenue for FY20.
Speaking of Comic-Con, Variety is calling the virtual convention “a bust,” based on the amount of activity on Twitter about the convention being down compared to last year, as well as the YouTube views of panels. The Beat points out that from a comic perspective, the YouTube numbers for “comics-based panels are way way above what they would have reached in person.” Also, almost a week later, those panels are still available for people who want to view them.
A CBLDF Free Comic Book Day anthology has been assembled by numerous publishers over the years, and then published by the CBLDF for the annual event. This year’s event, of course, was cancelled in May due to the pandemic, but the comics are still being distributed to comic shops to be given out from July through September.
“In light of recent events surrounding the CBLDF, Boom! Studios asked that this year’s planned FCBD issue from the CBLDF not be distributed,” BOOM! told Newsarama. “Unfortunately, the issue was shipped out to retailers early in error (without being billed). We’ve requested the CBLDF and Diamond to ask retailers to destroy the copies they received, and a destruction notice should be sent to retailers shortly.”
CBLDF president Christina Merkler told the outlet that they respect BOOM!’s wishes and will leave it up to retailers whether they want to distribute the free comic.
Plus: News on Diamond, Art Spiegelman, Dragon Con and more.
Writing for The Comics Journal, Michael Dean has a long article detailing additional allegations against Charles Brownstein, the former executive director of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. Dean spoke with many former CBLDF, employees, including former Development Manager Cheyenne (Shy) Allott, who had been under an NDA about her time at the CBLDF until recently.
“My trouble with Charles started three days into my employment, at ComicsPro in Memphis, Tennessee,” Allott said. “Upon arrival at the show, I went to check into my hotel room only to discover that Charles had booked us in the same room together. I was instantly uncomfortable with this arrangement and for the first time, I saw Charles drop his charming facade and switch into an accusatory tone. He stated that it wasn’t fiscally responsible for me to have my own room, as we were a non-profit. I felt like I was misusing funds simply by asking that question.” Brownstein did not respond to TCJ’s request for comment.
The Comics Journal also sent questions to the CBLDF board, which CBLDF President Christina Merkler responded to. You can read her responses here, but one thing she addressed was whether CBLDF was still viable — a question many have been asking over the last couple weeks: