DC’s announcement that they’ve ended their relationship with Diamond Comics Distributors in favor of working with Lunar and UCS, the two distributors that sprung into being during the coronavirus pandemic, sent shockwaves through the industry yesterday.
Diamond founder Steve Geppi responded to the news with a message of his own to retailers:
This evening, I shared the following message with all the members of our Geppi Family Enterprises teams. I also wanted to share it with you, our many industry partners.
Today, DC sent out a retailer communication indicating they are ending their long-standing relationship with Diamond. In April, we were informed that DC was going to begin distributing products through additional partners. At that time, they asked us to submit a proposal for a revised agreement with the understanding that Diamond would continue to be one of their distributors. Which we promptly did. They then requested an extension to June 30 which we also accommodated. Last week, DC requested an additional extension through July. We responded with questions and DC indicated they would reply today, June 5. Instead of receiving a response, today we received a termination notice. While we had anticipated this as a possible outcome, we, like so many others in the industry, are disappointed by their decision to end our partnership so abruptly at this time.
Although we had hoped to reach an agreement with DC, every great change also presents great opportunity! Rest assured, Diamond is a strong company and our success does not depend on the actions of one business partner. While we recognize this change impacts the industry, we are well-positioned to seize growth opportunities and are committed to the success of our publishing partners, the Direct Market and our industry as a whole.
We continue to be excited about the growth potential in the comic, game and toy industries as well as growth opportunities for our other Geppi Family Enterprises companies. I truly believe that our comeback will be bigger than our setback and our best days are ahead.
Thank you for you continued support and for all you do.
At Newsarama — which is now part of the Game Radar website — Vaneta Rogers rounds up reactions from comics retailers.
“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.”
Over at The Beat, Heidi MacDonald rounds up reactions as well, from retailers, creators and other industry figures. She also offers some analysis of her own:
Perhaps as proof of the proverb that “comics retailers like to complain,” these years of complaints about Diamond (complaints I have heard publicly and privately in an unending torrent) have changed to “the devil you know…” Maybe the updated proverb is “retailers hate change. ” And I can’t really blame them for being a bit fraught. I mean we have this deadly pandemic thing, the world teetering on the brink of a depression, a nation coming to a long overdue reckoning with its tolerance for disgusting racism and police abuse, and hurricane season is just starting.
IDW issued a press release of their own yesterday, and while they don’t mention DC specifically, they do pledge their “support for Direct Market comic retailers.”
“Comic shops are the frontlines of the comic industry, where word-of-mouth, spinner racks, and staff hand-selling make all the difference in a comic book’s success,” said Chris Ryall, IDW’s President, Publisher and CCO, in the release. “It’s our responsibility as publisher to make that process as low-stress as possible for our partners in the retail community. During a time like this, making it easier to stock our books is really the least we can do.”
Finally, Chuck Rozanski, president of comics retailer Mile High Comics, had some words from his own on Facebook and an announcement that they’re holding a 50% off sale right now. “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.”