Dark Horse moves to Penguin Random House for direct market comics distribution

Dark Horse will move their comic shop distribution from Diamond to Penguin Random House starting next June.

Penguin Random House’s overall footprint in the direct market will grow again next year, as Dark Horse has announced plans to move their business to the growing comics distributor.

Dark Horse follows Marvel and IDW in moving away from their longtime distributor, Diamond, to partner with Penguin Random House Publisher Services.

“It’s an exciting time for the industry, and our move to Penguin Random House for direct market distribution comes after our successful partnership in bookstore distribution,” Dark Horse Founder and CEO Mike Richardson said. “Random House will help us expand our reach to retailers and fans around the globe.

Effective June 23 of next year, Penguin will handle distribution of Dark Horse’s newly published and backlist comic book periodicals, graphic novels, and manga to the Direct Market comic shops. Penguin was already the distributor of Dark Horse’s graphic novels to the book channel.

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Quick Hits | Rachel Pollack hospitalized

Rest in peace, Lily Renée. Plus news on IDW Media, censorship in Missouri, Paul Allor and more.

Creators | Former Doom Patrol writer Rachel Pollack has been hospitalized and is currently in the ICU, according to a GoFundMe page started by Patricia Nolan. The page is seeking financial help for Pollack’s health care. “If she is able to go home, she will need 24-hour care. Up to now, we haven’t needed your help. It is time now,” the message reads. Pollack, who is also a novelist and Tarot expert, in addition to writing comics, most recently worked on the Comixology Originals title The Never Ending Party.

Passings | Lily Renée, who worked as a penciller and inker on titles for Fiction House and St. Johns Publications back in the 1940s and 1950s, has passed away at the age of 101. Trina Robbins reported the news on Facebook after hearing from Renée’s son Rick. “She died peacefully at home, as was her wish, yesterday after living a full life of more than 101 years. There is a time for all of us and her death comes on the heels of the birth of her third great grandchild earlier this year,” he said in his message.

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Comics Lowdown | Creators file class action suit against Action Lab Entertainment

Plus: News on TOON Books, Image Comics, Archie’s new editor-in-chief and more!

Nearly 40 creators have signed on for a class action lawsuit against Action Lab Entertainment and Action Lab president Bryan Seaton. Action Lab has published a long list of titles over the years, including Spencer & Locke, Princeless, Jupiter Jet, Midnight Tiger, Molly Danger and many others.

According to ClassAction.org, the 46-page complaint “contends that although Action Lab promised to print, promote and market creators’ works, report quarterly sales and income numbers, properly maintain social media accounts, and generally make a reasonable effort to sell comics, the company has largely done none of these things and even failed to inform creators when its office shut down ‘without reason.’”

Creators listed in the complaint include David Pepose, Rylend Grant, Jorge Santiago Jr., Jeremy Whitley, Ken Marcus, Tom Rogers and many more. You can read the full legal complaint here.

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Free Comic Book Day 2022 will include more than 45 titles

Bunny Mask, Donald Duck, Pokemon, Barbaric and more will see action on comics’ favorite holiday.

Following the announcement earlier this week of the 11 Gold Sponsor titles, Diamond Comics Distributors has announced the much longer list of Silver Sponsor titles, which brings the total number of free comics coming May 7 to 46.

The titles were chosen by a committee of comic shop retailers, and the new additions include titles from BOOM! Studios, ABLAZE, Titan Comics, AfterShock Comics, Fantagraphics, Vault, Mad Cave and more. They feature many well-known properties, from the Avengers and Donald Duck to The Walking Dead and Pokemon, as well as newer titles like Bunny Mask, Barbaric and Hollow, a new BOOM! Studios graphic novel that the company will preview on Free Comic Book Day.

Here’s a look at the 35 silver titles:

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Mail Call | DC announces ‘Milestones in History’ anthology

Check out news, announcements and previews from DC, Marvel, Dark Horse, Image, Z2 and more.

Mail Call is a roundup of cool things we’ve received in our mailboxes recently from comics creators, publishers and more. Hit the links for more information.

DC Comics and Milestone Media revealed more details about the anthology they plan to release this coming February during Black History Month, which was initially announced during DC FanDome last month.

Milestones in History will feature Hardware, Icon, Static and more narrating stories “Black trailblazers from across human history,” including Hannibal, the Queen of Sheba, Alexandre Dumas and more.

The 96-page prestige one-shot will cost $9.99 and arrives Feb. 15.

Here’s the full solicitation:

Celebrate Black History Month the Milestone way, as the superpowered citizens of Dakota (including Static, Icon, Rocket, Hardware, and more) narrate the true stories of Black trailblazers from across human history! Witness the military campaigns of Hannibal and the Queen of Sheba, the literary accomplishments of Alexandre Dumas, the World War One dogfights of Eugene Bullard against the legendary Red Baron, and many, many more, all written and drawn by a who’s who of comics and literary talent! On sale February 15th, this 96 page anthology honors Black History from around the world in a beautiful, prestige format book.

Written by REGINALD HUDLIN, ALICE RANDALL, TOURÉ, MICHAEL HARRIOT, and more
Art by VARIOUS
Cover by CHRISCROSS
Variant cover by DOUG BRAITHWAITE
$9.99 US | 96 pages | Prestige Format | One-shot

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IDW jumps to Penguin Random House for direct market comics distribution

IDW joins Marvel in moving away from Diamond, who will still offer IDW comics as a wholesaler.

IDW Publishing and Penguin Random House Publisher Services have announced that Penguin will exclusively distribute IDW’s comics and graphic novels to the direct market, beginning June 1 of next year.

The news follows Marvel’s similar announcement from earlier this year. IDW joins both Marvel and DC in moving away from Diamond Comics Distributors as their single path into comic shops.

“IDW succeeds when the Direct Market succeeds,” said IDW Publisher Nachie Marsham. “No matter how amazing our comics and graphic novels may be, it’s the retailers that are connecting readers with our stories. Because of that, I couldn’t be more excited about our future with Penguin Random House and I have the utmost confidence that every store, no matter the size, will see the benefits of the high levels of care and service that PRHPS brings.”

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Comics Lowdown | Supply chain issues cause delays for DC Comics

Plus: Free Comic Book Day woes for New York library, Marvel’s vaccination comic, Osamu Tezuka and more.

Newsarama has reported that several titles from DC scheduled to come out over the next few months have been delayed due to supply chain issues.

“DC faces an unprecedented strain on the global supply chain, affecting all of us in the comic industry and beyond,” DC Marketing Manager Albert Ching said in a statement to retailers. “Up to this point, we’ve been able to keep delays and shortages to a minimum, but with recent notifications about COVID-related port closures, international and domestic freight delays, workforce shortages, and a severely allocated paper supply, we are unable to continue to manage this situation without disruption.”

Some Batman Day comics, DC has said, will be allocated to retailers as well due to these same issues, but

Supply chain issues have been in the news recently as manufacturers face raw materials shortages, transportation delays, higher energy costs and of course COVID-related issues. They are expected to continue into next year and will likely be exasperated with the upcoming holiday season.

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Mail Call | Green Lantern Tai Pham returns in a new graphic novel next year

A round-up of recent announcements from DC, Marvel, IDW, Image, Diamond and more.

Mail Call is a roundup of the announcements we’ve received from comics publishers in our mailboxes recently that we haven’t already covered. Hit the links for more information.

Tai Pham, the Green Lantern that debuted in the pages of the Green Lantern: Legacy graphic novel, will return in 2022 in Green Lantern: Alliance.

Pham’s adventures will once again be told by Minh Lê and artist Andie Tong, as he once again comes face-to-face with his nemesis, Xander Griffin, but this time he’ll have some help from a new Kid Flash.

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Mail Call | New release dates for the Milestone revival

Catch up on news and announcements from Dark Horse, Vault Comics, DC, Z2 and more.

Mail Call is a roundup of the announcements we’ve received from comics publishers in our mailboxes recently that we haven’t already covered. Hit the links for more information.

DC Comics has modified their plans for the upcoming Milestone Media relaunch. The three launch titles — Static, Icon and Rocket, and Hardware — will no longer arrive digitally before they come out in print. Instead, they’ll be released in both formats on the same day, as well as on DC Universe Infinite. Both Static and Icon and Rocket will come out later, but Hardware will be published earlier than originally announced. The new dates (and creative teams for each title) are:

  • Static: Season One, written by Vita Ayala, with layouts by CHRISCROSS, finishes by Nikolas Draper-Ivey with covers by Khary Randolph launches in print and digital on June 15.
  • Icon and Rocket: Season One, co-written by Reggie Hudlin and Leon Chills, with art by Doug Braithwaite and covers by Taurin Clarke launches in print and digital on July 27.
  • Hardware: Season One, written by Brandon Thomas, with art by Denys Cowan and Bill Sienkiewicz with covers by Mateus Mahanini, launches in print and digital on August 10.
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Marvel teams with Penguin Random House Publisher Services as its direct market distributor

Marvel signs an exclusive distribution deal with the publishing house that begins in October.

Marvel has announced a new agreement with Penguin Random House Publisher Services to distribute their comics and graphic novels to the direct market, beginning Oct. 1.

The deal is “an exclusive worldwide multi-year sales and distribution agreement for Marvel’s newly published and backlist comic books, trade collections and graphic novels to comics shops.”

This effectively replaces Diamond Comics Distributors as Marvel’s route to comic book stores. Diamond, however, will still act as a wholesaler and will receive product through Penguin, so retailers can still choose to order Marvel’s products through them.

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Looking Back | COVID and Comics

The COVID-19 pandemic made 2020 a bumpy year for the comics industry.

Today we kick off a series that looks back at the biggest news trends of 2020, starting with the COVID-19 pandemic and how it impacted the world of comics. Watch for more posts all this week.

COVID-19 was already on the radar when I attended C2E2 on the last weekend of February 2020, but it was still just a vague shadow in the distance. There were only a handful of cases in the U.S., but we knew more were coming. Some folks Tweeted that they wouldn’t be hugging or even shaking hands, but most people went ahead anyway, happy to see old friends after a long winter apart. The folks at McCormick Place put in extra hand sanitizer stations. And since China was already coming out the other side of their epidemic, I spoke to a couple of publishers about how the brief shutdown over there had affected their schedules. Like many of the 95,000 attendees, I roomed with friends I hadn’t seen in months, had lunch and dinner with more friends, attended panels in rooms that held 200 or more, and walked around the crowded convention floor.

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Diamond announces date for Free Comic Book Day 2021

Mark your calendar for Aug. 14 and cross your fingers.

Diamond Comics Distributors has announced that Free Comic Book Day will return in 2021 on Aug. 14. While FCBD has traditionally been held in May in the past, the release notes that it’s being moved to August “in the hopes that much of the uncertainty and disruption related to COVID-19 will have passed.”

The 2021 event will be the 20th time local comic shops will host Free Comic Book Day. The idea was conceived by Joe Field, owner of Flying Colors Comics & Other Cool Stuff in Concord, California.

“I am so happy to be making this announcement today and so proud of our work with retailers and vendors these last 20 years to bring more awareness to the comic books we all love,” said Steve Geppi, President, Chairman & CEO of Geppi Family Enterprises. “In the past two decades, fans have experienced some truly remarkable Free Comic Book Day events because of the commitment of our partners to create an incredible celebration of comics. It’s such an energizing day and we look forward to making our 20th anniversary celebration the best one yet!”

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