Comics Lowdown | RIP Takao Saito

Plus: DC does NFTs, the Uffizi opens its doors to comics, and small publishers discuss distribution.

Cover of Golgo 13, vol. 8, showing a man holding a gun and smoking a cigarette.

Takao Saito, the creator of Golgo 13, died on September 24 at the age of 84. The cause of death was pancreatic cancer. Saito made his manga debut in 1955 and launched Golgo 13, which follows the exploits of a taciturn hitman, in 1968. Volume 202 of the series has just come out in Japan, making Golgo 13 not only the longest continuously running manga series but also the one with the most volumes. Saito has said he would like the manga to continue after his death, and his publisher, Shogakukan, says the series will continue.

Comics at an Exhibition: The Uffizi Gallery, in Florence, Italy, is adding comics to its collection. The museum, which started out in the 1600s as the Medici family’s portrait collection, has commissioned 52 self-portraits by prominent Italian comics artists. The self-portraits will be on display in a special exhibit in Lucca from October 8 to November, 1, then moved to the Uffizio to join its permanent collection.

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Comics Lowdown | UCS will no longer distribute DC Comics starting in January

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.

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Jim Lee addresses rumors, future of comics publishing at DC

DC’s publisher talks about the past week and the future of comics in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.

A week that started with layoffs at DC Comics ends with Publisher Jim Lee discussing many of the changes and rumors that sprang from Monday’s news.

Lee confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that he is indeed still in the role of DC’s publisher, noting that he has “more responsibilities and more expectations than ever before.” As a result, he’ll focus on creative content while a new general manager position will “focus on the operational side.” While he didn’t mention a name, he said that person will start in September, suggesting they’ve already been hired.

Here’s a rundown of what else Lee said:

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DC Comics drops Diamond as they shift completely to Lunar, UCS

After 25 years, DC will distribute their comics to shops without the help of the industry’s traditional distributor.

DC Comics is cutting ties with Diamond Comics Distributors and will use the two new distributors that came into existence during the coronavirus pandemic to deliver comics to retailers.

Lunar Distribution and UCS Comic Distributors, the distributors with ties to comics retailers Discount Comic Book Service and Midtown Comics, will distribute periodicals to stores. Retailers can also order books through Penguin Random House, who handle DC’s trades and graphic novels for the book trade.

“After 25 years, DC and Diamond Comic Distributors are ending their long-standing relationship,” a spokesperson from DC told The Hollywood Reporter. “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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Diamond targets May to restart comics distribution, as DC makes their own plans

DC will work with two new distributors with ties to comic retailers to deliver comics in late April and the first half of May.

It’s been a crazy day on the comics distribution front. Since Diamond Comics Distributors announced in March plans to temporarily halt comics distribution because of the coronavirus, the question has been when we’ll see new comics start to hit direct market shelves again. Now Diamond has provided an answer, as one of their biggest customers has given a different one.

Let’s start with the Diamond news, which you can find on Newsarama. That article quotes from a letter sent to retailers and publishers, saying that “While there are many steps and conversations that need to happen between today and resuming distribution of new weekly product, we are currently targeting mid- to late-May with the hope that, as an industry, we can all work toward that timeframe.”

The way that’s worded is interesting, as it was not long after that DC put out a press release of their own, saying they planned to have a limited number of comics in shops on Tuesday, April 28, as well as on May 5 and May 12. “After surveying more than 2,000 stores across the U.S. and Canada, it became clear that many comic book store owners are finding new and creative ways to get books to the fans who want them,” the press release reads. They’ve also set up a comic shop tracker on their site so you can see who will have their comics on April 28.

So what exactly is DC doing to get comics out to shops?

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