DC Comics recently announced they were partnering with other companies to distribute their comics in the U.S. in light of the temporary shut down that Diamond Comics Distributors had implemented to stave off the coronavirus. It turned out that the companies DC was partnering with were two of the biggest comics retailers in the country, causing concern among many smaller shops and stores. San Francisco retailer Brian Hibbs publicly called out DC publisher Jim Lee for not having made a single public comment regarding the industry response to the coronavirus pandemic and its effects on the shops and comic publishing in general.
Shortly after DC’s announcement, Geppi Family Enterprises, the owners of Diamond, issued a statement where they said they were working toward a mid- to late-May resumption of operations. In fact, they’ve been communicating a lot since then and they just sent out their latest release to retailers this afternoon, unlike Jim Lee.
Finally, after a lot of questions having been raised DC Comics publisher Jim Lee appeared on Kevin Smith’s Fat Man Beyond podcast Friday night to answer a few softball questions about DC Comics distribution and particularly their decision to use comic stores to distribute.
“The comics shipping, those are the books that didn’t ship on April 1st, we’re actually taking a subsection of those. We’re not releasing the whole line. It’s like the marketplace is on a diet they, haven’t eaten for like a month, you can’t just give them real food and a tonne of it at once. You’ve got to slowly release it back into the pipeline. The whole idea is to get some books in to, basically, stress test these new distributors that we’ve partnered with. We’re holding back the big titles like Batman #92 which had over 230,000 copies. We want to wait, hold that for when the most number of eyeballs you know can see it and read it and things like Death Metal, those are likely going to continue to be pushed back until we have more stores up in line. But until then, the stores that are open and have figured out ways to be in business, we want to help them out. We want to give them product to sell, We want to give them the lifeblood that kind of keeps their businesses afloat.”
That’s more than Lee has said about it since the pandemic began. Not sure how retailers will feel about it. I recommend you listen to the whole thing.
This afternoon, Diamond Comics Distributors made the following announcement about their partnership with DC Comics that retailers SHOULD find enlightening and informative. Here it is in full.
We appreciate your patience as we work with our longtime partner, DC Comics, on details following their recent announcement regarding their upcoming slate of weekly periodicals.
We have confirmed that the orders you placed with Diamond Comic Distributors for upcoming products are still in our system and will be fulfilled when we resume the distribution of new, weekly products.
As we mentioned in our COVID-19 update last week, we are working toward a mid- to late-May resumption of operations and look forward to helping our retailer partners recover from the business effects of this outbreak and related quarantine measures.
We have heard from many of you already, and wanted to take this opportunity to answer some of the most frequent questions:
Q: What is the status of orders I placed with Diamond Comic Distributors?
A: All orders are still in our system, and we have inventory that will allow us to fill those orders when we resume distribution of new, weekly product.
Q: What if I want to adjust my orders for DC Comics product?
A: We will announce an updated FOC date once we establish a firm date to resume distribution. We will provide the schedule for the release of products offered during our pause in distribution so that retailers may plan accordingly. Orders for DC product may be adjusted at that time to meet expected demand. We will also have product available for reorder.
Q: Will Diamond have access to all the products that DC Comics offers?
A: We will offer all DC Comics products that are offered to the Direct Market through our usual solicitation, FOC, and reorder processes.
Q: Will the products released during Diamond’s pause in weekly distribution all be shipped at once?
A: We are working on a schedule to address the release of any comics and trades that are released in other channels while our distribution is paused. We expect to spread those products out over a period of weeks, in addition to the new titles that will be shipping each week once we resume the distribution of new, weekly product. We believe that spreading this product out, rather than releasing it all at once, is better for retailers who will be ramping up operations slowly and at different speeds throughout the country.
Q: Are products from DC Comics still returnable?
A: DC Comics will continue to honor their offer of returnability for products released between March 18th and June 24th, 2020.
Q: What day will DC Comics go on sale?
A: We will continue to work with the team at DC Comics to clarify the release schedule for their products before we resume distribution of new, weekly products. As more information is available, we will provide updates via Diamond Daily.
While we look forward to the resumption of weekly new product, we know that many retailers continue to take advantage of restocks of backlist product via Diamond’s Retailer Services Website.
We encourage retailers to ensure their Comic Shop Locator Service listings are up-to-date with services offered, such as delivery or curbside service, and that store hours are accurate. This will help direct customers to stores that can continue to meet their needs through this time.
Please also continue to consult our Coronavirus Resources page for an ongoing list of resources available to retailers. Additionally, you can click here for a single source of other Coronavirus-related information from Diamond and our publishers.
Thank you for your continued support as we all plan for our future. We are committed to communicating with you during this process and look forward to our continued partnership.