Diamond’s Data Breach Exposes Marvel Comics’ True Sales Numbers

Diamond Comic Distributors, Inc. is the only way comic book stores can order weekly comic books.  Diamond is a comic book distributor serving retailers worldwide and they transport comics and graphic novels from both big and small comic book publishers to retailers, as well as other products such as toys, games, and apparel. Diamond distributes to the direct market in the United States and has an exclusive distribution arrangements with most major American comic book publishers, including BOOM!, Dark Horse, DC, Dynamite, IDW, Image, and Marvel Comics, for now.

 

Last Friday, there were some odd changes to final order cut-off (FOC) orders for many Marvel comics, and as time began to run out on those order deadlines, Diamond representatives began to reach out to comic book stores who had yet to fill in their FOC. While sending out those emails, someone from Diamond made an egregious error and accidentally included a trove of serious business data in their email, which included contact information for every active client on Diamond Comics account, as well as monthly and yearly order amounts of their Marvel Comics orders. The data included information from their 2441 accounts that are buying Marvel Comics, 2000 of which appear to be your standard comic book shops, and the remaining accounts were apparently mail-order purchasers and specialty shops.

 

Oof.

 

Former DC Comics creator Ethan Van Sciver was sent this information by a fan and he discussed it this morning via his Youtube account, talking about what he felt were the ramifications of this serious data breach.

 

 

Apparently this business data was inadvertently distributed to at least two hundred stores and includes some of the most secretive, protected, valuable data in today’s comic book industry. Van Sciver speculated that this tells a sad story about how low Marvel’s sales actually are and how much they’ve over-relied on variant cover “schemes and scams”. Ethan remarked that without unnecessary variant covers, Marvel Comics would be in “big, big trouble”, further speculating that Marvel cared more about the bigger shops that purchase the specialty exclusive variant covers because of the sheer volume of sales numbers involved.

 

Diamond has responded to news of this breach:

On November 22, 2019, a Diamond Retailer Services Representative mistakenly appended an internal reference document to an email that went to approximately 200 retailers.  The document contained account contact information and partial sales data for our customer base, including your store’s information. Retailers who received the file were notified of the error within one hour and asked to delete the email message and attached file. Diamond Comic Distributors takes such incidents very seriously and will train employees and implement additional security.  Furthermore, retailers whose sales figures were included on the attachment will be contacted directly at the email addresses on file.  For further information, please contact XXXXX at (443)-XXXXXX or (XXXX@diamondcomics.com). As you may know, Geppi Family Enterprises has begun a technology transformation effort.  Data security is a significant component of this effort.  This project is being led by our technology consultants and business leaders, ensuring that the data with which we are entrusted is as secure as possible at every level of our organization. We take full responsibility for this error.  We appreciate your patience and partnership as we work toward full resolution.

Sincerely,

Stan Heidmann, President, Geppi Family Enterprises

 

We expect much more fall-out from this data breach to be made public in the coming days and will update our readers when we learn more about this situation.

Jamison Ashley

Comic geek, movie nerd, father, and husband - but not necessarily in that order. Current captain of this ship o' fools who is rapidly training everyone's computers and snarkphone spell-checkers to misspell 'supposebly.'

JUST KEEPING THE LIGHTS ON