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William Costello
Byrne Robotics Member

Joined: 30 August 2012
Location: United States
Posts: 495
Posted: 31 March 2020 at 7:17pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Polygon posted a good article why the comic distribution network is where it is today: mics-shops-marvel-dc-image-tko-digital-new-comics-coronaviru s-covid-19.
Quote: Diamond’s near-monopoly is the result of the last seismic event for the comic book industry: the 1990s. The decade brought new publishers, such as Valiant and Image, into the industry. That sudden boom of product came in a time when multiple companies distributed that product to comic stores, including Diamond Comic Distributors in Maryland, Capital City Distribution in Wisconsin, and Heroes World Distribution in New Jersey. However, in 1994, Marvel Comics — on a hot streak of acquisitions, including several trading card and toy companies — purchased Heroes World to act as the exclusive distributor of Marvel Comics, the market leader for the industry.
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James Woodcock
Byrne Robotics Member

Joined: 21 September 2007
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 5503
Posted: 01 April 2020 at 1:14am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

I never understood why the comics industry continued to
allow all their product to go through a single
I understood what happened in the '90's led to it, and I
understood that Diamond had a process where they
published a monthly magazine that acted as an
advertising product for the companies, but why was that
situation allowed to continue? Especially when DC and
Marvel had been bought out by production giants?

Especially when it clearly was not working? New readers
were not being brought in by this model, new customers
were not being brought in to the outlet stores, despite
the characters being more well known than they had ever
The mainstream product was failing to reach potential
audience and failing to connect when it did miraculously
reach them.

No other industry has such a monolithic distribution and
sales channel - that is accepted by all the content
producers, across most of the markets across the world.
It is a crazy situation to have been in.

And they are still bowing down to it by removing the one
sales channel that they would have had open to them -
the digital market. They could still get revenue from
that market every Wednesday. Instead, they have closed
that as well.

Collective suicide. Been happening slowly since the
'90's, accelerated this past month.
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Oliver Denker
Byrne Robotics Member

Joined: 18 August 2018
Location: Germany
Posts: 82
Posted: 01 April 2020 at 3:02am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Marvel and DC should be glad that they've got Diamond.
Who wants to go into the comics distribution business these days?
Let's hope they survive the virus.
Many companies won't.

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John Byrne

Imaginary X-Man

Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 119900
Posted: 01 April 2020 at 4:41am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

Collective suicide. Been happening slowly since the '90's, accelerated this past month.


The death march goes much further back than that. When the first across-the-board price increase swept the publishing industry in the Forties (driven by increases in paper costs), comic book publishers elected to cling to their 10¢ cover price, setting themselves on a direct course for reduced retailer profits, and therefore reduction in display space.

As other magazines went up in price, thereby continuing to guarantee profit to the sellers, comics effectively ghettoized themselves, forcing retailers to chose between products that took up the same space—say, the latest issue of SUPERMAN vs the latest NEWSWEEK (which used to cost the same and provide the same returns)—but presented increasingly different profit margins.

This insanity continued even after comic prices finally started to rise. Publishers had kept the cover price down by shrinking the page count, so what had begun as 64 pages for a dime had become thirty two for the same price—and then for 12¢, 15¢, 20¢ and so on. They’d reached a point where it was not practical to further reduce the size of the package.

And, trust me, those price increases may seem small viewed from here, but at the time they were big bites. When the 12¢ cover arrived I actually had to cut back on my purchases. Five comics—a normal week—suddenly cost what six had cost before.

Others made the same choices, introducing a small irony into the mix: we lost customers, but that tiny increase in profits brought along a few new retailers—until there came the ultimate madness, when the Publishers decided to abandon traditional venues completely.

Which brings us here.

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Jean-Francois Joutel
Byrne Robotics Member

Joined: 06 November 2008
Location: Canada
Posts: 313
Posted: 02 April 2020 at 10:07am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

"The unfortunate truth is that we are no longer receiving consistent payments from our customers," Stan Heidmann, president of Diamond parent company Geppi Family Enterprises, explained in a letter to venders, which include comics publishers and pop culture manufacturers of toys. "This requires that at this time, we hold payments to vendors previously scheduled to release this week. This is a difficult decision and not one we make lightly.”

The letter continues, “As this situation continues to evolve, we are committed to building out a plan for payment and will have more information to share later this week.”

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Jason Ayer
Byrne Robotics Member

Joined: 29 March 2008
Posts: 116
Posted: 02 April 2020 at 1:42pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

One thing I haven’t seen mentioned anywhere are the customers themselves. Even with the HUGE stimulus package we’re getting, how long will it take most people
to return to their normal buying habits once things settle down? Even if things return to normal soon, say the end of April, how many people may have gone
without one, two, three, or even four paychecks? Once they start getting paid again, how many will consider buying comics to be a top priority?

The way things are looking, the end of May would be a better bet for an endpoint, if even then. Add to that one to two months before people get caught up with
bills, etc. So even if comics start shipping again in May, it may be July or August before the shops see anything close to normal customer traffic. How many can
survive that long and how will the blow-back be felt with distributors, publishers, and creators?
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Paul Issar
Byrne Robotics Member

Joined: 27 June 2012
Location: Canada
Posts: 24
Posted: 02 April 2020 at 6:49pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

The Walt Disney Company has announced plans to furlough employees
"whose jobs aren't necessary at this time" on April 19,2020.

Of course Disney owns Marvel Entertainment & Marvel Studios.

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Adam Schulman
Byrne Robotics Member

Joined: 22 July 2017
Posts: 1383
Posted: 02 April 2020 at 10:03pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Re: Disney's furloughed employees. It's bad but I suppose it could be worse for them. After all..

Comic books were born during the last Great Depression. They might die during this next one.  
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Oliver Denker
Byrne Robotics Member

Joined: 18 August 2018
Location: Germany
Posts: 82
Posted: 03 April 2020 at 3:28am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

"Comic books were born during the last Great Depression. They might die during this next one.  "

I'm afraid you could be right.
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William Costello
Byrne Robotics Member

Joined: 30 August 2012
Location: United States
Posts: 495
Posted: 03 April 2020 at 8:18pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

I'm curious to see how Marvel and DC will fill their subscription orders (if they do). There was a special Marvel coupon that came in my e-mail for 50% off cover price for one title (Midtown Comics in NY handles the Marvel and DC mail subscriptions), so I subscribed to one of the newer Marvel titles, Strange Academy.

First issue arrived a few weeks ago. Let's see what happens from here.
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