DC Comics Ends Relationship With Diamond
DC Comics announced on Friday that they would no longer distribute their comics through Diamond. This ends the 25-year relationship between the publisher and the sole comics distributor. Instead, DC will distribute their comics through two new distributors. These are, respectively, Lunar Distribution and UCS. UCS, run by Midtown Comics, will handle the Eastern United States while Lunar, run by DCBS, handles the western half.
This exit occurs during the major COVID-19 pandemic in the United States shutting down many retailers. Diamond itself had to shut down for safety reasons and an apparent lack of funds. DC started distributing through UCS and Lunar earlier during the pandemic, supplying numerous stores.
DC’s Statement to Retailers
DC emailed retailers on Friday with this release, per The Hollywood Reporter:
An email sent to retailers explained, “We recognize that, to many of you, this may seem like a momentous decision. However, we can assure you that this change in DC’s distribution plans has not been made lightly and follows a long period of thought and consideration. The change of direction is in line with DC’s overall strategic vision intended to improve the health of, and strengthen, the Direct Market as well as grow the number of fans who read comics worldwide.”
The message continued, “In the near term, Diamond will only be fulfilling orders placed through June 1 Final Order Cut-Off and will not solicit the sale of new DC titles further. To ensure a smooth transition for retailers, DC will suspend Final Order Cut-Off for June 8, making those books available to order on Final Order Cut-Off on June 15.”
A spokesperson from DC told The Hollywood Reporter, “After 25 years, DC and Diamond Comic Distributors are ending their long-standing relationship. 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.”
Retailers in Revolt Over DC Move
Several retailers reacted strongly to this news. While several were hesitantly optimistic, others, such as a claque led by Bryan Hibbs and Dennis Barger, rained verbal hellfire on DC. Several called for boycotts; one store even created a crass discount code. However, others, such as Impact Comics, are supporting DC and took their fellow retailers to task. Those supporting the move by DC on social media have pointed out past bad actions by Diamond, and added reports that the new distributors took better care of the books.
Monopoly No More
While Diamond tries to spin this in their favor, this is a massive blow for the major distributor of comics. DC is the second-largest publisher, and thus makes up a lot of Diamond’s revenue. It also shows cracks in publishers’ relationships with the distributor. Diamond became the sole distributor of comics by chance and the failure of competitors. They were sued for being a monopoly, but they were allowed to operate unopposed. Coincidentally, the store with the crass code testified in SUPPORT of Diamond in that case. As the only shop in town, Diamond could dictate to publishers and they would have no choice. With new competition, will other publishers soon jump ship?