Remember how Marvel pulled out of the newsstand market several months ago? Well, they’re back. After a fashion. And they’ve brought Image and IDW with them.
Here’s what I know: sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I noticed the local Books A Million had a new rack of comics. Marvel, Image and IDW titles — all bagged and boarded. The sort of thing you don’t expect to see in a bookstore, but there it was. Here’s what the rack looked like this past Saturday.
I was with family the first time I noticed it and didn’t have to flag down a clerk and ask about it the first time I noticed it. I initially had thought one of the local comic shops must have worked out some sort of consignment arraignment. That does not appear to be the case. The next time I was in the neighborhood, what did I see sitting in the window? See for yourself:
Why yes, that IS a Diamond shipping box addressed to the store, shipping from a Diamond warehouse. And what was inside?
Yes, there were bagged and boarded books inside the box. So either somebody took the books out of the box, bagged and boarded them and then placed them back in the box before leaving them lying out for somebody else to rack or they were shipped from Diamond pre-bagged and boarded.
I flagged down a clerk but he didn’t seem to know much.
Here’s what we don’t know:
- How many of the roughly 250 Books A Million Stores are getting comics from Diamond? While I don’t think this is the only one, I suppose it’s possible.
- Is Diamond really bagging and boarding them?
- Whether or not these are returnable?
- What kind of special ordering is now possible?
- Does Diamond have some sort of budding newsstand initiative?
Since these are getting shipped from Diamond, I strongly suspect this started the first week of December.
Don’t worry. We’ll get to the bottom of this soon enough, but in the meantime, Marvel is back on the newsstand and Image and IDW are there, possibly for the first time. Even if its just at one chain.
Todd Allen wears a lot of hats. At various times he’s been (alphabetically), a bouncer, college professor, humor columnist, Internet producer and an NBA/WNBA Beat Writer, among other things. He’s the author of Economics of Digital Comics. You should probably read it.