The TCJ board floats the rumor that Fantagraphics is going exclusive with Diamond for the DM — if true. Norton would continue to be their bookstore distributor, of course. Barry Rodges emails Tony Shenton, FBI’s indie sales rep, and has this cryptic comment:
This does make sense from a business standpoint, but Shannon’s right in saying that it’ll probably alienate some retailers. Tony mentioned that since they are such a big client for him, retailers ordered a lot more minis, etc, from him because they were with him, so this might hurt a lot of us who already have a hard time getting into stores.
But, if this is indeed false, or I shouldn’t have posted this, I’d hate to get Tony in trouble with anyone, so whoever has the power can delete this thread if they want. I just hoped the Fanta big wigs would come out and comfirm or deny the story. As Tony pointed out, the 2 times they were in trouble (and probably more times than that) it was the retailers and fans that helped bail them out. So I guess I kinda feel like it’s okay to pose the question of whether or not this news is true…
So far no one from Fanta has disputed the rumor. Over at the NSFW Icarus blog, Simon Jones ponders the meaning of he potential move:
Fantagraphics is one of the few big comics publishers that have resisted exclusivity, perhaps in part because its wide-ranging catalog was better served by not signing solely with the once cape-centric Diamond. On that front, Diamond has improved; the success of non-superhero trades in bookstores pretty much made sure they had to improve. So if this rumor turns out to be accurate, there are some compelling reasons for the decision, not the least of which is the practicality of having centralized fulfillment. But there is also a strong emotional and psychological aspect to this, given the perception of Diamond as a Galactus-like monopoly which, fairly or not, is already on heavy display in the thread.