Retailer Brian Hibbs comments on Diamond’s recent decision to impose a higher benchmark for products they carry — following fears that great comics will be strangled in their cradle. His viewpoint is somewhere in the middle of those commenting, and pretty much backs up our own feelings:
No, really, we don’t need your shitty zombie comic book. We don’t need your adaptation of some William Shatner novel, and we sure as fuck don’t need your half-baked superhero universe.
What we DO need is “the next BONE”, the “next” STRANGERS IN PARADISE, or CEREBUS or EIGHTBALL or GRENDEL or whatever title you want to fill-in-the-blanks with as a paradigm of slow-build-to-significance item.
Here’s the real problem: Diamond’s purchasing department. There are some really great guys working there, but they don’t really have a great aesthetic judgment. That’s not a knock, necessarily, but in 20 years of buying from Diamond I don’t believe that they’ve EVER had a year where they had the entirety of, say, the Eisner nominees in stock at or around the time of the nominations.
I don’t believe that Diamond would recognize the “next BONE”. Not from hatred or anything, but because they have policies in place to be “fair”, that for a decade or more essentially treats all projects as interchangeable widgets.
Diamond does have a bunch of procedures in place to screen material but some things do fall between the cracks. As we’ve stated here before, Diamond is a monopoly, no question, but it’s also a benevolent one — they could have done all the things that people say they are doing years ago but didn’t. Why?
But Diamond is also the gas that makes the direct market go. They’ve developed a system of such tremendous efficiency that a slight breakdown – the non-delivery of back-up copies of SCOTT PILGRIM #5 this week for instance — are a blow.
Like Brian, we don’t mind seeing less crappy zombie comics and William Shatner novel adaptations (have those EVER worked? They’ve been tried many times before!) But is anyone even interested in creating the next BONE? We’d argue that SCOTT PILGRIM is the newest comics sensation, and that succeeded in tankoubon format.
Continuing to develop.