Josh Blaylock is back and blogging.
The publisher of Devil’s Due, which seems to have gone on hiatus after selling many of its characters to Arcana, has moved to a tell-it-like-it-is blog and various ventures like his events company Pop Cultour. Although the most recent years of Devil’s Due was filled with charges of non-payment to freelancers, no one can say Blaylock isn’t a student of the game. He has some very good advice re S! corporations here, and another blunt post called
Will February ’11 Be a Comic Book Direct Market Massacre? Like many industry watchers, he feels the price CUT coming in February is of some concern:
What could be the final nail in the coffin for many direct market retailers is the sudden price drops in Marvel and DC comics at a time that is already seasonably dead for most stores – February. Even in the best of times the holiday spending craze is over, everyone has spent their post-X-mas, January gift money, and the lull begins, and this will likely be one of the flattest X-Mas seasons in memory. This year, as our currency buys less and less essentials (I’m talking food and clothing, not your essential weekly publications), February is already poised to be tougher than ever, but it’s also running parallel with the forced 25% drop in sales from the majority of DC and Marvel titles. It’s an open wound plus salt.
This will be the season where retailers who don’t rely as much on Marvel & DC come out on top, but they still rely on the infrastructure built upon the majority of retailers who do.
As one retailer commented on ICv2.com, the cries for price reductions back to $2.99 came BEFORE the customers left their stores. It is a fantasy to believe that will bring those people back in. Now many of those customers who have left could be spending that post X-mas money on three or four times as many comics via their newly gifted iPads and iPhones.
Blaylock and DDP had prickly relations with Diamond, and the second half of his essay looks at their practices, with some interesting gossip:
I’ve heard reliable sources allege that 30% of direct market retailers are already failing to pay the big D on time, if at all. Likewise some of the big retailers are failing as well. So we get into double jeopardy – if the retailers take a hit, even more stop paying, and Diamond feels the pain. If retailers ride the storm, Diamond is still likely to be squeezed by a drop in sales, and hence puts the pressure on those retailers in arrears to pay up, or cuts them off. Or, they both could ride the storm.
Yes, both could be just fine. And some retailers are having BOOMING sales this holiday season. It is NOT all gloom and doom. But there are things people could be considering. And…see next post.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.