The weather gods — cloned or not — have spoken, and they have said “Thou shalt not have comics — if you live on the West Coast. Newsarama rounds up the disaster now unfolding, as holidays and the freak snowstorms of the west have got everything FUBAR.
The trucks that picked up the books from Diamond’s Plattsburg warehouse got mired in bad weather, reportedly in Texas, last week as the second round of snowstorms hit the Rockies and Midwest. The trucks were late arriving in time for the contents to be broken down and re-distributed at the LA warehouse for being in stores on-time this week. Retailers found out about it Saturday evening/Sunday morning, when invoices were made available on Diamond’s website. Again, as with Justice the previous week, some copies of Civil War #6 (most likely due to a split shipment on multiple trucks, given the volume of copies) did make it through to the LA warehouse, and those copies were allocated among all the accounts serviced by the warehouse. Some titles due to be in stores this week did make it through (again, they were most likely on a truck that made it through the weather), and will be in stores on Thursday, despite the Civil War #6 allocation. Additionally making matters worse for the situation was the fact that retailers did not become aware of the missing comics until the weekend of New Year’s Eve, and Diamond was closed on January 1st, leaving retailers without answers – or options.
At Millarworld, Brian Hibbsreports on the allocation:
The invoicing for the West Coast (served by Diamond — LA) has just gone up, and EVERY account serviced by that warehouse is getting massively allocated on CIVIL WAR #6. From all accounts, it sounds like a 10-15% allocation… so if your LCS ordered 100 copies, they’ll actually be recieving 15 copies or less.
Diamond is closed until Tuesday, so that’s (probably) the earliest we’ll know about possible solutions (for example, it is POSSIBLE that the remaining copies will be pulled and overnighted in time for Friday arrival) (though I’d be surprised if that were so) We also don’t know WHY this allocation occured. Retailers are generally assuming it is similiar to last week’s delay on many DC titles, but Diamond closed before anyone told us what the story was.
I’m still not sure how Comix Experience will deal with this. If I just go first-come/first-served, then every one of my preorders has the right to be upset at me. If I pull subs first… well, I’ll have to sort it by “who put in an order first” because we can’t even cover 1/2 of our subs. Or I could not put them out at all, making everyone equally upset. What would make YOU less upset as a customer?
I put this up to warn people on the West Coast that you probably won’t get CIVIL WAR #6 next week, unless you’re one of the first people at your LCS…. and you probably won’t even get it then. Don’t be mad at your local store — this is not thier fault (they’re less happy then you are, beleive me!) — and it is affecting all stores basically equally. Also, on behalf of all retailers, everywhere, we’d like to ask you to just be a little patient, and not run all over town to try and grab a copy. Most comics shops have extremely tight cash flow, and have you down for “your” copy of CIVIL WAR. If you buy it somewhere else, YOUR store still has to pay for that copy! On behalf of all West Coast readers, I’d also strongly urge no one to post any reviews or comments on CIVIL WAR #6 for the week. I know it’s really hard, but you don’t want to spoil the story for 1/3 or more of the country! (plus all of Australia…. they’re served out of LA)
Meanwhile, James Sime of Isotope uses the occasion of the disaster to lobby for ComicsPro, the retailer organization.
But isn’t it scenarios like this week’s Civil War fiasco exactly why a retailer trade organization was created in the first place?
I think so.
And I think the ComicsPro founders think so as well. Maybe they’ve all been too concerned with the individual nightmares that Civil War #6 has created for them this week for the organization to speak up, or perhaps they’re too polite as an organization to do a recruitment drive during these recent distribution headaches… but they should be.
It doesn’t take a whole lot of imagination to see how useful ComicsPro could be next time our distributor is thinking about shrugging it’s shoulders and giving us “sorry that’s all we know” or a vanilla “regrets the error” message when there is a distribution crisis with the biggest book of the entire month. Could ComicsPro make all those crazy pie-in-the-sky dreams that we comic retailers have come true? Probably not. But it could definitely help Diamond make better decisions about distributing allocated books. And something as simple as seeing “Ships to West Coast accounts on January 10th” next to those books this week… that one simple thing… will make our lives and our customer’s lives better. That alone is worth 300 bucks to me.