Home News Announcements Archie signs deal with Random House, other updates

Archie signs deal with Random House, other updates


Since it’s Archie Comics day here at the Beat, here’s some later news and notes.

* The artist on the Elizabethan Archie painting is Terry Petersen.

* In looking for some Archie comics art to accompany my piece earlier today, I came across the amazing blog post by John K. John K. is to rugged individualism what dropping peyote in the desert is to going on vacation, so it’s always worth a look.

* Dan Nadel has posted a response to the MoCCA statement that sheds a bit more light on the situation.

* Finally in actual publishing news, Archie has announced an exclusive worldwide distribution deal with Random House. PR:

The agreement with Random House Publisher Services marks the first time that all Archie paperback titles will be available from one source for both domestic and international trade bookstore distribution. Distribution of the Archie paperback line through Random House will commence on September 1, 2010. The direct comic store distribution of the Archie comics, digests and graphic novels will continue through Diamond Comic Distributors, Inc.
“As Archie expands our business globally, we are thrilled to partner with Random House Publisher Services to bring the Archie brand to the world,” said Jon Goldwater, co-CEO of Archie Comics. 
“We are delighted Archie Comics will be joining the RHPS client team this September,” said RHPS President Jeff Abraham. “We have developed a strong traction in the graphic-novel category with our bookseller customers, for whom this category is among their fastest-growing. We believe they quickly will find selling the beloved Archie characters and storylines profitable and fun.”


Archie Comics continues to position itself and its brands as an international entertainment entity across multiple media platforms, with many noteworthy accomplishments over the past few quarters. The company made its entry into the world of digital comics, resulting in the most downloaded comic in iTunes history.  It also initiated a variety of crossover projects with stars of music, movies and television, and inked an entertainment representation deal with Creative Artist Agency. Most notable of all, the hit “Archie Gets Married” comic book storyline received unprecedented international press coverage and is enjoying massive worldwide sales.
The new distribution deal with Random House follows the recent announcement of Archie’s first international office in New Delhi, India.

  1. Heilige bimbaum…

    Okay… I mentioned this in the year-end survey… This is the other side of “corporate comics”. Yes, DC and Marvel are owned by conglomerates. There are many huge book publishers who are now distributing or publishing graphic novels. This year this will be bigger, as Abrams enters the licensed market with the Simpsons/Futurama slipcased hardcover (formerly/formally of HarperCollins). Most major pubishers are owned by comglomerates… Harper=News Corp, Random=Bertelsman, Simon & Schuster=Viacom…

    Archie is currently repped to bookstores by Diamond Book Distributors. Checker just left, now Archie. As the mainstream publishers become savvy with graphic novels and the bookstore market, and can offer better sales staffs, more accounts, and better terms (see: DC/Random), you’ll see more migration from Diamond Books. Likely candidates: Dark Horse (movie adaptations and licensed comics), IDW (comic strips, licensed comics), Slave Labor (edgy, alternative, licensed)

    Archie is expanding their GN line, both inhouse and with partners like Dark Horse and IDW. The general public knows the characters and the dynamics.

    Random House GN scorecard: inhouse:
    Knopf, Pantheon, Crown, DelRey, Villard, Watson-Guptill, Gold Key/Western, juvenile
    distributed lines:
    DC, Titan, Archie, Kodansha…

    Oh, and here’s one more ripple… last year saw Jimmy Gownley shutter his press and move Amelia Rules over to Simon & Schuster kids. There are others who could do the same, like Studio Foglio or Abstract Studios.

    Or they could go the POD route, like Donna Barr, setting up direct accounts with websites and chains, while still sending non-exclusive product to Diamond.

    Either way, Diamond loses. With the other zeitzombie, digital comics, slowly shambling towards us (It’s Melvin!), Diamond is in a challenging situation. It’s like the Alamo, with the Mexicans out front, Indians attacking from the right, Bedouins attacking from the left, and the river in back is starting to flood.

    Interesting times…

  2. Is there any chance this could mean more Archie Comics trade paperback collections? Archie is really bad about putting out collected editions. I don’t give a crap about the main Archieverse, but I’ve been wanting to read the rest of the Sabrina manga, and I would beat several people unconscious for a chance to buy more trades of the Archie Comics Ninja Turtles series.

  3. Archie licensed the TMNT Adventures from Mirage Studios. Last October, right before Marvel/DC hit the fans, Nickelodeon, owned by Viacom, bought the rights for $60 Million.

    Viacom sub Simon & Schuster published the last four anthologies of TMNTA in 1991. Except for the possibility of a licensed Essential Showcase Omnibus edition, reprints will probably depend on the franchise gaining more exposure.

    Archie is getting better at issuing trades, although they might not be the ones you wish to read. They published nine trades in 2009 (according to Books In Print). They published one Sabrina trade in 2006. Since that series is in hiatus, and there is little outside media interest since the TV series ended in 2003, it seems unlikely any more collections will be issued.

    Sonic, on the other hand, is doing quite well, flying under the comics radar ever since issue #1 in 1993, with 200+ issues and twenty trade collections so far.

    Archie Comics’ audience is found in bookstores and libraries and newsstands. Longtime readers of The Beat know that the Direct Market ignores most Archie product. Archie moving to Random House is a brilliant move which will help Archie exploit a market they have had trouble with in the past.

    And let me correct the scorecard, now that I have better web access:
    Archie Comic Publications, Incorporated
    Candlewick (children’s publisher of educational GN titles)
    DC Comics
    Egmont USA (no USA GNs, but the largest comics conglomerate in Europe)
    Kodansha Comics
    Radical Publishing, Inc. (a former Diamond Book client)
    Titan Books
    Vertical, Inc.
    Wizards of the Coast

    (What happens to Diamond if Disney shifts Marvel over to Hyperion/HarperCollins distribution? “Heroes World Redux”?)

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