— Dinesh Shamdasani (@dinesh_s) March 18, 2016
Friday morning of C2E2 opened with the Diamond Retailers Breakfast, generously sponsored by Marvel, Action Lab, and Valiant Comics.
The floor opened with Diamond’s Director of Marketing Dan Manser saying a few words before handing the mic to Chris Powell, VP of Retail Services.
Powell announced the sales gains first, with comics up 9%, graphic novels up 3%, Merchandise up 5%, and toys up by 18%, making total sales up by 6%.
Customer count is up 3.8%, with many more fans placing order forms each month, and this continues the trend of growth that Diamond has seen for several years in a row now.
Distribution center expansions have happened as well, between the two in Plattsburgh, NY and Olive Branch, MS. The Plattsburgh facility has doubled in size, and there are some multi-million dollar renovations happening.
Diamond has also rolled out some technological upgrades, including an enhanced retailer website search, featuring the ability to enter multiple-word criteria strings, view results as a list or picture gallery, export results to Excel, and save searches. These small upgrades will assuredly raise ease of use for employees, in turn making customer interactions smoother and faster.
Powell reports that the FOC page has been updated as well, so retailers can now get an exact quantity of how many issues of a title are needed to reach an incentive. The page will even alert you to exactly how many more you need to purchase to get those incentives.
The final news from Diamond is that they will soon be launching electronic invoice payments, which will link up the bank account of a business directly to Diamond, eliminating the need for checks or COD. Just pay with the click of a button.
Marvel began their presentation by announcing gains in sales with trades up 15% and comics up 10%. Orders on variants alone went up about 25% once Diamond initiated their new ordering system.
Over 300K issues of Black Panther #1 have been ordered, and the audience was shown exclusive interior pages from issue #2. Also topping the sales charts is Star Wars: Poe Dameron, having raked in pre-sales of over 200,000 copies.
The big announcement of the morning was Civil War 2: Amazing Spider-man #1, written by Christos Gage with art by Travel Foreman.
A 3-issue Star Wars: Rogue One series was also announced, as well as Deadpool: Mercs for Money becoming a new ongoing series in July.
Marvel touched on some other things before closing, mentioning the Rob Liefeld Deadpool OGN that will be released for the holidays, as well as the Becky Cloonan Punisher series and the first Spider-Gwen annual, which will come out this summer.
Action Lab was up next, with huge overall sales to report. Kids Comics are up 387%, Danger Zone up 298%, GN’s up 402%, and single issues up 203%. 2015 saw two million dollars in sales growth alone.
They went on to mention some titles, including Spot on Adventure by Franco and Scoot, Peach by Franco and Agnes Garbowska, Ghoul Scouts by Steve Bryant, and new Princeless hardcovers and trades.
Valiant rounded out the morning with talk of 4001AD, featuring Matt Kindt and Clayton Crain on a 4-issue standalone event, on sale May 4th.
Rai #13 was next, with a new arc that reveals the history of Rai and New Japan, written by Matt Kindt with art by Cafu.
And finally, they announced the first appearance of a brand new female character central to the Valiant Universe, who has appeared in Book of Death #1, but is currently classified. She will have her own one-shot in 4001AD: [Classified] #1.