Today Diamond Comics Distributors celebrates its 40th anniversary. It’s been 40 years of long boxes, warehouse expansions, Previews, retailer advisories, summits, dinged corners, distributor wars, Select toys, and lots more mundane stuff that is also somehow the backbone of the comics industry. Love ’em or hate ’em founder Steve Geppi is one of the most colorful and key figures of the era, and Diamond is one of the most important companies in comics history – and I can’t think of another business where common fans keep up on the inner workings of a primary distributor. That’s the way the community of comics works.
It’s been an up and down few years for Diamond, but they’re still here and say what you will about the company: Diamond does care a lot about comics and the people who make and sell them. I know that from my own decades talking to the hard working men and women who run the company.
Update: Steve Geppi also wrote about it on FB and here it is (edited a bit for paragraphs – and lots of great tributes in the comments.)
Today, February 1, 2022 marks the 40th anniversary of Diamond Comic Distributors! I am extremely proud of this accomplishment, knowing that many companies never last anywhere near this long in business. The number 40 has tremendous significance. I know this because I looked it up and was amazed to see how many references the number 40 has in our daily life and in history itself. This article will give you an idea of the many ways the number 40 has affected our lives and continues to do so.I want to take this opportunity to thank my family, my customers, my friends, my suppliers, the creative people in the comic industry, and everyone who has played a part in this long journey that now marks this incredible milestone! As I have said many times, I am extremely blessed to have enjoyed such a wonderful life and made so many wonderful friends.I hope everyone who reads this, will know just how much I appreciate their friendship and support. Diamond Comic Distributors has served the direct market of Comic book retailer specialty and pop culture stores with great pride! Despite the many ups and downs the industry has endured, and particularly in recent times, it is stronger than ever before. Passion is the number one ingredient in success.From the humble roots of Geppi’s Comic World back in 1974, sprang not only Diamond Comic Distributors, but an entire family of other companies we call GFE, or Geppi Family Enterprises. I would be remiss if I didn’t tip my hat to the many thousands of people who have worked for my companies over the years, of which there are a total of nearly 700 today. Whether you are a current employee of mine, or one of my employees from the past, I would love for you to chime in here and bring back some fond memories of your experience working for my companies. That would be a great gift to me, if you’re so inclined?I started in this business, while I was still a mailman, and at the tender young age of 22, had a flashback of my childhood, when I saw my nephew GJ, who still works for me now, and is my longest tenured employee at 39 years, reading a comic book while we were on vacation as a family in Wildwood, New Jersey in 1972. When I got back from vacation, I made a mental note to ask people on my mail route if they had any old comic books. I’ll never forget the day, a lady on my route on Liberty Road showed me her son’s collection, which was all from the period I collected when I was a little boy. Her son was in college, where I should’ve been, but I had to go to work to support my mom as a teenager. Shortly after she sold me the comics, at which time I had no idea of value, I discovered the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide, which was in its third edition. How ironic that today, I’ve owned that publication for 27 years, and it is still the Bible of the industry. Armed with the knowledge of value, and an accumulation of comics I already had, or wasn’t interested in, I began going to comic book conventions, and before I knew it, I was making more money on the weekends than at my job, which led to the crazy decision to quit my good paying government job with benefits, while married and having two children. My entire family, needless to say, thought I had lost my mind. Were it not for the fact things turned out the way they did, they were probably right? Fast-forward 40 years, and my life is somewhat of a storybook tale.I do not take one second of this period of time, lo these 50 years in total, for granted. I cherish every second of this incredible ride with, not only pride, but great humility. God has been so good to me and my family, and I would be nothing without them. I hope you too will reflect on your lives, and realize that gratitude is the most important thing You can express each morning when you wake up. So many people have so many problems, far less than most of us do, and yet they wake up with gratitude, so why shouldn’t we all the more? I normally don’t post anything of this length, so I will cut it short here, before I end up writing a book, and maybe one day that is exactly what I should do, as many people have already suggested to me over the years. If I do, it won’t be for egotistical purposes, rather it will be to document this incredible industry so many of us are blessed to work in. For those of you who don’t work in this industry, I know you to benefit from the many different things that touch your lives each day also, not the least of which is the incredible ride that you’ve seen the movie industry take, as a result of the dominance comic book films have played in the last 20 years. I highly encourage anyone who has watched any of these movies, and yet has never read a comic book, to take a little chance, and do so. You will never regret it. You’ll start to understand the joy and camaraderie the pop-culture world, and comic books in particular, has provided for the many millions of collectors out there. Collecting is an addiction that cannot be cured. You could sooner cure yourself of a drug, tobacco, or gambling addiction, than you could collecting, and that’s a good thing! Please celebrate this incredible milestone anniversary with me, my employees, my family, and everyone in the industry, by chiming in on this post and sharing what you love about our wonderful industry. That’s the best anniversary gift you could ever give me!
So on this day, I wish them a hearty “Happy Birthday” and run their anniversary PR as sent:
On February 1st of 1982, President and CEO, Steve Geppi, transitioned from local retailer to comic book distributor with one warehouse and seventeen customers. Forty years later, Diamond has grown into the largest distributor of English-language comic books, graphic novels, and related pop culture merchandise worldwide.
Geppi’s accomplishments don’t stop with Diamond. Over the last forty years he has built an impressive network of pop culture related companies and brands under the name, Geppi Family Enterprises (GFE). Together, these companies position GFE as a leader in the wholesale distribution, licensing, publishing, grading, and preservation of comics, games, toys, and collectibles.
“None of this would have been possible without our customers, our vendors and of course our incredible employees,” said Geppi. “I am deeply grateful for the commitment to excellence and the dedication my teams bring to what they do every day. The fact that we are marking Diamond’s 40th anniversary today is a tribute to their hard work and gives us all reason to celebrate!”
From the beginning, Diamond has been dedicated to the specialized needs of the Direct Market and focused on continuous improvement. Whether it’s launching a new platform like PULLBOX that enables fans to manage subscriptions and order product for pick-up from their local comic shop, improving shipping boxes, providing new promotional opportunities for publishers, or supporting fan engagement through events like Free Comic Book Day, Diamond lives and breathes this industry.
“I am extremely proud of the important and proactive role Diamond and Geppi Family Enterprises have played and continues to play in this wonderful and dynamic industry,” says Chuck Parker, President of Diamond Comic Distributors. “When Steve launched Diamond 40 years ago, his vision was to create a company that was a true partner to customers and suppliers, as well as a place employees would be proud to work. I have been with Diamond for almost 37 years and while I have seen many changes in our industry, Diamond has stayed true to that vision.”
In addition to celebrating 40 years of service, Diamond is marking a few other key milestones this year. PREVIEWS, the definitive print source for upcoming comic books, graphic novels, toys, games, and more, premiered its 400th issue in January. This year also marks the 25th anniversary of Diamond’s dedicated customer service team and 20 years in Diamond’s consolidated inventory and shipping hub located in and around Olive Branch, MS.
Diamond plans to keep the celebration going all year long. Consumers and retailers can expect to see 40th Anniversary PREVIEWS Exclusives featuring commemorative logo stickers on the packaging, 40 weeks of special deals, commemorative ads inside PREVIEWS, a new look for the Diamondcomics.com homepage and more.