With the seismic news that DC is no longer exclusive with Diamond for distribution of comics periodicals, Diamond has just released a statement:

“We value our partnership with DC and will continue to support them as a distributor. Our focus is squarely on getting our industries’ entertainment products in the hands of fans as quickly and as safely as possible. As we shared this morning with our vendors and retailers, we are currently building our restart plans and targeting mid- to late-May to being shipping new weekly product. If we see signs that it is safe to resume shipping earlier, we certainly will. However, with the limited number of retailers open and most customers on stay-at-home orders, our focus is on supporting our industry and the health and safety of our stakeholders.”

While Diamond plans to begin shipping comics in mid-May, DC has just announced plans to begin shipping comics for onsale on 4/27 via two new distributors, Lunar and UCS. Shops can continue to use Diamond to ship DC comics when they are available.

As this news ripples across the industry we’re getting many conflicting opinions. But who are Lunar and UCS? Keep checking the Beat for all that we know about this.

 

9 COMMENTS

  1. UCS appears to be connected to Midtown, while Lunar could well be DCBS, given the Indiana phone number. That lends to the interpretation this is a stopgap using mail-order operations that are still able to ship, not a major distribution move.

    Both Midtown and DCBS are already Diamond clients, so this may be as simple as a sub-distribution shop-to-shop arrangement, which is already provided for under the brokerage agreements; that might not even require any contractual renegotiation. We shall see.

  2. This could be a positive. I never would have thought that competition in comic distribution would return.

    Maybe DC didn’t want all their eggs in the Diamond basket, and is helping create new competition.

  3. I understand that DC might be looking for more options distributionwise, and contrary to earlier accusations of DC leaving the Direct Market to rot, this seems like a move made to support the retailers. Some retailers reportedly are angry because large competitors are involved, but it seems unrealistic to me for any outside party to be interested in the distribution of comics, especially in the current climate. All big players past and present in comics distribution have come from inside comics (correct me if I’m wrong.)

  4. i mean, honestly, 99% of the DM cannot possibly really think they are “competing” with dcbs or midtown…the scale of those operations dwarf “bobs comic hut”.

  5. For those keeping up with the order of events and discourse:

    Covid-19 causes businesses everywhere to shutter or limit services, including Diamond, effectively halting new print comics in place
    Reaction: Wow, another symptom of Diamond’s monopoly, why don’t the publishers figure out a way to innovate and try something new?
    Comics Hub, a new service allowing customers to purchase new digital comics and pick up corresponding physical copies from stores, is announced then immediately canceled.
    Reaction: The comics market simultaneously doesn’t read digital AND will destroy comics stores if it leans on digital at all during this crisis.
    DC reaches out to a couple of larger mail-order comics retailers to handle their distribution while Diamond’s still under.
    Reaction: Wow DC, way to stick a knife in our back! Comic shops survive thanks to local flavor and sense of community, but allowing DCBS and Midtown Comics to ship your product will cause all my customers to jump ship to the competition!

  6. The problem with the mentality of saying “most shops aren’t competing with Midtown or DCBS” is that you’re right but if DCBS and Midtown get their hands on a small shop’s customer list and sends an email out saying something like “Hey we can give you a better discount than your local shop and deliver them to your door in case this level of pandemic ever happens again.”

    Are you pro shutting down all LCS in small areas? Are you pro shutting down any and all non major comic shops? Because that’s their goal. This isn’t a salve or a bandaid. This is Midtown and DCBS getting access to more customers from shops around the country and using it to their advantage. Just like we all knew the Comichub thing was too.

    Midtown and DCBS are not doing this out of the kindness of their hearts

  7. Do you think diamond had the customer lists of their accounts? Why would ucs or lunar have that? And with the internet and social media, midtown and dcbs can already reach everyone with such an offer, yet people still shop at their lcs.

    I bought through dcbs for about a year when i was living somewhere with a couple of very underwhelming comic shops. When i moved, i went back to a local. If youre lcs gives people a reason to shop, they will always support. Conversely there are also customers will only ever want to pay as little as possible, those people already order from dcbs in advance and would not change.

  8. DCBS and Midtown are going to be distributing comics for DC at the same time that they will be dependent on Diamond to provide them comics from other publishers. So they will be both a customer and a competitor with Diamond. That’s weirder than trying to figure out whether Goofy and Pluto are both dogs.

    I can’t see this arrangement lasting for very long before either DCBS or Midtown make an accusation (rightly or wrongly) that Diamond has done something unfair in how their order for Marvel’s (or whomever’s) comics was handled in retaliation for taking at least a share of DC’s business.

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