Welcome to the Diamond Retailer Breakfast! Ever wonder what goes on at these regular-fans-can’t-get-into-panels? Wonder. No. More.
Before heading into the presentation, I had a chance to sit down with a few retailers over eggs, bacon, sausage and much-needed coffee.
“What do you think of the breakfast?”
“Well, at least it didn’t arrive late or damaged.”
From England to Ohio, Marvel sales are in decline. One British shop owner said he’s been a Marvel shop for over 20 years, but his Marvel sales are at their lowest that he can remember. Another retailer, from Ohio, had a similar story. He described his clientele as “families who work in coal mines. These are the people who voted for Trump. They don’t want to be preached to by their comics.” He said his Marvel sales have all shifted to DC and Image. I asked him which DC titles were selling well now, besides Batman. “Surprisingly, Super Sons. But think about it. It’s two kids with superpowers who are friends.” He said that Superman is the title with the most improving sales month to month. The British retailer was shocked by this. But Ohio continued, saying, “Every month since Rebirth started I’m upping my order on Superman.”
Having our fill of coffee and bacon and coffee, we headed into the Diamond presentation.
Diamond is currently rolling out two new programs to its retailer partners.
New To Order – This online tool will allow retailers to order merchandise ahead of it showing up in Previews. This will mainly be for merchandise that is showing up in mass market stores.
ACH Online Payments – Diamond is piloting an ACH online payment program. Any retailers interested in this should talk to representatives at the Diamond booth during NYCC.
Updating Comic Suite – 25% of stores in US and Canada are using point of sale software now. Diamond is updating their POS, Comics Suite. To be honest, I was surprised that the number was only 25%, but that may be from living in the New York City comic store bubble.
A few publishers were on hand to present to the retailers in attendance.
Titan: Just released was issue one of a new iteration of FightingAmerican. Retailers in attendance received a variant copy of #1 that said “No Secrets. No Empires.” on the cover. Ohhh, shots fired at Marvel! Cheeky, Titan, very cheeky. Titan’s vinyl figures lines expanding to include Archer, Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill and Game of Thrones
DC: The presentation was very Doomsday Clock-centric. A video of Geoff Johns talking about the inspiration for Doomsday Clock, it came out of the elections in the US and Europe and other world news events. There will be a Doomsday Clock ashcan given out at the Friday Doomsday Clock NYCC panel. The rep said, “There is something in there that will make you increase your orders.”
DarkHorse: A new Buffy mini, Giles, will be co-written by Joss Whedon, and debuts in February. American Gods is Dark Horse’s best-selling comics of 2017. A hardcover collection due out in March. American Gods series 2 will debut in March. Umbrella Academy will be back in 2018. New The new Hellboy movie will based on Hellboy: The Wild Hunt. Karen Berger gave a presentation on Berger Books. She talked up Hungry Ghosts by Anthony Bourdain, Joel Rose and Paul Pope. It’s a horror-anthology series inspired by Japanese lore. A followup to Inconegro, formerly published by Karen at Vertigo, is moving to Berger Books. Three books of Inconegro are planned in total, with a boxed set to be released once they’re all out. Mata Hari by Emma Beeby and Ariela Kristantina. This story is told from Mata Hari’s perspective as a fictionalized memoir. Emma Beeby is the first woman to have written Judge Dredd. The Seeds by David Aja and Ann Nocenti. This will be Aja’s first interior comics work since Hawkeye. Dark Horse is making issues #1 and #2 of the first four Berger Books series as fully returnable.
CBLDF: Bob Wayne came up to speak about how CBLDF is rolling out Retailer Rights Workshops to stores. CBLDF is releasing Panel Power in three languages. It’s aim is to turn kids into lifelong comics readers.
Valiant: X-O Manowar is Valiant’s best-selling series. X-O Manowar #1 was the biggest selling non-DC or Marvel ongoing comic debut of 2017. Secret Weapons #1 was the biggest selling non-DC or Marvel limited series #1 of 2017. Valiant has never shipped a single issue late. Ninja-K, the new Ninjak series, will have 40 pages of original art in the first issue. Ninja-K is being offered to retailers at 57.5% off with full returnability. Quantum and Woody #1 Ultra-Foil variant will feature the actual same foil used on the cover of Wildcats #2 from the early 90s. Valiant has found the warehouse storing all the leftover foil from 90s variants and is buying out their stock.
Boom: Boom’s presentation focused on what they’ve done for retailers this year. Boom cut their output by 15% in 2017 with another 4% cut recently. Boom’s motto for the presentation was “More money on less books.”Boom is trying to bring new customers into shops. Klaus is returning this holiday season, written by Grant Morrison. Volume 1 of Mech Cadet Yu by Greg Pak will be a direct market exclusive for its first five months of release. Boom bragged that they shipped their books 97% on time this year and complimented Valiant on maintaining 100% on time.
Will Eisner Week: The Will Eisner Foundation is supporting retailers who hold community programs, like joint events with local schools and libraries.
Everyone in attendance was handed a big bag of swag of variant covers and a Doomsday Clock t-shirt.I’m pretty sure some retailers were crafting eBay listings for the swag while sitting in the panel. I was particularly impressed with DC having t-shirts on hand that weren’t just XL or XXL, but ran the gamut from S-XXXL. It’s nice that the giveaways weren’t aimed at “one size fits some of you.”