Back when this pandemic thing first began, several economic relief packages were floated as part of the CARES Act, including small business loans known as PPP (Payment Protection Program) loans. The loans were to help with payroll to keep people employed – with the loans forgivable if 60% of the money went to payroll.
We already know that many comics publishers and shops sensibly applied for and received loans. As reported here, Diamond Comic Distributors is among them. A vast database of loans that were granted has been put up by the SBA, and companies of all kinds and sizes can be found there.
ICv2 took a look at Diamond’s loan – somewhere between $5-10 million for the main company and smaller loans for two subsidiaries. We did an eyeball glazing search for other publishers and shops and came up with the following table.
|$5-10 million||DIAMOND COMIC DISTRIBUTORS, INC|
|$2-5 million||ANDREWS MCMEEL UNIVERSAL|
|$2-5 million||DARK HORSE MEDIA, LLC|
|$2-5 million||NEWBURY COMICS INC|
|$2-5 million||VIZ MEDIA LLC|
|$1-2 million||IDW MEDIA HOLDINGS|
|$1-2 million||SAN DIEGO COMIC CONVENTION|
|$1-2 million||STAR CITY COMICS & GAMES, INC.|
|$350,000-1 million||ARCHIE COMIC PUBLICATIONS, INC.|
|$350,000-1 million||BOOM ENTERTAINMENT, INC.|
|$350,000-1 million||IMAGE COMICS, INC.|
|$350,000-1 million||LONE STAR COMICS AND SCIENCE FICTION INC|
|$350,000-1 million||MIDTOWN COMICS ONLINE INC-SBA SMALL 7A TERM|
|$350,000-1 million||ONI-LION FORGE PUBLISHING GROUP, LLC|
|$350,000-1 million||ROSEBUD ENTERTAINMENT, LLC|
|$350,000-1 million||SKYBOUND, LLC|
|$350,000-1 million||VALIANT ENTERTAINMENT LLC|
|$150,000-350,000||A-1 COMICS INC|
|$150,000-350,000||DIAMOND SELECT TOYS & COLLECTIBLES, LLC|
|$150,000-350,000||DYNAMIC FORCES INC|
|$150,000-350,000||FANTAGRAPHICS BOOKS INC|
|$150,000-350,000||GRAHAM CRACKERS COMICS LTD|
|$150,000-350,000||MADNESS GAMES & COMICS|
|$150,000-350,000||MIDTOWN COMICS INC-SBA SMALL 7A TERM|
|$150,000-350,000||NEW DIMENSION COMICS INC|
|$150,000-350,000||ZENESCOPE ENTERTAINMENT INC.|
There’s nothing too surprising here if you follow our business reporting. The loans were based on payroll and expenses, so they indicate the size of the company based on employees, not on profits or revenue. Thus Midtown’s online business got a larger loan than its retail arm.
It’s also not anything to be ashamed of – applying for aid during an economic shutdown is a smart move to keep people on the payroll and keep companies afloat, and it’s good that these comics companies were able to receive aid.
Now, we did hear that many actual small businesses, including comics shops, had a harder time getting loans, and there are lots of stories about billionaires getting payouts, from Kanye West to Soho House. And of course there was fraud, like using PPP money to pay for a new house in the case of the CEO of Wendy’s. Nice one!
But at least some publishers, shops and entities did get some support, which was reportedly useful, according to the cases we’ve heard. And certainly with comics unavailable for sale for seven weeks, everybody needed a little boost.
Thousands and thousands of smaller loans were also granted, but not the names of who received them, so we won’t be combing through those databases.
Many comics shops also received money from BINC, the Book Industry Charitable Foundation. And several comics-focused charities are underway to support retailers even more. And who knows, with COVID-19 still on the prowl we may even see a second wave of aid.