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Z2 adds Devin Funches as director of retail sales

He'll lead several new initiatives for sales in the DM and record shops

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Z2 Comics got on the map for its music-related publishing program — working with artists from Joan Jett to Poppy — and they’ve just announced a key new hire to oversee a renewed push into the direct market. Industry vet Devin Funches has been hired as Director of Retail Sales, where he will oversee several new initiatives, including a direct sales program geared toward comic book specialty retailers and independent record stores.

Funches is formerly of Oni/Lion Forge, where he served as sales manager for five years. Previously he was at BOOM!, Acosta and Coca–Cola. He’s definitely one of the most knowledgeable people about the DM out there, and will help Z2 as they build their direct sales and specialty retailer programs.

Currently Z2 is distributed to the book trade via Simon & Schuster and to the direct market via Diamond, but they also have sales via the artists they work with — prior to the pandemic, their music-based graphic novels were sold at live event merch tables, for instance.

But as they build more retail outlets, they’ve also announced a new fulfillment facility in Denver. In addition, starting today, stores can order product direct from Z2 with competitive shipping rates, discount tiers based on volume, and returnability across all titles after only 60 days. Additionally, Z2 will offer non-returnable exclusive deluxe retail packages unique to stores who participate in this program with no minimum order per account. Participating stores will also have the first opportunity at hosting touring Z2 musicians, inclusive of signings, possible in-store performances and more!

Devin Funches is the person to help roll all this out, Z2 says.

“Devin Funches had always impressed me at industry events and sales presentations” says publisher Josh Frankel in a statement. “He has a genuine understanding of the unique challenges and opportunities for graphic novels at retail and is well liked and respected throughout the industry. I couldn’t be more excited to add him to the team and am confident that Z2 is well positioned to bring new customers into comic shops and record stores with a truly unique product that crosses audiences and formats.”

“I couldn’t be more excited to lead our sales efforts alongside my former colleague and friend Jeremy Atkins, innovative publisher Josh Frankel, and the whole team here at Z2,” says Funches. “What Z2 has established is a compelling new formula for bringing new readers into the comic book medium, tapping into what is perhaps the most universally enjoyed form of entertainment on the planet. We wanted to come up with some solutions for our retail partners to take some of the risk out of bringing our products into the their stores, and help ensure they have the tools to not only sell our books, but to court these fanbases ready to fall in love with this art form we all work so hard to promote. I was able to help take Lion Forge from a passionate publisher largely unknown to the market in 2016 to the center of the conversation around trends in the industry, and growing sales year over year. I can’t wait to be a part of doing that again here at Z2.”

Z2’s fulfillment center in Denver, CO will be overseen by co-founder Sridhar Reddy, with a warehouse team led by Isaiah Kelley, and a fulltime staff to ship orders.

Reddy comments “We’re extremely excited to vertically integrate Z2’s operations to optimize our current direct-to-consumer program and drive our innovative direct sales initiative. Building our warehouse operations during the pandemic has allowed us to adapt in realtime to a rapidly evolving market landscape, one that has dramatically shifted purchasing habits online and simultaneously created a consumer hunger for a return to retail. Isaiah has assembled a young and forward-thinking fulfilment team — Clarence Head, Dominique Kelly and Orlando Black Eyes — who have stepped up to meet the demands of the moment and grow into the future of fulfilment and distribution.”

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