Diamond Comic Distributors Archives - Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources
The creators of The Walking Dead: The Prison board game may have jumped the gun over the weekend when they canceled their Kickstarter campaign and announced an exclusive agreement with Diamond Comic Distributors and its subsidiary Alliance Game Distributors.
“We have not agreed to an exclusive distribution deal for this game,” John Wurzer, Diamond’s vice president of purchasing, tells ICv2.com. “We have been having discussions regarding the possibility of a distribution agreement, but none is in place.”
Launched early last month, the Kickstarter campaign was intended to raise $81,100 to produce a licensed standalone sequel to Z-Man Games’ hit 2011 release Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead: The Board Game, based on the bestselling comic series (rather than the television adaptation, like Cryptozoic’s game). But on Saturday, after securing $31,830 in pledges, the creators announced they had struck “an amazing distribution deal with the perfect distribution partner,” and therefore didn’t “feel comfortable continuing to ask for funding money through Kickstarter.”
ICv2 reached out to game designer Keith Tralins, who replied, “I can’t really comment right now, other to say [sic] that discussions are ongoing.”
Set for Saturday, May 3, Free Comic Book Day 2014 boasts 60 titles, ranging from the Bongo Free-For-All and The Smurfs to Guardians of the Galaxy and the 2000AD Special.
Ever the salesman, Lee delivers his lines with flair, and plenty of hand gestures, directing folks to their local comic book store on Saturday, May 3 for this year’s event, which boasts some 60 titles.
Graphic novels | Marvel and DC Comics may dominate the direct market but the bookstore channel is another story: As ICv2 points out, neither publisher landed a title on Nielsen BookScan’s list of the 20 top-selling graphic novels in February. Instead, here’s what it looked like: six volumes of The Walking Dead, six volumes of Attack on Titan, two volumes of Saga, and single volumes of some well-established titles Locke & Key, Bleach, Naruto, Adventure Time and Avatar: The Last Airbender, and the adaptation of the novel Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. That makes Image Comics the winner of the month, followed by Kodansha Comics, and the list is heavy on books with tween and teen appeal. [ICv2]
Diamond Comic Distributors’ digital comics program, Diamond Digital, will shut down on Friday, although titles purchased through the service will continue to be available via iVerse’s Comics Plus app.
The news broke Friday at The Hollywood Reporter, where Graeme McMillan picked up on an email sent to retailers two weeks ago. The stated reason: “18 months after its launch, results indicate that Diamond Digital has not gained enough traction in the marketplace to continue.”
There are a lot of reasons why Diamond Digital didn’t work, but I think chief among them is the initial concept was flawed. The idea wasn’t to provide readers with a simple, easy-to-use digital comics service; it was to protect brick-and-mortar retailers by providing them with a digital comics service that wouldn’t compete with them. That drive to avoid competition resulted in a clunky and almost-unusable platform. Meanwhile, comiXology took a different tack and expanded the comics market, bringing in new readers — who then found their way to comics shops and bought print comics.
Of course, the biggest problem operationally was that Diamond Digital catered to a market dominated by Marvel and DC but didn’t carry single-issue comics from either publisher. And granted, that is a huge flaw.
In documents filed last week in federal bankruptcy court in Omaha, Nebraska, the retailer lists $45,000 in assets and $919,000 in debt, of which $325,000 is owed to Diamond Comic Distributors.
Signs of trouble with Mail Order Comics became apparent last month when customers began complaining on the store’s now-deleted Facebook page about unfulfilled orders and website troubles. Discount Comic Book Service quickly stepped in to fulfill all orders.
DC Entertainment led with six awards, including Top Dollar Comic of the Year for Superman Unchained #1, with Dark Horse closed behind with five wins, including Original Graphic Novel of the Year for Hellboy: The Midnight Circus hardcover. Marvel earned honors for Top Dollar Comic Book Publisher of the Year and Comic Book of the Year (Under $3), for The Superior Spider-Man #1 NOW!
Other winners include Archie Comics’ Afterlife with Archie #1 for Comic Book of the Year (Under $3), Top Shelf Productions’ March: Book One for Indie GN of the Year, and Image Comics’ East of West for Best New Comic Book Series. The complete list can be found below.
Nominees were selected by a panel of Diamond Comic Distributors product specialist based on their impact on the industry (for the vendors), and sales performance and quality (for the products). The winners were then chosen by direct market retailers.
Saturday is the deadline to get your order form for this month’s Previews catalog to your local comic book shop. With that date looming, Edison Rex co-creators Chris Roberson and Dennis Culver are hoping to make Edison Rex, Vol. 2: Heir Apparent one of the most-wanted trade paperbacks.
In fact, writer Roberson and artist Culver concocted an eye-catching wanted poster to drum up interest in the upcoming collection, which includes issues 7-12 of the Monkeybrain Comics digital series. The creative team was quite willing to discuss the latest news with me about the villain turned superhero.
Here’s another public service announcement for the Wednesday crowd: Comic books will go on sale Tuesday in the United States because Wednesday is New Year’s Day. The same thing occurred last week because of Christmas.
Unlike last week, when the shipping list was light, Tuesday will see a pretty full lineup of new releases, including Star Wars Omnibus: Dark Times, Vol. 1, Talon #14 (the final issue), Dead Boy Detectives #1, the new printing of Walt Simonson’s Mighty Thor Artist’s Edition, Rocket Girl #3, Deadpool by Joe Kelly Omnibus, Savage Wolverine #13, Rachel Rising #22 and X-O Manowar, Vol. 4.
You can see the complete list of titles shipping this week on the Diamond Comic Distributors website.
ComiXology even provides a handy visual reminder (at right).
Granted, this isn’t a huge week for new releases, but it does see the arrival of such titles as Forever Evil #4, Justice League #26, Conan, Vol. 14: The Death, Robotech Voltron #1, Doctor Who Special 2013, The Saviors #1, Avengers #24.NOW and Origins II #1.
CEO Steve Geppi is putting the weight of Diamond Comic Distributors behind the search for 27 pieces of original art by Denys Cowan lost earlier this month by UPS in transit to Geppi’s Entertainment Museum in Baltimore.
“Over the next few days, we will be reaching out to as many people as possible,” Geppi said on the Diamond Galleries Scoop blog, which notes the comics distributor is a UPS customer. “Our goals are to let people know exactly what art is missing. [...] Not only will be using our various email newsletters and social media, we’ll be personally contacting comic art collectors and dealers and asking them to help spread the word. In fact, that effort is well under way.”
The art was headed to “Milestones: African Americans in Comics Pop Culture & Beyond,” an exhibit curated by Milestone co-founder Michael Davis, who revealed the loss, and his frustrations with UPS, on Wednesday. The box of Cowan’s original art, along with a separate package belonging to Davis, were sent for overnight delivery; however, Cowan’s shipment was delayed en route, with no explanation. When the package arrived, with new tape used to reseal it, just one of the 28 pieces of artwork remained — an interior page from Wolverine #125 by Cowan and Bill Sienkiewicz.
Among the missing art — a partial rundown can be found at the Scoop — are interior pages from Hardware and Steel, concept pieces for Static, Rocket and Hardware, and pieces featuring Batman. Davis has received little response from UPS.
(via The Beat)
Publishing | ICv2 has Nielsen BookScan’s Top 20 graphic novels for September, which reveals an interesting month for bookstore sales. First of all, there are five volumes of Attack on Titan on the list, which means 25 percent of September’s list comes from one series — and that series is not The Walking Dead. It sort of looks like the old days, with nine volumes of manga on the chart. What’s more, the non-manga side is dominated by older titles: Watchmen, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Batman: The Killing Joke, Fun Home… and a Garfield book. Once again, no Marvel releases — and no new DC Comics books — charted. [ICv2]
Conventions | ICv2 explains the significance of the partnership between Stan Lee’s Comikaze Expo and Diamond Comic Distributors, and the article gives some background on the Expo, which started in 2011 and has grown quickly into a solid regional event. [ICv2]
Publishing | ICv2 continues its look at August’s direct market numbers, declaring Marvel’s Infinity #1 a million-dollar book, the third this year to top $1 million in sales, thanks to its $4.99 cover price and estimated orders of 205,000 (DC Comics’ Justice League of America #1 and Superman Unchained #1 are the other two). However, it’s also important to note that Infinity #1 was offered to retailers at a deep discount (up to 70 percent). [ICv2]
Digital comics | Jeff DiBartolomeo explains why he left his job at HBO (he was one of the developers of their HBO Go app) to become chief technical officer at comiXology: “What’s interesting to me is seeing this market, which is one I’m not vary familiar with, and seeing the potential. It’s proving to be useful to have me come [to Comixology] with a different set of eyes, at a different angle.” [TechHive]
Publishing | Along with the usual statistics — dollar and unit share, sales rankings, etc. — Diamond Comics Distributors this month began reporting the number of new titles shipped by the top publishers: DC Comics, which edged out Marvel in terms of market share in July, had only a handful more, with 121 comics and graphic novels versus Marvel’s 118. [ICv2]
Conventions | Sean Kleefeld gives a brief account of a number of panels he attended at Wizard World Chicago, including the “Batman & Psychology” panel and two by webcomics maven Brad Guigar. [Kleefeld on Comics]
Creators | Avengers writer Jonathan Hickman talks about the upcoming six-issue event series Infinity. [USA Today]
While some delight has already been taken in the debut of X-Men atop Diamond Comic Distributors’ May sales chart — the title’s all-female cast remains a magnet for rancor from some shadowy corners — the bigger story may be the long-term performance of the first Saga trade paperback.
ICv2 notes that the first volume of Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples’ space opera sold an estimated 7,552 copies in May, securing the No. 2 spot on the graphic novel chart, behind BOOM! Studios’ Adventure Time: Playing With Fire. That in itself is pretty impressive, but that Saga collection was released eight months ago.
The Image Comics book has charted in the Top 10 in all but one of those months (it slipped to No. 13 in November); however, May’s 7,552 copies represents a 65-percent increase from April, and the most in any month since January, when it sold 8,456 copies. In total, Saga, Vol. 1, has sold an estimated 53,000 copies in North American comic shops.
And that’s only in the direct market: As ICv2 points out, Saga is creeping back up the BookScan chart for graphic novels sold in bookstores.
Saga‘s status as a hit and a long-term seller comes as no surprise, but that direct-market surge (65 percent!) and book-market uptick this far from the book’s debut are certainly eye-openers. Is the boost a result of good word of mouth, the impending release of the second collection, or the widespread attention given to the merry mix-up in April, when it was erroneously announced that Issue 12 had been banned from the Apple App Store?
I’d place money on the latter (although word of mouth undoubtedly plays a significant role in the book’s overall performance). Of course, we should never discount the contributions of Lying Cat …