Many of you will be already be aware that late Friday afternoon, news broke via Hollywood Reporter and other sources that DC would no longer be distributing their comic books, graphic novels and collectibles through Diamond Comic Distributors, ending a 25 year partnership.
During the US and UK lockdowns, most publishers chose to put their comics schedule on hold, understanding that printers, logistics and comic shops would be affected by the lockdown. DC were the only publisher to decide to quickly resume regardless of the crisis, continuing to publish their comics digitally and announcing partnerships with two new "temporary" distributors. It wasn't initially disclosed - but was quickly discovered by canny US comic book retailers - that these new distributors were actually owned and operated by two of the largest online comic book retailers in the United States.
As you may imagine, this didn't sit well with the mostly independent community of US comic book retailers, with a large majority preferring to not sign up for an untested service operated by deep-discounting competitors, rallying behind the social media hashtag, #WaitForDiamond.
Here in the UK, we had no choice. Diamond UK had completely locked down too - quite rightly halting service halfway through a delivery consignment from the US - and neither of these two new distributors were offering shipping to the UK. Which makes sense, because of course, they were only temporary. And in fairness, we would have also preferred to #WaitForDiamond.
Recently, Diamond started back up again, with a slow but steady trickle of new comic books. Most publishers have re-evaluated and spaced out their release schedules, ensuring that most beleaguered retailers and cash-strapped customers aren't suddenly overwhelmed by a flood of new purchases (though it is notable that DC's comics are coming through at a a pace not seen since the early days of the New 52, as Diamond struggled to catch up with the issues DC had published during the lockdown!). There was a great sense of re-ignition across the whole industry, with publishers and retailers triumphantly supporting Diamond's #BackTheComeback campaign, hints of a revised date for Free Comic Book Day, and even new publishing initiatives to help the Direct Market.
Here at Proud Lion Comics, we have been considering our position come June 15th (and we will be releasing a statement in the next few days) and greatly appreciate the efforts being made to support our industry by the publishers, creators, fellow retailers, Diamond Comics themselves and of course, all of our wonderful customers.
This news from DC is a kick in the teeth for almost everyone. Which is probably why they released the news on a Friday, when there'd be little time for scrutiny. UK comic book retailers didn't receive the email from DC that is spoken about in the Hollywood Reporter article as far as we know; it seems we all learned about it at the same time as many of yourselves, and Diamond UK who were understandably caught completely off-guard.
If you're wondering what happens next, so are we.
The final issues of any DC Comics we will receive through Diamond will arrive Wednesday 24th June:
There will be no DC titles released through any physical distribution channel on Wednesday 1st July; publications will then resume via the two new US distributors the week after.
Here's what we do know:
Ultimately, we don't know what's going to happen next, and anything more becomes speculation. We await an official statement from Diamond UK - once they've had chance to assess this sudden seismic shift - and at the moment we are trying to remain hopeful that a clearer vision of the path ahead will emerge in the next few days. We're not impressed with this decision, but we're not breaking out the Kryptonite and blowing up the Batcave just yet.
We ask that you refrain from sending in any questions about this for now, because this is all we know at present. Many thanks.