As I understand it, during the USA lockdown DC Comics agreed with Diamond Comic Distributors to suspend their distribution agreement for April and May. DC then came back in May and asked to continue this into June as well, to which Diamond agreed. Then DC came back to request the split continue until the end of July. Diamond had not said no, but did ask a few ‘questions’. Rather than reply to the questions, DC just summararily terminated their association immediately.
This decision would be extraordinary in good trading times, but in the middle of a worldwide pandemic with most stores struggling to survive both in America and the UK, this is an almost market destroying move.
This announcement has caused fury, anger and disbelief throughout the comic industry. In the short term there will be DC product arriving at UK stores during June. For us and other UK retailers to continue to supply their product into July and beyond, we will all need to set up accounts with the DC preferred distributors who are only based in the US. This will inevitably make DC comics more expensive – possibly by up to 100% as the net prices on offer from these new suppliers are much higher, plus there will be higher shipping charges to the UK. Meanwhile, all the other publishers still distributing with Diamond will remain at current prices. Marvel, Image and all the other publishers can only benefit from this situation in the UK at least.
I have read a lot of people cheering the demise of Diamond’s monopoly on the industry, without realising that the situation hasn’t really changed. People talk of competition, but there is still none. The two new distributors hold the monopoly on DC comics now instead of Diamond. That is all that is different. Perhaps a better and fairer outcome would be if DC heeded the tsunami of concern being expressed and allowed Diamond to still distribute DC product alongside the new channels.
As it stands, we are currently assessing the situation with regard to DC product for us in the UK and hopefully things should become clearer in the week ahead. We will post updates when we know how things stand moving forward.
In the meantime, there is plenty of reaction online to this quite seismic event for you to consume (ComicsBeat composed an interesting reaction here: www.comicsbeat.com/dc-diamond-split/).