News and Notes July 15th – Pre-San Diego Edition

15Jul10

Comic Con is next week, so actual news and announcements have slowed to a relative trickle as rumors and speculation are heating up.  A few tidbits from the last week or so…

Courtesy of Entertainment Weekly we have our first glimpse at Ryan Reynolds as Green Lantern:

Flame away people!  (Personally, I think it looks just keen.  Far more interested in live-action footage)

For those who don’t know, the world lost Harvey Pekar this week. The Beat has a really well done retrospective on the man and his career.  One of the true legends of the comic book medium, his voice will be sorely missed.

News also came out this week of PVP removing itself from Image and future collections only being available directly through Scott Kurtz.  Ending the monthly book makes sense to me, it never was a huge seller, at least for me.  The change for the graphic novels confuses me, though.  Collections of online comic strips have become a good category of sales for me, the Perry Bible Fellowship Alamanck is one of my best selling books of the last year.  If I could speak to Mr. Kurtz, I would ask him simply, without any anger or accusatory tone, why is making it harder for retailers who want to stock your books to have access to the product a good idea?

Of course, there’s signs pointing towards another splintering of the distribution market on a regular basis, it seems.  ICv2 has news of two publishing houses entering the distribution game this week.  Not a huge deal yet, but like many things, give it time, the landscape could be shifting.  This leads us to…

Devil’s Due Publishing leaving Diamond Comics Distribution last week.  The interview with Josh Blaylock over at CBR, when reading between the lines, spells it out pretty clearly.  Diamond Book Distributors was owed money from DDP.  In order to recoup that money, Diamond Book Distributors took money earned from comics sold through Diamond Comics Distributors to whittle down that balance.  The first big problem here is that Diamond Book Distribution and Diamond Comics Distributors are, as far as I know, legally separate entities.  How is one able to reach across the legal lines and grab money from the other to satisfy separate debts?

Beyond that, here’s the real kicker, from my point of view.  Diamond Book Distribution supplies chains like Borders and Barnes and Noble.  It’s well known that DDP was crushed by a wave of returns from the chain stores, which in turn left DDP with a large outstanding debt to Diamond Book Distribution.  So the recourse was to take money from comic book sales to the direct market to pay off that debt.  The direct market was effectively subsidizing the bookstore market!

The bookstore market was being touted eight to ten years ago as the savior of comics, and here we are, with the direct market being used to pay bills racked up by the bookstore market.

Now, digital comics distribution is being touted by pundits as the next savior of comics and publishers appear all too eager to throw the direct market under the bus to chase after that digital panacea.

It really makes me wonder what might have happened (or what still might happen) if the Direct Market as a whole were ever treated by publishers as a real business partner and sales channel.

One final note, we still have copies of Shadowland #1 available from last week’s free comic deal.

And speaking of free comics, keep an eye on the blog this weekend for an awesome new promotion…we’ll be giving out free comics every single week!

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