Last week, the big bombshell was Marvel being bought by Disney.
This week, DC announced structural changes, bringing the comics division under the control of the movie division.
Which sends cold chills down my spine.
There is a bit of history here.
Back in the early 90's, comics had a good, old fashioned bubble. Got big for a couple of years, lots of speculation; variant covers, shiny covers, short prints, the whole playbook.
When sales took a big hit, all the comics shops were scrambling to survive. It would have been tough, no matter what happened.
But Marvel panicked. They blamed the distribution system and the retailers for the declining sales. They decided they could distribute direct to the retailers themselves.
It was an utter disaster. Turns out distributing hundreds of titles a month to thousands of shops wasn't as easy as they thought. It had the effect of taking an already deflating bubble and popping it.
DC's reaction was even more harmful. They decided they would go exclusive as well, and the remaining distributors fought for their business. Image and Dark Horse, the third and fourth largest comic companies followed suit. There was one major survivor, Diamond Comics, who won, guess what, by making the best deal with the comic companies, a lower percentage.
When Marvel came crawling back to Diamond, there were less than 25% as many comic shops left, as well as only one distributor. Kind of a recipe for constantly declining sales. Less shops, means less exposure and so on.
This new development looks like a replay. An overreach and an overreaction to a already weakened market.
I hope they'll remember the golden rule for distribution -- do no harm.
4 days ago