Steve Geppi — founder of Diamond Comic Distributors — has opened up regarding the sequence of events that led to the company’s 25-year exclusive deal with DC Comics coming to an end, and the Burbank-based publisher enlisting other distributors to ship its books.
Back in April, DC — attempting to get its comics back on store shelves after Diamond suspended operations as a result of the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation — tapped Lunar Distribution and UCS Comic Distributors to begin shipping print versions of its titles to participating comic book shops. Speaking with Newsarama, Geppi not only confirmed that this multi-distributor model changed the terms of Diamond and DC’s agreement, but also explained that the genesis for this development took place over one whole year before the pandemic began.
“DC, in their last contract renewal a year-and-a-half ago, asked to add a clause where they could get out of the exclusive part with 60 days notice with no reason needed. We agreed,” he said. “Then the pandemic came on, and they exercised that option. They’re non-exclusive, and that allowed them to sell to those others. That was that.”
Geppi went on to detail the original terms of Diamond’s working relationship with DC. “For 25 years, Diamond had a contract to exclusively distribute DC’s comic books to the direct sale comic book market. It wasn’t about geography or brick-and-mortar, but about terms of sale. If you are a customer buying non-returnable comic books, you’re buying from Diamond.”
Geppi says DC told him that its new distribution model is only temporary. “No one’s defined ‘temporary’ though, so DC may continue, or may change again,” he shared. “Based on what DC has told me, it was temporary — to solve the problem of books not being shipped.” The Diamond founder said this development will not affect DC’s status as one of the company’s “Premier Publishers.” However, he also said Diamond “may eventually differentiate ‘Premier’ publishers who are exclusive and ‘Premier’ publishers who are not.”
As far as Lunar Distribution is concerned, company co-owner Christina Merkler previously explained to Newsarama that its long-term plans are uncertain. Lunar, a new company, began distribution to fill the void left in Diamond’s absence, and will weigh its options moving forward once things go back to normal as far as the comic book direct market is concerned.
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Diamond Comic Distributors founder Steve Geppi opened up about the sequence of events that lead to DC Comics going non-exclusive after 25 years.