DC’s Red Christmas

DC’s Red Christmas

Round Three of the executions came down at DC right before Christmas.  

And DC wasn’t polite enough to tell the condemned they were being sent to the wall.  These artists and writers found out by looking at the (slashed to the bone) solicitations list that DC sent out. And discovering, to their horror, that the projects they are working on were NOT being offered for sale. 

Most businesses don’t like to drag a condemned man into a new tax year, but you usually tell that guy he is fired, first. Rather than literally letting him be the last one to know.

 According to reliable rumor, the only people that will be left are the junior deputy assistant back up interns.  They don’t know anything; they know it shows and they are terrified. 

The know what has to come at the end of the road.

Not that it really matters at this point.  Some of the comic book shops are fed up with DC’s distribution platforms.

From Arkhaven Comics Blog:

DC sent the comic shops that couldn’t open into an apoplectic fury by breaking the monopoly and hiring new distributors.  Since these are the same shops that said, Arkhaven readers “aren’t our customers!” I suppose it’s technically none of our business but it’s amusing to watch them flail.  Anyway, the California shops were pissed AF that some shops in other states were going to be getting new comics when they couldn’t even open their doors.  And held quite the tantrum over it.

DC went forward anyway, and USC and Lunar became their new distributors. There were, however, a lot of questions at the time about these guys ability to handle the job.

Now there are answers to those questions and a lot them are, “no, they can’t.”

DC announced that in defiance of the entire history of comic books that they will now accept returns of unsold comics.  Up until now, the comic shops were stuck with whatever they bought whether it sold or not.   If a comic didn’t sell, they either threw it out or put it in the $1 long box.  Now there is an option (B) for DC comics only.

USC appears to have suddenly become a lot less interested in being a DC distributor when they found about shops being able to remainder unsold merch. They are out.

And now Lunar has announced a bunch of restrictions. 

From: Bleeding Cool

“But Lunar has been making plans and, now with a much larger market to service, they are bringing in restrictions. It is likely that these are imposed by DC Comics, and it could even be a reason that UCS declined to go forward. Firstly, Lunar states that they have leased a new warehouse and are “currently beefing up our warehouse and CSR staff to handle the influx of new retailers from UCS.” They also confirmed Bleeding Cool’s account that stores will now to make a minimum of $125 worth of orders a week or $500 per month. With new details that those retailers who don’t make a weekly total will have their order suspended until the following weeks, and those who don’t make $500 a month over a three month period will see their account suspended.

But the big change is that Lunar Distribution will now be enforcing certain other requirements for stores to keep their accounts. They must meet one of the three criteria listed:

Brick and Mortar store

Dedicated direct to consumer website with a functioning shopping cart

Online platform selling direct to consumers in a format other than auctions

Lunar states that they will be auditing accounts and that retailers “may be asked to provide proof that you have satisfied one of the three criteria”. What does that mean? It means those who order solely for eBay will be cut out. Will that include those who just use Amazon Marketplace? We’ll see if that counts as their own “online platform”. But it also cuts out buying clubs, where fans group together to buy comics at retailer discounts.”

Well, at least DC Comics is still selling to someone.

Yeah, about that last part, Me of the Past…

Diamond Distribution is many unpleasant things to the comic book shops but one thing they aren’t is a competitor. Lunar is, they have their own direct market operation. And far from creating efficiency by breaking the Diamond monopoly, Lunar has been so inefficient that DC is raising the prices on some titles from (the overpriced) $4.00 comic to (a ridiculous) $5.00 a comic.  Not only will there be fewer titles, but the higher price also guarantees lowered sales.

Some of these comic book shops are facing certain realities and are doing the unthinkable. THEY ARE CANCELING DC COMICS.  

Why wouldn’t they?  At this point, DC is starting to look like just another Indy brand, and it’s one that demands special privileges. More important.  It’s one that doesn’t look like it has much of a future. The only reason I can think of for Warner to keep publishing any comics at all is that they will completely lose the rights to Wonder Woman if they stop publishing her.  The Marston Estate still owns her.  But things seem to be so screwed up at DC at this point, I could see that one falling between the floorboards.  Either by accident or because of active hostility towards Warner Media.

They are the ones who are about to put the sign up at DC, “Would the last man fired please turn out the lights.”

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