Ma Bell is Pulling the Trigger on DCThe Dark Herald
Where there is smoke there is not necessarily fire but that said, there is a LOT of smoke here.
However, be advised we are entering the rumor zone. I do not have direct contact with any of the players. But these rumors do make sense, the sources have been reliable in past and the word is that…
…Diamond Distributers is buying DC Comics.
Beloved Reader: What is Diamond Distributors?
You ask and the Dark Herald answers:
When I was a kid there was no such thing as a comic book shop. There was only the drugstore turnstile.
The only issues available to you were ones that were on the turnstile. If you were following a prolonged story arc and your local five and dime didn’t carry it that month you just plain missed that episode of the story.
Your only hope of being able to catch up with it, is if you were enough of a nerd to go to a comic book convention. There you would find a herd of tubby guys who loved comics enough to load up a bunch of long-boxes into their creepy-ass windowless vans (with bad mural art on them) and drive from convention to convention. The more sensible ones had day jobs to support them but they all wanted to make it in comics and it just wasn’t going to happen for them due to the fact that the openings were very limited.
Then in the early 1970s a guy named Phil Seuling got DC and Marvel to agree to a new system in which he would act as their middleman. They didn’t actually have one that was dedicated strictly to comics before then.
That changed everything for the comic book guys. The first comic book shops of the Seventies flopped but they paved the way for the totally gnarly comic book shops of the Eighties. Now these shops, by comic book nerd for comic book nerds, created a marketplace for independent comic publishers.
Titles like Elf Quest, Rocketeer and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles began appearing on their shelves, (which were actual shelves). I admit I am viewing these stores through rose colored glasses, but I did love them back in the day. It was a place you could go and hang out and the owner would hate you for not having a shopping agenda. Although, the owner was just doing this store thing until his comic book about a Fat Ninja (that was real) took off.
As with all things that are expanding too fast, there came a crash. A lot of the comic artists decided it was time to let the dream die and got real jobs. There was a Gaiman inflated second bubble of adult-oriented (which is to first wave Gen-X readers) comics in the 1990s. This led to another crash about the same time Sandman ended its run. Fairchild couldn’t keep their doors open.
There was a system of multiple distributers in place for a while. And by multiple, I mean more than one. But that changed after DC comics tried to take it all over. The short story is that they failed, which left Diamond Distributers as the only game in town. Diamond has held, (up until quite recently), the monopoly on comic shop distribution.
The comic book industry did absolutely nothing to future-proof itself. There was the occasional and halfhearted attempt to attract younger readers but after a while, they give up on what had been their traditional market and just concentrated on bald tubby guys with ponytails and BO.
It was a dying market to be certain but why would that matter? The comic books themselves weren’t valuable but the intellectual properties damn well were. Once X-Men came out the future became obvious and that future was being a parasite on a corporate body that was so vast that the annual losses for comic book divisions were basically a rounding error.
And that was before DC and Marvel got barnacled by SJWs who didn’t give a fuck about the characters they had taken over.
So long as Warner and Disney were doing alright, DC and Marvel would be just fine.
This was all before Covid-19.
When the Covid lockdown first hit back in March, Diamond Distributors announced they were halting all deliveries and they weren’t making any disbursements to the publishers either. Marvel didn’t seem to care all that much, they were still able to operate off of the old system of corporate parasitism. Marvel Comics appears to have a high-level protector at Disney. They don’t seem to have been too badly hurt as yet. But DC has had the vast misfortune to have passed into the cold unfeeling clutches of AT&T.
To the abject horror of DC Comics employees, Ma Bell told them she wanted results or else.
DC announced it was severing all ties with Diamond and launching its own distribution system. Diamond had the nerve to be angry about it! Court action was threatened and there might have been grounds depending on how the contract was written. But then litigation died out overnight. Steve Geppi, the CEO of Diamond came to an agreement with AT&T, he would have the right of first refusal if they decided to kill DC Comics publishing.
DC’s hip shoot efforts at distribution have been a disaster. One of their distributors quit when DC announced it was going to break with established industry practice and accept remaindered copies of unsold comics. The other company has proven so unsatisfactory that a number of comic book shops did the unthinkable and stopped ordering DC Comics.
I’ve been saying for a while that AT&T has been getting ready to swing the ax on DC Comics.
There have been a series of mass executions at DC over the last few months. These layoffs have been so large and cut so deep into the company’s executive talent pool, that there was clearly no way for the company to recover. DC Comics has obviously been in a death spiral for almost a year.
What efforts DC has made to expand its market share has resulted in ridiculous projects like, I am Not Starfire and Gotham High with Gay Alfred. Seriously, guys, the problem was not a lack of Wokeness.
If DC folds completely, that is the death of the comic book shop because there is no way they can keep the lights on with just Marvel comics on the shelves. No comic book shops means, no Diamond Distributers.
Consequently, it makes all kinds of sense for Steve Geppi to buy the license for the comic book rights to the DC Comics’ characters.