Following the bombshell announcement from DC Comics that they would no longer be using Diamond Comic Distributors, the comics market has been shaken. Though the publisher will still be getting their products to comic retailers around the country through alternative means, this has left some wondering where the rest of the comic publishing world stands. IDW Publishing is the first to put out a statement after DC's announcement, pledging their support "for Direct Market comic retailers." The publisher says they'll be doing this by extending full returnability on all new releases through at least the end of July, and removing all associated fees for the foreseeable future.
"Comic shops are the frontlines of the comic industry, where word-of-mouth, spinner racks, and staff hand-selling make all the difference in a comic book's success," Chris Ryall, IDW's President, Publisher, and CCO said. "It's our responsibility as publisher to make that process as low-stress as possible for our partners in the retail community. During a time like this, making it easier to stock our books is really the least we can do."
IDW further announced plans to "aggressively promote store traffic via social media initiatives, email messaging to subscribers, and additional means of customer outreach." What's worth noting is that IDW at no point in their message mentions Diamond Comic Distributors but that doesn't mean they'll be following DC's lead and moving to greener pastures. The company's many initiatives in their announcement seem to indicate they'll be sticking with Diamond, despite the many furloughs and layoffs both companies faced as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, with no plans for dramatic changes to their business model while the country recovers from the pandemic.
This statement comes after some good news for IDW though as it was announced yesterday they were the most nominated publisher for this year's Eisner Awards. The publisher managed several nominations for Ghost Tree by Bobby Curnow and Simon Gane, plus Diabolical Summer and Stan Sakai's Usagi Yojimbo.
This past week also saw IDW continue their publishing schedule. The company was able to resume publication of their titles at the end of May and currently have their schedule filled out through the end of August. So for the time being, things appear to be as normal as they can be for IDW.
DC Comics on the other hand will be turning to Lunar Distribution and UCS Comic Distributors, companies owned by two large comics retailers and founded, seemingly, for the express purpose of keeping the industry moving through the crisis created by COVID-19. DC will also use Penguin Random House for further distribution help.