Last week brought the bombshell comics news that DC Comics will no longer be using Diamond Comic Distributors to release their products and are using other avenues. This news has shaken the comics world due to the monopolistic hold that Diamond has held on comic distribution for over two decades, and prompted publishers to respond. In a correspondence obtained by Bleeding Cool, Image Comics Publisher and CCO Eric Stephenson wrote to Image creators and staff with his feelings on DC's sudden change, a history lesson of this happening before, and what he thinks about Image's place in the market. To be frank, he didn't mince words in the slightest.
"So here we are in 2020, with the world in something approaching the worst shape it's ever been in, and DC has forgotten this bit of comics history and chosen this moment to leave Diamond," Stephenson wrote. "You've no doubt read their statement about how this move was intended to strengthen the marketplace. Pardon the profanity, but that's bullsh-t. This is a hasty, sociopathic decision made by people who do not care about the long-term welfare of our marketplace, let alone about comics. The good news is that just as Marvel wasn't capable of destroying our industry back in 1994, DC – still a distant second to Marvel after all these years – isn't going to, either."
Stephenson went on to write that this move by DC isn't a "deathblow" to the direct market or to Diamond, but reiterated that it's going to be a challenge. His specific problem with the news stems not from DC abandoning Diamond entirely, but in how abruptly they did it and how this was seemingly done "without any consideration for how it would affect the rest of the marketplace."
"Our industry is more than one publisher, though, and we will get through this," he added. "Should something happen to Diamond, we aren't without our options, both within the Direct Market and the book trade, but as of now, the hope is that exploring those options won't be necessary. Should that change at any point, we will let everyone know."
While wrapping up, Stephenson offered words of encouragement despite the stressful times the comic book industry has found itself in, noting times like these are why Image was created.
"We believe in comics, we believe in this industry, and we believe in you," Stephenson said. "And despite how bleak things may look now as we shelter in place and worry what surprises tomorrow might bring, we believe there are better days ahead."
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