Monday, 28 December 2015

The 1995 Distributor Wars

Internal Correspondence (June 1995)
Art by Dave Sim 
(from Patreon Update "Bone & The Strange Death Of Alex Raymond Part 5", 27 December 2015)
...Capital City being driven out of business because Steve Geppi had perceived -- accurately, I think -- "This town ain't big enough for the both of us". If Diamond had to do without Marvel's business, Diamond was going to need ALL of DC's business and ALL of Dark Horse's business and ALL of Image's business to plug the hole Marvel had left in Diamond's waterline. 

Diamond hadn't moved first. Marvel had moved first. And Marvel's move -- which, in retrospect looks really dumb -- would actually have been Very Good 800 lb. Gorilla Business had Steve Geppi not played good "d". Steve Geppi playing good "d" was what made Marvel's move dumb.

There was no way to "scale up" Heroes World to Marvel Exclusive Size without pretty much crashing the Direct Market OR Heroes World which (the latter, permanently; the former temporarily) is what happened. Marvel could afford to Thrash Around For A Few Months because Marvel was the only entity large enough to Thrash Around For A Few Months and then pick up what was left standing.

Diamond basically made sure that they made their own ship large enough and solid enough to survive the Thrashing Around by making themselves -- with their exclusives -- into the Largest Surviving Entity next to Marvel. Which is what happened. And eventually Marvel had to go back to Diamond because Marvel wasn't prepared to re-imagine the Direct Market from the ground up when they compared the cost of doing that to the cost of just coming to terms with Diamond... [Read the full article at Patreon]


Tony Dunlop said...

Wow. I had stopped reading Marvel/DC/"mainstream" comics almost ten years earlier, so I had no idea any of this was going on...I just kept dutifully checking off items for my "pull" file from whatever catalog my shop was using at the time.

Tim Gagne said...

Guess I need to get on your Patreon. Are you going to talk about the Capital Conference in Chicago right after? "Interesting" was a word you said quite a lot there. The problems were many and a lot of good people wound up out of comics in the aftermath.

CerebusTV said...

It's too bad distribution moved into the "New Jersey Cement" vigorish model...