Comics Creators

Marvel Comics: The CB Cebulski Generation Begins!


This is one of the few areas where you and I disagree. Diamond is a bit more than a package handler or warehouser, they’re a distributor. Similar to the one that is legally enforced for alcohol, comics have a de facto three tiered system. Comic shops do not have DC, Marvel or Image accounts. They have a Diamond account. They don’t buy or order their books from DC, Marvel and Image. They order and buy their books from Diamond. Diamond controls minimum order quantities, where the books are printed, retailer accounts and discounts, how the books are delivered, when they’re delivered and a whole host of other parts of the system.

While publisher know what stores are ordering and can reach out to them and help with advertising and promotion, much like alcohol distributors, Diamond should be heavily involved in this as well. They have just been very protectionist instead of entrepreneurial with the business and it’s slowly collapsing because of it.

It’s telling on the book side that DC and Marvel have moved away from Diamond and use the publishing arms of their parent companies to distribute.

I don’t disagree. There are some great stores out there but there a whole host of other stores that lack basic retail and hospitality type customer service. They’re not the only place I see it. Record stores and other businesses that are heavily linked to hobbies can be very similar and exclusionary.


They’re not like a traditional wholesaler like in pluming or alcohol or electrical. They don’t really influence the retailers as they have so few lines. Whereas in a normal channel they can control the fate of the manufacturer and steer purchasing decisions. With so few publishers, and stores using a commercial book like Previews, and with publishers providing most of the incentives their commercial influence is very little compared to most distributors.


Only Q I have is how much leeway does Diamond have when Marvel says: Do this xxxx.

The feedback from retailers isn’t being aimed at Diamond, it’s aimed at Marvel, which suggests it’s them and not Diamond who are in charge.



This is something that I’ve heard on this board a few times I don’t think it’s the case anymore. I think it was more the case in the early-mid 90s when a lot of hole-in-the-wall shops were popping up to ride the speculator wave. I know the stores you’re talking about, but it’s been a while since I’ve been in one.

Nowadays I think if you have a dedicated comics shop then you’ve proven to be pretty hardy, generally have excellent customer service and presentation, and a business plan beyond just milking the Wednesday warriors.

People remember the Alan Moore stuff in that one Simpsons episode, but we forget it starts off with the Springfield kids leaving the 80s-style surly shithole comics shop for a more modern one, which I think mirrored what actually happened across the LCS market to some extent.


It’s certainly much less the case. You have this very diverse mix of super modern well funded comic & hobby stores and some barely surviving women repellers. I’d imagine after this latest financial crisis only the well funded will survive.

However if you don’t think those old stores still exist just go to a con. They’re still there like the neckbeard fan. Just more of a minority than before.

All that said while I understand retailers whining about Marvel, publishers aren’t there to coddle them and stores need to Marvel proof their business. Or at least damage control.


I don’t think they control that particular aspect but other policies like COD accounts for a lot of smaller stores can impact cash flow as much or more.


Like I said, there are nice shops out there but there are still more than you would think that don’t have things you would consider basic customer service. They survive because there really isn’t a lot of choice some places.



It’s 2018, digital is a choice. If you just need something to bag, board, and store then who cares what the shop is like.


The difference in dynamics between single issues and trade sales is interesting. I just wish they hadn’t tried to shove diversity into the analysis.


COD? Sounds fishy.


They’re just exploiting economies of scale.


Meeting finished early on Friday, I was in London and took a walk to FP. The collectibles, statues etc on display are impressive. Super detailed and super expensive. Since I weaned myself off my comic buying habit (soon 2 years) I decided to browse. Lots of hologram style covers. Seemingly lots of titles for the same characters. I leafed through a number of the books I used to buy. The interior art seems either computer generated are drawn in the style of a cartoon. Lots of the Marvel books had these ‘lenticular’ covers which showed a cover from an old book. Inside the interior art was lacking. None of the books I looked at captured my interest at all. Saw nothing that would want to get me reading or collecting again. When did interior artwork start looking computer generated?u


I have gone digital. The shop should be about more than buying your books and getting the fuck out. If I’m going to choose a physical object in a physical store over digital, I want something tangible in the experience like being able to discuss, share and enjoy things. I feel the same way about record shops.


Cash On Delivery as opposed to being invoiced like every other supplier does for every other business or at least the ones that are invested in their customer surviving.


You shoulda walked around the corner to Orbital and checked out their small press section…you might have some comics to spark that collector instinct :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:
They stock mine and I know I’ll sound egotistical but my comics are far from generic! :wink:

If you want to try any, let me know and I’ll happily send you a free PDF to try and entice you! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Or you can’t just buy them at :joy:


You’re in the comics business?

First I’ve heard of this!

So, are your u like a letter or something?



Yep…that too. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


I’m in agreement here

I had a sizeable standing order in A1 comics in Glasgow. Once all the old AKA guys left they were replaced by young guys who I felt didn’t want me in their shop.
I then noticed issues were going missing from my standing order, coincidentally stuff that they had no copies of on the shelf and I suspect they just took them out of standing orders to give to their mates.
The final straw was when I asked one of the guys had read a particular book and the response I got was, in a really condescending tone 'you know, contrary to what people seem to believe, we don’t actually stand about the shop reading comics all day’
I cancelled my pre-order that day, after having it since the AKA days in Virginia Gallaries when I was 11 years old. This was me putting me foot down after years of feeling like I had a dick growing out of my head when I was giving them probably about £1000 a year.

I then went to forbidden planet in Glasgow for a couple years; popping in every Wednesday after work, running in halfway thru my 2.5-3 hour commute home.
One of the days I asked one of the guys who worked there for a book that I couldnt see he turned round and said ‘if it’s not on the shelf then we don’t have it’ and then turned back to his mate and continued to talk to him about fucking wrestling.

I’m a really loyal guy but I’m not going to constantly hand over £30-40 a week, every week, and be treated with contempt.

So I moved to Red Hot Comics and started preordering there using previews and the service was incredible. Sadly Ivor no longer operates Red Hot, and their parent company Ace i won’t deal with for reasons I’d rather not comment on. My spend was anywhere between £150-£250 a month. But I left when Ivor Davies moved on as Red Hot Comics was about the service he provided.

I’ve since found a mail order guy who I order any paper copies thru but I’ve ultimately gone digital for 95% anything that’s not a trade or collection because of poor service.

If the customer service was better these guys would be pulling in about £200-250 a month from me.