The biggest news of the past week was that Image Comics is moving its exclusive U.S. distribution from Diamond to Lunar!
As reported here at MajorSpoilers.com, Image Comics will begin using Lunar Distributors to provide their comics starting in September!
Here’s what a news release from Image reported:
Image Comics is pleased to announce a worldwide exclusive distribution deal with Lunar Distribution, effective with September on-sale titles (which will open for order on the Lunar site for retailers on Wednesday, June 14), for Direct Market/comic shop distribution.
Previously exclusive to Diamond Comic Distributors, Image Comics will join DC as one of Lunar’s largest periodical publishers and will work in partnership with Lunar to share further communications with the Direct Market, including “next steps” details, to ensure a seamless transition for comic shop retailers.
“We have enjoyed our relationship with Diamond over the decades and we have made some wonderful friends there, so this decision has been a difficult one,” said Erik Larsen, chief financial officer at Image Comics, who also was publisher for Image from 2004 to 2008. “We wish Diamond nothing but the best as we look toward the future.”
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
This is quite a big deal because it now leaves Diamond without any of the “Big Three” comics publishers—Image, DC, and Marvel. In the past, all three used Diamond to ship their product to local comics shops. Marvel now largely uses Penguin House for their distribution.
This doesn’t mean that Image will no longer work with Diamond. Particularly in markets considered “overseas” from the United States, Image will use Diamond to ship to the U.K. and other areas.
However, this is a HUGE gain for Lunar, who launched in 2020 around the time that Diamond had shut down their operations due to the pandemic. As I understand it, DC needed someone to distribute their comics. They left Diamond and recruited two companies. Lunar is the one that lasted after that transition.
Some comic companies use both Diamond and Lunar, and I personally thought Image would follow that route. Their move to Lunar means that Diamond basically has BOOM! Studios, Dynamite, Aftershock, and Dark Horse as their biggest names in the Previews magazine each month! I just may have to stop buying that publication! Lunar is slowly moving the biggest customers to their side of the aisle!
WHY DID THIS HAPPEN?
Many of us who care about the comics industry have seen this coming from a long way off! Diamond was not known for their customer service, to say it kindly.
I know of several local comic shop owners who used the word “Diamond” as a curse word. They had literally received boxes of damaged products that they couldn’t sell. Then it would take weeks, if not months to get the replacements that they could sell.
Personally, I had an interesting encounter with them when my roommate created an Indie comic that he tried to get Diamond to distribute under a “lower-tier” comics company. They rejected it because they didn’t think it would sell well enough for them to spend their time on it. They said we had to get a “known” company to sell it. Then they would consider it. However, any OTHER comics that the original company submitted were welcomed by Diamond. Just not ours.
We didn’t care for that attitude, to say the least! So, we ended up submitting that very same comic under a different company, and, guess what? The very same book flew through to the stands where it did very well, thank you!
This isn’t the only time Diamond acted as “gatekeeper” when it came to comics. I have spoken with several other Indie creators who were snubbed by the “Big D,” as one person called them. Then they procured another avenue to sell that very same comic, and it exceeded expectations!
Sadly, this is often what happens when a company has a monopoly on a specific product. They decide what the public wants and will get, not the public! They also have treated creators and stores like they were beneath them and unnecessary. They often acted as if they wanted to say, “We don’t need you! If we don’t want to work with you, someone we like better will come along and take your place!”
Is it any wonder that someone FINALLY stepped up to the plate to take them on? I’m not surprised by Lunar’s increasing success. They handle clients and products with much more respect and care! Do they make mistakes? Of course, being human, they do! But they package and handle both customers and the books so much better, making things right as quickly as they can!
A lot of people in the comics industry are wondering if Diamond’s days are numbered! I hope not—I feel competition really makes everyone involved better! You have to do well in order to survive. I’d like to see Diamond improve how they handle comics and shops so they can keep going!
I also don’t want to replace one monopoly with another. If Lunar suddenly was the only game in town, how long before they succumb to the temptations that have hurt Diamond? When you are the only one around, you do what you want and others had better like it, or else!
We don’t need more or that, thank you!
I wouldn’t even mind it if we got another couple of distributors up and running! Back a year or so ago, I had heard of at least two other groups wanting to get in the game! The more, the merrier when it comes to improving the industry! We’ve had other companies distribute, and I was sorry to see them go!
I personally consider the Image move to Lunar a good sign! Granted, I know some “Diamond, and Diamond only” people who are quite mad at Image right now! Get over it! The industry needs good people involved, so I welcome change as long as it helps the comics industry move forward, not fading into obscurity!
What do you think? Is Image’s move to Lunar a good thing for comics or a bad move? What can Diamond do to attract companies like Image and DC back to their fold? Are there other moves the industry should be making to help it move into the future and thrive? Whatever your opinions, be sure to share them in the space below!