Direct market

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Jay and Silent Bob's Secret Stash comic book store in Red Bank, New Jersey. Jay and Silent Bob's Secret Stash . Red Bank . New Jersey.jpg
Jay and Silent Bob's Secret Stash comic book store in Red Bank, New Jersey.

The direct market is the dominant distribution and retail network for American comic books. The concept of the direct market was created in the 1970s by Phil Seuling. It currently consists of three comic distributors: Diamond Comic Distributors, which has (as of 2020) nearly monopolized such distribution (having exclusive deals with major comic book publishers), as well as Lunar Distribution and UCS Comic Distributors (which distribute DC Comics since 2020); and the majority of comics specialty stores, as well as other retailers of comic books and related merchandise.

Contents

The name is no longer a fully accurate description of the model by which it operates, but derives from its original implementation: retailers bypassing existing distributors to make "direct" purchases from publishers. The defining characteristic of the direct market however is non-returnability: unlike book store and news stand distribution, which operate on a sale-or-return model, direct market distribution prohibits distributors and retailers from returning their unsold merchandise for refunds. In exchange for more favorable ordering terms, retailers and distributors must gamble that they can accurately predict their customers' demand for products. Each month's surplus inventory, meanwhile, could be archived and sold later, driving the development of an organized market for "back issues."

The emergence of this lower-risk distribution system is also credited with providing an opportunity for new comics publishers to enter the business, despite the two bigger publishers Marvel and DC Comics still having the largest share. The establishment and growth of independent publishers and self-publishers, beginning in the late 1970s and continuing to the present, was made economically possible by the existence of a system that targets its retail audience, rather than relying on the scattershot approach embodied in the returnable newsstand system.

Comic book specialty shops

Prior to the 1970s, most comics were found in newsstands, grocery, drug, convenience, and toy stores. A handful of early comic book specialty shops first appeared in the late 1960s, stocking back issues as well as sourcing new releases from newsstand distributors and the new counterculture underground comix. The oldest known such comics specialty shop in North-America (or worldwide for that matter) has been Canadian comic book store Viking Bookshop, established in Toronto by "Captain George" Henderson in the spring of 1966, one year later renamed to Memory Lane Books when it relocated to other premises in the city. [1] [2] The oldest US comic book store is reputed to have been Gary Arlington's San Francisco Comic Book Company which was established in April 1968 in the namesake city. [3] [4] Neither store is in existence anymore, though the third oldest known one, Amsterdam-based comic book store Lambiek (est. November 1968), still is as of 2019 in the process becoming the oldest known comic book store still in existence. In the 1970s, the development of the direct market allowed a widespread network of comic shops to flourish. The specialty shop presented a number of competitive advantages:

History

Background

Before the direct market, most comic books were distributed through newsstands, pharmacies, and candy stores. The major distributors during this period included American News Company and the DC Comics property Independent News. Charlton Comics had their own distributor, Capital Distribution Company (CDC). [6] This practice lasted from the 1930s through the 1960s.

1960s and 1970s

The underground comix movement of the late 1960s was part of an alternative distribution network that also served the underground press, which proliferated in the mid-1960s. As underground comix were not sold in newsstands or drugstores, head shops played an important role as retailers of those publications. [7] The underground comix movement was based in San Francisco and a number of distributors originated in the Bay Area, including the Print Mint (beginning c. 1969), the already mentioned comic book store San Francisco Comic Book Company (which doubled as a publisher, beginning c. 1970), Bud Plant Inc. (1970), Last Gasp (1970), Keith Green/Industrial Realities (c. 1970), and Charles Abar Distribution. Around 1970, underground distributors sprang up in various regions of the U.S., including Los Angeles — George DiCaprio and Nova — and the Midwest — Donahoe Brothers Inc. (Ann Arbor, Michigan), Keep On Truckin' Coop/Big Rapids Distribution (Detroit, Michigan), Wisconsin Independent News Distributors (Madison, Wisconsin), Isis News (Minneapolis, Minnesota), and Well News Service (Columbus, Ohio). [8] By the mid-1970s, Big Rapids had acquired all of its midwestern competitors; by that time, the market for underground comix had essentially dried up. [7]

The direct market was created in the early 1970s in response to the declining market for mainstream comic books on newsstands. Fan convention organizer and comic dealer Phil Seuling approached publishers in 1972 to purchase comics directly from them, rather than going through traditional periodical distribution companies. Unlike the newsstand, or ID (for independent distributor) market, which included drugstores, groceries, toy stores, convenience stores, and other magazine vendors, in which unsold units could be returned for credit, these purchases were non-returnable. In return, comics specialty retailers received larger discounts on the books they ordered, since the publisher did not carry the risk of giving credit for unsold units. Instead, distributors and retailers shouldered the risk, in exchange for greater profits.

Additionally, retailers ordering comics through Seuling's Sea Gate Distributors (and within two years, through other companies) were able to set their own orders for each issue of each title, something which many local IDs did not allow. This ability to fine-tune an order was crucial to the establishment of a non-returnable system. [9]

Direct distributors typically were much faster at getting the product into the hands of their customers than were IDs: a direct distribution warehouse generally had re-shipped a weekly batch of comics or delivered it to local customers within a day or two (sometimes within hours) of receiving the books from the printer. By contrast, most IDs would usually take two or even three weeks to do so, though some moved more quickly. This factor was a strong drawing card for retailers whose customer base consisted principally of fans eager to see the new issues each week.

Finally, another factor in creating demand for direct sales distribution was that many IDs refused to deal with comics specialty shops or with any retailer who dealt in back issues on any terms at all, fearing that used comics could be purchased by these shops from readers for pennies, and then cycled back through the system as returns for full credit at a profit.

By the mid-1970s, other direct sales distribution concerns had sprung up, mostly regionally based (Donahoe Brothers in the Great Lakes region, Pacific Comics Distributors in Southern California, and New Media/Irjax in the Southeast were all operating by early 1974), essentially replacing the order-taking and fulfillment functions of newsstand distributors for the infant comic shop specialty market. For several years, Seagate retained an edge over its competitors in that it was able to provide "drop shipping" (the shipment of an order directly from the printer to the retailer) to its customers for quantities of 25 or multiples thereof per issue, while the newer distributors had to use more conventional methods, putting together customer orders and re-shipping or delivering them from their own warehouses. Threats of legal action [10] and the need for retailers to order very precise (and sometimes very small) quantities of items ended this practice for all but the largest customers by the end of the 1970s, and extended the ability to provide drop shipping to those large customers to all the direct distributors — by which time several of the newer distributors had multiple warehouses.

Newsstand distribution through the IDs continued at the same time (and indeed remained dominant for years afterward, on its conventional returnable, low-discount terms).

1980s

In the early 1980s, a trade organization, the International Association of Direct Distributors (IADD) was formed, consisting of all the distributors who purchased product directly from either DC, Marvel, or both. The IADD had annual conferences, issuing obscenity guidelines in 1987, [11] and electing Diamond Comic Distributors' Steve Geppi as IADD Vice President in 1988. [12]

As early as 1980, Marvel Comics saw the growth potential of the direct market, [13] and by 1981 was putting out a number of titles geared specifically to that market (including Dazzler and Ka-Zar the Savage). By the early 1980s, all the major publishers were producing material specifically for the new market, series that would probably not sell well enough on the newsstand, but sold well enough on a non-returnable basis to the more dedicated readers of the direct market to be profitable. [14]

Several of the new distributors lasted a relatively short time, and were succeeded by more competitive organizations; Diamond Comic Distributors replaced New Media/Irjax and Capital City Distribution largely replaced Big Rapids Distribution in the marketplace.

By 1985, the number of direct distributors in North America peaked with approximately twenty companies, many of them multi-warehouse operations, purchasing product for resale to retailers directly from either DC Comics, Marvel Comics, or both. There were also an unknown number, probably in the dozens, of sub-distributors who bought DC and Marvel product from these larger companies (and often the products of other, smaller publishers direct from those publishers), and re-sold to retailers. Most of these sub-distributors were in cities in which the direct distributors themselves did not (at least as yet) have warehouses, including Philadelphia, Boston, Columbus (Ohio), Madison (Wisconsin), Lansing (Michigan), Indianapolis, and Berkeley (California). Many of them were eventually absorbed by the companies which had been their principal suppliers.

From the mid-80s to the mid-90s, nearly every major urban area in the United States had at least one (and sometimes two or three) local direct distribution warehouses that functioned not only as distribution points for pre-ordered weekly shipments, but also as what could be described as "supermarkets for retailers", where store owners could shop for reorders and examine and purchase product that they might not have ordered in advance.

1990s

As newsstand sales continued to decline, the Direct Market became the primary market of the two major comics publishers (DC Comics and Marvel Comics). [9] In the late 1980s and early 1990s, as the popularity of comics collecting grew, many new comics shops opened, and existing retailers (such as sports card shops) joined the Direct Market, carrying comics as a side business. By this time, Diamond and Capital City each had approximately twenty warehouses from coast to coast, and both were functioning as fully national distributors. Several of their larger remaining competitors, notably Glenwood, Longhorn, and Bud Plant, had either sold out or gone out of business.

Such rapid growth (due partially to speculation) was unsustainable, however. The market contracted in the mid-1990s, leading to the closure of many Direct Market shops. [15] Diamond and Capital City began closing local warehouses, moving from a decentralized model in which many local warehouses provided full service to a given area to a centralized one with a few shipping hubs and no local walk-in service at all. In 1994, Capital City created controversy by announcing penalties for publishers who didn't deliver their products within promised deadlines; this move followed an industry-wide push for 30-day returnability, a practice formerly in use when comics were primarily distributed in newsstands. [16]

In early 1995, Marvel Comics purchased Heroes World, by that time the third largest distributor behind Diamond and Capital City, [17] [18] with the intention of self-distributing their products; Heroes World also stopped carrying other publishers' books. Other distributors sought exclusive deals with other major publishers to compensate for the substantial loss of Marvel's business. DC Comics, Image Comics, Dark Horse Comics, and several smaller publishers made exclusive deals with Diamond Comic Distributors. [19] Most other distributors, including Capital City Distribution, Diamond's main competitor at the time, either went out of business or were acquired by Diamond. [20] Others established niches — such as re-orders — in which they could compete. When self-distribution failed to meet Marvel's objectives, they also signed an exclusive distribution deal with Diamond, which had by then become the primary supplier for the Direct Market.

2000s

In the early 2000s, Diamond continued to dominate direct-market distribution. However, the bookstore market began to challenge the Direct Market as a channel for sales of increasingly popular graphic novels. The growth of interest in comics among mainstream booksellers and book publishers led to several publishers arranging for bookstore distribution outside of Diamond (for example, Tokyopop through HarperCollins, [21] or Fantagraphics through W. W. Norton), [22] while Diamond created Diamond Book Distributors. [23]

2020s

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in public health authorities in affected regions ordering non-essential retail sectors and businesses closed for the interim. [24] Diamond Comic Distributors announced on March 24, 2020, a full suspension of distributing published material and related merchandise as of April 1, 2020, until further notice. [25] As Diamond has a near-monopoly on printed comic book distribution in North America, this was described as an "extinction-level event" that threatened to drive the entire specialized comic book retail sector out of business. [26] As a result, publishers like IDW Publishing and Dark Horse Comics suspended publication of their periodicals while DC Comics explored distribution alternatives, including an increased focus on online retail of digital material. [27] On April 17, 2020, DC announced that two new distributors would be shipping their comic books - Lunar Distribution and UCS Comic Distributors, which are owned by DCBS and Midtown Comics, respectively. [28] On April 29, 2020, Diamond announced that shipping to retailers would resume on May 20, after a seven-week shutdown. [29]

Direct market distributors

The list below includes sub-distributors, who bought their mainstream comics from one of the companies below but many of whom were on direct terms with one or more of the smaller or underground publishers. [30]

United States

Distributor nameHeadquartersFoundedClosedFateNotes
Diamond Comic Distributors Baltimore, Maryland 1982ActiveInherited New Media/Irjax distribution centers and warehouses
UCS Comic Distributors [28] New York City, New York 2020ActivePart of Midtown Comics
Lunar Distribution [28] Fort Wayne, Indiana 2020ActivePart of DCBS
Fat Jack's Comicrypt Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1976Defunct as distributorStill active retailer that once acted as a sub-distributor
Last Gasp San Francisco, California 1970ActiveFounded as a publisher; began distributing soon after
Action Direct Kansas City, Kansas Defunctoperated in the 1980s; in 1985 acquired assets of Cavco Longhorn
Alternate Realities Distributing, Inc. Denver, Colorado 19791987Acquired by Bud Plant Wholesale distributor operated by Mile High Comics and run by Nanette Rozanski [31]
Big Rapids Distribution Detroit, Michigan 19751980BankruptcyOriginally underground press and underground comix distributor founded in 1970; began mainstream comics distribution in early 1975, when Donahoe Brothers Inc. of nearby Ann Arbor went under. Two former employees went on to form Capital City Distribution.
Bud Plant Inc. Grass Valley, California 19701988Acquired by Diamond [32] Wholesale distribution operation
Capital City Distribution Madison, Wisconsin 19801996Acquired by Diamond
Charles Abar Distribution Belmont, California 1982Acquired by Bud Plant [33]
Cold Cut Distribution Salinas, California 19942008Assets acquired by Haven Distribution Owned by Mark Thompson and Tim Stroup. Specialized in small-press and independent comics; in March 1998, acquired the assets of Minnesota-based Downtown Distribution [34]
The Comic Distributor Lansing, Michigan 19751979Acquired by Big Rapids Distribution Sub-distributor started by former Donahoe Brothers employee Jim Friel. (The name "The Comic Distributor" was later taken by Mark Hylton of Comic Carnival.)
Comic Kingdom Detroit, Michigan 1981early 1980sAcquired by Glenwood DistributorsStarted by retailer Bob Hellems
Comics Hawaii Honolulu, Hawaii Defunct
Comics Unlimited Staten Island, New York 19751994 [35] [36] Operated by Ron Foreman and Walter Wang; acquired by Diamond Also a retailer; retailer business acquired by Fantasy Books & Games in mid-1995 [37]
Common Ground Distributors Berkeley, California 19781982Acquired by Capital City Sub-distributor started by Robert Beerbohm and initially supplied by Big Rapids Distribution
Destiny Distributors Seattle, Washington early 1980s1990Acquired by Diamond. [38] Sub-distributor started by Phil Pankow and initially supplied by Bud Plant
Donahoe Brothers Inc. Ann Arbor, Michigan c. 19701975Bankruptcy; accounts acquired by Big Rapids Distribution The second direct distributor (pre-dating both Pacific Comics and New Media Distribution by a month or two). The Donahoes had been in business for about a year, dealing first with Marvel Comics, then Warren Publishing, Atlas/Seaboard Comics, Charlton Comics, and Archie Comics, and finally (and only for about two or three months) with DC Comics when they went out of business. Also known as Comic Center Enterprises; their catalog was called Weekly Dealer
FM International Wisconsin 19962006Defunct; assets acquired by Westfield Comics Primarily supplied back-stock
Friendly Frank's Gary, Indiana [39] 1984 [40] 1995Acquired by Capital City [41] Owner's name was Frank W. Mangiaracina. "Registered agent" located in Gary, Indiana; owner's offices located in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. [40] Their catalog was called Future Comics.
Glenwood Distributors St. Louis, Missouri c. 19801987BankruptcySold in 1986, [42] they went through a financial crunch in the spring of 1987, [43] were sued by four publishers that summer, [44] and declared bankruptcy in the fall of 1987 [45]
Global Hobo Distro San Francisco, California 2003c. 2012DefunctDistributor of hand-made and hard-to-find comics co-founded by Andy Hartzell and Jesse Reklaw; was partnered with Last Gasp
Haven Distributors Chicago, Illinois 20082011DefunctBegan by acquiring the assets of Cold Cut Distribution. [46] Primarily focused on non-exclusive independent publishers; formally out of business as of October 31, 2011. [47]
Heroes World Distribution Morristown, New Jersey 19751997Acquired by Marvel Comics in 1995The third largest distributor (behind Diamond and Capital City) at the time of its acquisition and out of business soon thereafter
Isis News Minneapolis, Minnesota mid-1970sAcquired by Big Rapids Distribution Sub-distributor
Cavco Longhorn Texas 1985 [48] Accounts acquired by Action Direct
New Media Distribution/Irjax Enterprises Rockville, Maryland 1973 [49] 1982Assets sold to Diamond Run by Hal Schuster. [50] In late 1981, the company filed for Chapter 11, [51] and in 1982 it sold the distribution end of the business to Steve Geppi (who immediately founded Diamond Comic Distributors). [52]
Nova Los Angeles, California mid-1970sAcquired by Big Rapids Distribution Sub-distributor
Pacific Comics Distributors San Diego, California c. 19741985Bankruptcy; distribution centers and warehouses acquired by Bud Plant Inc. and Capital City Distribution Retailer, publisher, and distributor; went bankrupt in 1984
Print Mint Berkeley, California c. 1969c. 1975DefunctAlso a publisher and retailer; mostly focused on underground comix, posters, and other products of the counterculture
Sea Gate Distributors Brooklyn, New York 19721985Bankruptcy [53] Essentially the first direct market distributor
Second Genesis Distribution Portland, Oregon 1991 [54] Acquired by Diamond in 1990
Solar Spice and Liquors Cambridge, Massachusetts c. 19811982Acquired by Diamond Originally owned by Hal Schuster of New Media/Irjax
Southern Fantasies/C.I.B. Atlanta, Georgia 1986c. 1994Defunct
Sunrise Distributors Commerce, California early 1980sc. 1988Bankruptcy [55] Run by Scott Mitchell Rosenberg
Well News Service Columbus, Ohio late 1970sAcquired by Big Rapids Distribution (?)Sub-distributor; their personnel later became the nucleus of an early Capital City Distribution branch
Wisconsin Independent News Distributors (WIND) Madison, Wisconsin 1971late 1970sAcquired by Big Rapids Distribution Eventually run by Milton Griepp and John Davis, who later went on to co-found Capital City Distribution

Canada

United Kingdom

See also

Notes

  1. Bradburn, Jamie (2 September 2015). "Vintage Toronto Ads: Memory Lane The story of "Captain George" Henderson, Toronto's first retailer to specialize in comic books". torontoist.com.
  2. VanderPloeg, Scott (14 September 2011). "Canada's 1st Comic Shop?". comicbookdaily.com.
  3. "Comics History: Underground comix and the underground press". lambiek.net.
  4. Dorn, Lori (6 February 2014). "Gary Arlington (1938-2014), Owner of the First Comic Book Store in the United States". laughingsquid.com.
  5. Rozanski, Chuck. "Tales From the Database: Destroying the Entry Point of Most New Readers." Mile High Comics, March 2004.
  6. Eury, Michael. Dick Giordano: Changing Comics, One Day at a Time (TwoMorrows Publishing, 2003), p. 42.
  7. 1 2 Estren, Mark James (1993). "Foreword: Onward!". A History of Underground Comics. Ronin Publishing. pp. 7–8, 10. ISBN   0-914171-64-X.
  8. Distributor information, indicia, The Comics Journal #45 (March 1979).
  9. 1 2 Evanier, Mark. "Notes From Me," POV Online (Dec. 31, 2004). Accessed Oct. 14, 2014.
  10. "Direct Distribution" in Duin, Steve and Richardson, Mike (ed.s). Comics Between the Panels (Dark Horse Publishing, 1998), pp. 126-130.
  11. "Newswatch: Distributor Organization Issues Guidelines About Obscenity," The Comics Journal #117 (September 1987), p. 14.
  12. "Newswatch: Diamond's Steve Geppi Elected IADD VP," The Comics Journal #125 (October 1988), p. 25.
  13. "Marvel Focuses On Direct Sales," The Comics Journal #59 (October 1980), pp. 11-12.
  14. "The Direct Sales Boom," The Comics Journal #64 (July 1981), p. 7.
  15. Miller, John Jackson. "Nov. 17, 1992: A $30 Million Day — and the Days After," "The 1900s: 10 biggest events from 100 years in comics," CBGXtra.com (Dec. 12, 2005).
  16. "Newswatch: Capital Announces Controversial Penalty Fees for Publishers: Move Follows Industry-wide Push for 30-day Returnability," The Comics Journal #166 (February 1994), pp. 17–26.
  17. Gray, Bob. "Newswatch: Marvel Buys 3rd Largest Distributor: Heroes World Purchase Signals Fundamental Changes in the Direct Market," The Comics Journal #174 (February 1995), p. 15-22.
  18. Gertler, Nat. "Marvel Buys Heroes World," Hogan's Alley, v. 1, no. 2 (1995), p. 17.
  19. "Newswatch: Tip 11: Go Exclusive with Diamond" The Comics Journal #185 (Mar. 1996), p. 27.
  20. "Diamond Comic Distributors acquires Capital City Distribution; Comic distribution industry stabilized by purchase," bNet: Business Wire (July 26, 1996).
  21. "Tokyopop Signs Alliance with HarperCollins: For Co-Publishing and Distribution," ICv2 (Mar. 28, 2006.
  22. "W.W. Norton To Distribute Fantagraphics: Another Change in Comics Bookstore Distribution," ICv2 ( May 14, 2001).
  23. "Diamond Moves into Bookstore Distribution: Marvel Switches from LPC," (Apr. 25, 2001).
  24. Crawford, Blair (24 March 2020). "COVID-19: Ontario to close all non-essential businesses; Schools won't reopen April 6". Ottawa Citizen. Post-Media. Retrieved 29 March 2020.
  25. Johnson, Rich. "Diamond Comic Distributors No Longer Taking In New Comics". Bleeding Cool. Retrieved 29 March 2020.
  26. Salkowitz, Rob (23 March 2020). "Final Crisis? Diamond Comic Distributors Halts Shipments Of New Comics In Response To COVID-19 Shutdowns". Forbes. Retrieved 29 March 2020.
  27. Arrant, Chris (28 March 2020). "DC Exploring 'Multi-Distributor Model' to Deal with Coronavirus Crisis". Newsarama. Retrieved 29 March 2020.
  28. 1 2 3 https://www.newsarama.com/49873-inside-dc-s-new-print-distribution-pla-and-the-new-distributors-involved.html
  29. Griepp, Milton (April 29, 2020). "Diamond to resume weekly new product distribution". ICv2 . Retrieved June 2, 2020.
  30. At least two other direct distribution companies existed, in addition to than those listed below: one in Georgia, and one in New York following the demise of East Coast Seagate Distribution.
  31. Rozanski, Chuck. "Returning to the Topic of My 1979 Visit to the Marvel Offices," Tales From the Database, MileHighComics.com (March 2004).
  32. "Bud Plant Sells Out to Diamond," The Comics Journal #124 (August 1988), p. 9-10.
  33. Duin, Steve and Richardson, Mike (ed.s) "Bud Plant" in Comics Between the Panels (Dark Horse Publishing, 1998) ISBN   1-56971-344-8, p. 356-357
  34. "About Cold Cut," Cold Cut official website. Accessed March 31, 2017.
  35. Gray, Bob. "Newswatch: Marvel vs. Comics Unlimited : Marvel Cuts Off Distributor, Forcing Sale to Diamond," The Comics Journal # 171 (Sept. 1994), pp. 23-30.
  36. "Diamond Timeline Chronicles 30 Years of Service & Success," Diamond Comic Distributors, Inc. official website. Accessed Feb. 10, 2015.
  37. "Retail Chain Doubles Size with Acquisition," The Comics Journal #180 (Sept. 1995), p. 29.
  38. "Newswatch: Independent Meets Its Destiny," The Comics Journal #139 (December 1990), pp. 12-13.
  39. "Newswatch: Friendly Frank's Consolidates and Expands," The Comics Journal #167 (Apr. 1994), p. 30.
  40. 1 2 FRIENDLY FRANK'S COMICS IN," Bizapedia. Accessed March 31, 2017.
  41. "Newswatch: Capital City Acquires Friendly Frank's," The Comics Journal #178 (July 1995), pp. 13-15.
  42. "Newswatch: Glenwood Distributors Sold," The Comics Journal #108 (May 1986), p.21.
  43. "Newswatch: Glenwood in financial crunch," The Comics Journal #115 (April 1987), p. 23.
  44. "Newswatch: Four Publishers Sue Glenwood For Non-Payment," The Comics Journal #116 (July 1987), pp. 17-18.
  45. "Newswatch: Glenwood Distributors Declares Bankruptcy," The Comics Journal #117 (September 1987), p. 12.
  46. Carlson, Johanna Draper. "Cold Cut Becomes Haven Distributors," Comics Worth Reading (Mar. 16, 2008). Retrieved Sept. 8, 2008. Archived September 30, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  47. Stahlberg, Lance. Haven website. Accessed December 17th, 2011.
  48. "Newswatch: Texas Distributor calls it quits," The Comics Journal #99 (June 1985), pp. 17-18.
  49. Gearino, Dan. Comic Shop: The Retail Mavericks Who Gave Us a New Geek Culture (Ohio University Press, 2017).
  50. "Direct Distribution," in Duin, Steve and Richardson, Mike (ed.s), Comics Between the Panels (Dark Horse Publishing, 1998), pp. 126-130.
  51. "Newswatch: NM in Trouble, to File for Chapter 11," The Comics Journal #70 (January 1982], p. 16.
  52. "Newswatch: New Media Distribution out of Business," The Comics Journal #72 (May 1982), p. 16.
  53. "Newswatch: Pioneering direct-sales distributor Sea Gate files for bankruptcy," The Comics Journal #101 (August 1985), pp. 17-18.
  54. "Second Genesis Delaying Its Exodus," The Comics Journal #140 (February 1991), p. 13.
  55. "Sunrise Creditors Meet," The Comics Journal #122 (June 1988), p. 22.
  56. "Newswatch: Second Genesis Absorbs Comex," The Comics Journal #128 (April 1988), p. 15.
  57. 1 2 "Newswatch: Diamond Acquires Titan Distributors," The Comics Journal #162 (Oct. 1993), pp. 35-36.

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Capital City Distribution was a Madison, Wisconsin-based comic book distributor which operated from 1980 to 1996 when they were acquired by rival Diamond Comic Distributors. Under the name Capital Comics, they also published comics from 1981 to 1984.

Bud Plant was a wholesale comics distributor active in the 1970s and 1980s during the growth of the direct market. He also published a selection of comics and zines during the same period. Starting in 1970 as a mail-order distributor specializing in underground comix, Plant absorbed some of his smaller rivals in the 1980s, and then sold his business to Diamond Comics Distributors in 1988. He still, as Bud Plant's Art Books, sells quality reprints and graphic novels.

New Media Distribution/Irjax Enterprises was a comic book distributor and publisher active from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s. In 1978, the company's legal actions again the dominant distributor of the era, Sea Gate Distributors, widened the field for the direct market to expand. In 1982, when Irjax's distribution arm went out of business, its processing centers and warehouses formed the basis for Diamond Comics Distributors, the now-dominant comics distributor. The company's publishing arm, New Media, continued in the business until 1995. New Media mainly published periodicals for comics/fantasy/science fiction enthusiasts, including the long-running critical journal Comics Feature. Editors and writers with New Media included Carol Kalish, Richard Howell, Peter B. Gillis, Kurt Busiek, Don and Maggie Thompson, James Van Hise, Peter Sanderson, Max Allan Collins, Ron Goulart, Will Jacobs and Gerard Jones, Steve Perrin, and Roy Thomas.

Heroes World Distribution Co., originally named Superhero Enterprises, was an American comic book distributor. It was founded by Ivan Snyder, active from 1975 to 1997, during the growth and consolidation of the direct market. Heroes World was acquired by Marvel Comics in late 1994 to act as the publisher's sole distributor. This ill-fated move, combined with other marketplace factors of the time, resulted in the financial failure of many other comics distributors and retailers — and the near collapse of the entire North American comic book market.

Titan Distributors was a British comic book distributor which existed from 1978 to 1993, when it was acquired by a larger U.S. distributor. Operated by Nick Landau, Mike Lake, and Mike Luckman, Titan Distributors supplied comics, science fiction, and other genre products to retailers all over the United Kingdom. Titan also operated the retailer Forbidden Planet, produced the bimonthly Westminster Comic Marts, and operated Titan Books.

<i>Comix Book</i>

Comix Book is an underground comic book series published from 1974 to 1976, originally by Marvel Comics. It was the first comic of this type to be published by a mainstream publisher. Edited by Denis Kitchen, Comix Book featured work by such underground luminaries as Justin Green, Kim Deitch, Trina Robbins, Art Spiegelman, and S. Clay Wilson. While it did not depict the explicit content that was often featured in underground comix, it was more socially relevant than anything Marvel had previously published.

Robert Lee Beerbohm is an American comic book historian and retailer who has been intimately involved with the rise of comics fandom since 1966. Beginning as a teenager in the late 60s, he became a fixture in the growing comic convention scene, while in the 1970s and 1980s he was heavily involved in Bay Area comic book retailing and distribution.

Comics and Comix Co. (C&C) was a comic book retailer based in Berkeley, California, that for a short time also had a publishing division. The company was founded by Bud Plant, Robert Beerbohm, and John Barrett. Comics & Comix operated from 1972 to 2004. At its peak, C&C had seven retail locations, making it the first comic book chain store in America.

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