Alterna Comics' Move Away From Newsstand and Comic Shop Distribution

Alterna Comics is best known for printing on newsprint and pricing most of their comic books between $1 and $2. Over a week ago, Bleeding Cool ran the news that Alterna Comics was pulling out being distributed by Diamond Comic Distributors in light of the current shutdown. Even as Diamond was still holding onto product intended for early April. They announced on social media that Diamond had told them "that the potential earliest release date for new product will be in August."

Alterna Comics' Move Away From Newsstand and Comic Shop Distribution.
Alterna Comics' Move Away From Newsstand and Comic Shop Distribution. Image from YouTube.
However Bleeding Cool later got the word that Diamond was to resume distribution in mid-May, later publically confirmed by Diamond.  Nevertheless, Alterna Comics decided to cancel all solicitations through Diamond, withdraw itself from the direct market and deal directly with retailers and costumers, through the website alternaaccess.com Bleeding Cool noted that this was not entirely new for the publisher, they have often made comics available this way before they have appeared in the direct market. They would also not be the only such publisher to deal with retailers and the publisher directly. However, withdrawing from Diamond was a major step and a rare event. Or at least it was at that stage, DC Comics did the same last week. Alterna Comics stated "This will be the only way for readers and retailers to get new comics from us for the immediate, and perhaps indefinite, future." They later confirmed "The last releases we had to comic shops were the titles released in March. Anything that was supposed to be released in April, May, June, etc. will not be sent to Diamond. We recommend ordering directly through us OR informing your local shop to order directly from us." Previously, Alterna Comics had stated that 'this industry is hanging by a thread'.

Now Alterna Comics has set out the current state of events in detail. They have removed themselves from Diamond permanently, will be distributing directly to readers and retailers, however customers in Canada, UK, Ireland and other countries will have to wait for another solution to be arrived at. They are also cancelling their 99 cent reprint line titled ICYMI, replace by a digest reprint title, Alterna Giants, instead. The publisher Peter Simeti stated,

"While we are fully aware that the current situation in the world is much bigger than comics and there's little that Diamond can do to control what is occurring right now, we have to do what is necessary in order for our business to survive during these times. That is why we're making the decision at Alterna to step away from distributing with Diamond Comics Distributors for the immediate and perhaps indefinite future. There are too many unknowns and variables at play for us to properly run our business and work with Diamond in any kind of effective capacity."

"Fortunately, we've spent over two years at Alterna building up our direct sales infrastructure and as a result — our direct sales have been greater than our distribution sales, month over month, for the past 18 months. We sell directly to both readers AND retailers and are fully equipped to continue to do so, and are even able to expand operations quickly, if demand warrants it."

"Moving forward, we'll continue to create new comics and distribute them directly to retailers and sell them directly to our readers. We're also transitioning away from comiXology; introducing digital comics directly for purchase on AlternaAccess.com with 5 digital issues available every Friday."

Those five titles are Feast Or Famine #1 (Of 3), Tinseltown #1 (Of 5), It Came Out On A Wednesday #1, The Mighty Mascots #1 (Of 3) and The Wicked Righteous #1 (Of 6).

"For retailers that are interested in working directly with us, please visit alternaaccess.com/retailers and sign up for your unique discount code today. We are already working directly with nearly 100 stores, many of which are ordering on a consistent basis."

"While our system is currently ideal for United States retailers, we are working on creating an effective system for retailers in Canada, Australia, and Europe to sell our comics in a profitable way. It will take time to fully realize this system though, especially one that would work for both Alterna and any international retailers that use it. Given the state of the world, there does exist major uncertainty in what the comic retailing landscape will look like in the near future, but we'll be sure to keep you updated on any future developments as things progress."

"In spite of all of this, we truly look forward to growing and establishing a direct relationship with our wonderful readers and the supportive retailers that have meant so much to us over the years. We now get to steer our own ship, fully, for the first time in 12 years! It is your support that has allowed for us to make this move an easy and smooth process. Your support has given us confidence and hope in a time when we should be filled with uncertainty and doubt. We thank you for being here with us and with your continued support, we'll be able to build an even brighter future for Alterna."

They also confirmed the changes to the ICYMI line, replaced by Alterna Giants digest books.

"ICYMI was originally created for newsstands to reintroduce potential readers to something they may have missed at their local comic shop. Now that we have moved away from both newsstand and comic shop distribution, we are canceling this series."

"For Alterna AllStar subscribers, this means that ICYMI (99 cents to $1.25 an issue) will be replaced with the Alterna GIANTS ($4.99 to $6.99 an issue). You will notice this change starting with Mar/Apr bundles (going out in a few weeks). Rest assured, your subscriptions will be upgraded free of charge"

You can keep following Bleeding Cool's coverage of this ongoing situation with this link.

 

About Rich Johnston

Head writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world. Living in London, father of two. Political cartoonist.

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