When Marvel Comics made the move to exclusive comic store direct market distribution with Penguin Random House (with a third party carving-out for Diamond Comic Distributors), it was expected that DC Comics might follow suit. They had moved to DCBS/Lunar Distribution for comic store direct market distribution, but Penguin Random House already handled all their graphic novels bookstore trade. Indeed, Bleeding Cool was told by DC Comics sources that DC had a deal that PRH could not distribute Marvel's graphic novels into the bookstore market.
Well, sources now tell Bleeding Cool that DC is not planning to make any moves to go to another direct market distributor other than Lunar, and are happy with the current situation. And they are sticking where they are.
Indeed they see Lunar as being representative of DC Comics, in a way that Diamond never was.
There is, of course, room for improvements. Bleeding Cool, has received a number of complaints over the past few months regarding what Lunar regard as damaged stock, and DC Comics wants Lunar to reply quicker, be more flexible with their current definitions so that retailers have a better idea of what they can get replaced and what they can't. Also, they want Lunar to be better at being able to provide replacements for damages or shortages – something that is also an issue right now.
DC Comics is also planning a programme through Lunar and retailers not dissimilar to what Bad Idea Comics has been pioneering in the market, with promotional event participation for those who turn up in-store, specific point of sale selling tools, encouraging advertising using DC Comics imagery like the old days, and intend to reward those who participate.
They are also planning to integrate all the different sales software that retailers use – especially ComicSuite, which still does not integrate with Lunar's systems apparently, but DC recognised is used by a sizeable proportion of retailers. As it stands, the Lunar website way of listing DC titles on their website and in databases prevents retailers from creating subscription entries, in the way that Diamond… doesn't. It may well be that DC may use even Diamond UK's DC data to sort this out, which is ironic.
More to come,m of course. But it seems that DC Comics and Lunar are in this for the long haul.*