Almost a month ago Diamond closed its doors to new comics as part of the current global situation and made redundancies. They told publishers that they would cease payment for product received while simultaneously demanded due payments from retailers, The direct market of comic book stores came to a grinding halt. Bleeding Cool got the first word that Diamond would be restarting in mid-May and repaying publishers in time, but before that could happen, DC Comics announced they would have comic books out by the end of the month to whichever comic stores were still open to receive them. They did so with two new comic book distributors run by two old comic book stores, Midtown and DCBS, much to the consternation of retailers and blindsiding of publishers.
At the time, Bleeding Cool reported Diamond's reaction to this move saying "We value our partnership with DC and will continue to support them as a distributor. Our focus is squarely on getting our industries' entertainment products in the hands of fans as quickly and as safely as possible. As we shared this morning with our vendors and retailers, we are currently building our restart plans and targeting mid- to late-May to being shipping new weekly product. If we see signs that it is safe to resume shipping earlier, we certainly will. However, with the limited number of retailers open and most customers on stay-at-home orders, our focus is on supporting our industry and the health and safety of our stakeholders."
However, as of today, Diamond has added clarity. Diamond Comic Distributors has now issued the following statements, in which they seem to contradict DC Comics' statement that all the DC Comics orders via Diamond have been cancelled. Including, of course, that 230,000 print run of Batman #92 that remains in the Diamond warehouses. Diamond still seems to believe those orders are very much live – and available for amending and returnability. The statement reads as follows:
Diamond answers questions about DC Comics
"Diamond appreciates your patience as we work with our longtime partner, DC Comics, on details following their recent announcement regarding their upcoming slate of weekly periodicals. We have confirmed that the orders you placed with Diamond Comic Distributors for upcoming products are still in our system and will be fulfilled when we resume the distribution of new, weekly products. As we mentioned in our COVID-19 update last week, we are working toward a mid- to late-May resumption of operations and look forward to helping our retailer partners recover from the business effects of this outbreak and related quarantine measures. We have heard from many of you already, and wanted to take this opportunity to answer some of the most frequent questions:"
Q: What is the status of orders I placed with Diamond Comic Distributors?
A: All orders are still in our system, and we have inventory that will allow us to fill those orders when we resume distribution of new, weekly product.
Q: What if I want to adjust my orders for DC Comics product?
A: We will announce an updated FOC date once we establish a firm date to resume distribution. We will provide the schedule for the release of products offered during our pause in distribution so that retailers may plan accordingly. Orders for DC product may be adjusted at that time to meet expected demand. We will also have product available for reorder.
Q: Will Diamond have access to all the products that DC Comics offers?
A: We will offer all DC Comics products that are offered to the Direct Market through our usual solicitation, FOC, and reorder processes.
Q: Will the products released during Diamond's pause in weekly distribution all be shipped at once?
A: We are working on a schedule to address the release of any comics and trades that are released in other channels while our distribution is paused. We expect to spread those products out over a period of weeks, in addition to the new titles that will be shipping each week once we resume the distribution of new, weekly product. We believe that spreading this product out, rather than releasing it all at once, is better for retailers who will be ramping up operations slowly and at different speeds throughout the country.
Q: Are products from DC Comics still returnable?
A: DC Comics will continue to honor their offer of returnability for products released between March 18th and June 24th, 2020.
Q: What day will DC Comics go on sale?
A: We will continue to work with the team at DC Comics to clarify the release schedule for their products before we resume distribution of new, weekly products. As more information is available, we will provide updates via Diamond Daily. While we look forward to the resumption of weekly new product, we know that many retailers continue to take advantage of restocks of backlist product via Diamond's Retailer Services Website.