There has been a suspicion amongst some smaller publishers that Diamond, excellent at distribution same-day superhero comics across the US, Canada and the UK, may not be as efficient when it comes to distributing less high profile comics, given that they are ordered in fewer numbers and far more sporadically, centred in specific hit spots. And that, for the estimated 2000 Diamond accounts, maybe 200 of those may represent the vast majority of those comics' sales.
Recently, books like Sacrifice, Our Love Is Real and Scam have specialised in micro-distribution, high profile, high concept, very professional looking books that have circumnavigated Diamond and distributed directly to select stores. Although the books are available from far fewer outlets, by cutting out the middle man and focusing on the stores that would have made up the vast majority of the orders, the costs of distribution, even considering Diamond's economies of scale, have been reduced. So the publishers and creators make more money And other, more traditional publishers have been watching.
Retailers have been able to order retailer-specific variant covers for comics before, but they are usually done through Diamond. For the launch of Finding Gossymr, Th3rd World Studios are going outside. And have been received well.
Beachball Comics, Chris' Cards and Comics, Double Midnight Comics, Friendly Neighborhood Comics, Graham Crackers Comics, Jetpack Comics, Larry's Comics, Laughing Ogre Comics, Lone Star Comics, Midtown Comics, Njoy Games & Comics and Third Eye Comics have all signed up for exclusive store variants,
While Acme Comics, Antique Jackpot, Comic College, Comic Depot, Comickaze, Dreamland Comics, Excellent Adventures, Flying Colors Comics, Grasshoppers Comics. JC Comics, NewCastle Comics, The Fantasy Shop, and Ultimate Comics have signed up to share in a variant (right).
Cover artists include Jim Starlin, Stjepan Sejic, Charles Paul Wilson III, Daniel Lieske, Edwin Huang and Misty Coats.
That this is happening, is not new. That it is happening outside of Diamond… is.
And while a number of smaller publishers are exclusive to Diamond, a number are not. Is this kind of thing going to catch on?