Jesse James on Dealing With Diamond and Steve Geppi

There has been a lot of… let's call it discussion over the closure of Diamond Comic Distributors to new comics product over the coronavirus pandemic. Jesse James Criscione of Jesse James Comics in Glendale, Arizona, a comic book that famously dropped Diamond last year, posted the following, shared with Bleeding Cool,

I started working in a comic book store on Jan 25th 1982 in Las Vegas Nevada. That same month (well thereabouts) a company started, Diamond Comic Distributors. The Owner was Steve Geppi. Though, our paths never crossed until 2000 when I started carrying new issues and opened my account with Diamond. It was actually just a NOD in SDCC. He was walking down a path from the stage after speaking to us. However as he walked down past everybody he gave me a nod. The person next to me said "Do you know Mr Geppi?" I said "I do now" Over my 8 years of conducting business with Diamond. I learned to be patient and fight only the good fights. The one thing throughout that time. I never felt alone or was just another account. I became great friends with Josh Geppi during that time. We continued to build an awesome relationship.

With Diamond, I got to meet Publishers and LCS owner around the world. They gave me the honor to speak at a Summit. This gave me the confidence of making my Brand bigger and more relevant. I'm a proud winner of 5 Diamond BPA awards. They made sure I was never alone.

The day I left Diamond to conduct business the way I felt I had to do. The first two people to contact me on my farewell FB post was Josh and Mr Geppi. They wished me well and made sure I still wasn't alone. In uncharted waters, I saw many people/LCS owners disconnect from me and publishers stop their communications.

HOWEVER, the last two years Josh has kept tabs on me. Mr  Steve Geppi would come into my live shows to support me. Even when I wasn't part of Diamond they made sure I was never alone. I spent two hours one day talking to Mr Geppi just about comics. Never mentioned the business side of it. Now its is our time to show our gratitude for all they have done to supply us with great product and kept us in touch with the publishers over the decades.

I don't have a Diamond account. Yesterday didn't affect my business one bit. However Mr Geppi and Josh I wanted to let you know. I'm here for you.I will always be ready to carry your flag up any hill. You are not alone.

And Josh and Steve replied,


Josh Geppi Jesse I value your friendship more than any comic I'll ever own. Thank you for being such a great friend and innovator in this industry. Your words were very touching and I can't tell you how much they meant to me. Keep kicking ass and fighting the good fight. Together we will all get through this. #Loveu3k #buddiesforlife


Steve Geppi Jesse, needless to say both Josh and I are touched by your kind words. The reason I get up every morning and do what I do is because of people like you. The people who don't understand what we do or know me personally, aren't bad people, they just haven't had a chance to talk to us and see what we're about. This crazy situation right now is a great opportunity that I welcome to get to know everyone as best as I can so they can see that my heart and soul is in trying to keep this industry to remain the viable one it has always been. It's refreshing, especially to hear from an account who no longer carries new comics that they still appreciate our true love for our relationships with our friends and retailers. You, my friend, are at the top of the list and will always be there because you are real. Thanks again for your kind words. I don't know if I'll ever live up to the kindness you bestowed here, but I will certainly do my best not to disappoint you. Stay safe and always remember that you are special, and not only to me and Josh,but to everyone in the industry because of what you do!

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About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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