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The New Distribution Wars – Lunar, UCS and Diamond

Let's have a look around the three distributors of DC Comics titles this week, Lunar Distribution, UCS Comic Distributors and Diamond Comic Distributors. Diamond is doing their big comeback campaign and have even gotten the former publisher of DC Comics Dan DiDio to wear the short. Mine must be lost in the mail.

The New Distribution Wars - Lunar, UCS and Diamond.
The New Distribution Wars – Lunar, UCS and Diamond. Photo from video screencap.

It looks like stores being served by Lunar Distribution are getting their DC Comics titles earlier and earlier. Our old friends Rodman Comics in Ankeny, Iowa, provided Bleeding Cool with a look at titles that will be going on sale in their store from Tuesday – but which they received the previous Friday. Inlcuding a look at the cushion buffers and bubble wrap for which Lunar has been famous for.

The New Distribution Wars - Lunar, UCS and Diamond.
The New Distribution Wars – Lunar, UCS and Diamond. Photo from Rodman Comics.

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Diamond Comic Distributors will have DC Comics – and other titles – coming in later this week, no doubt. But Lunar appears to be stealing a march on Diamond and it will be far easier for retailers to put out products that comes via Luna -and presumably UCS as well – than from Diamond, for a Tuesday On Sale date.

Luna also has titles that Diamond will not have, due to a delivery delay. These are the delayed DC titles that Diamond won't have for another week-and-a-bit.

  • Batman & the Outsiders #12
  • DC Super Stars #17 Facsimile Edition  
  • Hawkman #23
  • House of Whispers #20
  • Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity #4
  • The Flash #753
  • The Green Lantern Season Two #3
  • Wonder Woman #755
  • Year of the Villain: Hell Arisen #3 (third printing)
  • Flash Giant #4

UCS probably has too. Though UCS has also informed retailers that Absolute Fourth World by Jack Kirby Vol. 1 HC has a new in-store date of the 50th or June, when the original in store date was the 13th of May. Also expect a delay to The Flash #754 cardstock variant by Rafael Grampa which now has an in-store date of the 2nd of June and will ship the week after the main cover for May 26th. Maybe Diamond will get that one first?

We also recently reported that UCS announced they were cancelling their COD (Cash On Delivery) charges. One retailer, Alberto Araya of Knights of the Comic explains why that may have been.

We sell books on our online store and also on Facebook live with our live auctions. We also take it one step further and get books signed and graded for our customers via CGC since we are a Facilitator, a dealer, and witnesses.  But we don't stop there, we also have a Technology branch of our company that has an app that can help comics book stores get the Monthly FOC up within 24 hours of its release on to their website if it is hosted by Shopify & Big Commerce.  We also have a Custom solution if the retail stores have their site hosted on a different platform.

We have a love-hate relationship with Diamond, but with Diamond, you knew all the fees upfront.  But With UCS Comics, that is not the case.  We did our first order with them and we got this surprise…  A $15 charge for COD. When the charge was put on the account I called asked:  "Why is there a $15.50 Charge?"
What I was told was the following: "Thank you for reaching out.  COD is cash on delivery.  The payment is what UPS charges us ($15.50) for delivery.  If you'd prefer, using a credit card is an alternative."  I also call their support number, and that's where you can see they are not ready.

Let forget the fact that this is a new business for the owners of Midtown Comics… The real issue is: They have been in the Business and they are still trying to figure it out.  I was told on May 7th that they had sat down with UPS and they cut the COD fee, but again why is this only happening now? Let me stop here and tell you what is do for a 9-5.  I am a Sr Solution Architect for B2B & B2C commerce.  So in other words, I build systems and solutions for most big retailers. So getting back, I kept asking the question that I would ask any of my clients and see what could be done to fix the issue, and that's where I was more shocked.  Every time I asked, I was told either we are working to fix the issue or we will looking into that. At the end of the day, I don't think they really know what they are doing, but what do I know… I only build Ecommerce Solutions for a living.

Does anyone have their own experiences to share?

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Rich JohnstonAbout 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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