When I first has comic books published and solicited through Diamond Comic Distributors back in the mid-nineties, I dealt with Mark Herr. We all did. The great gatekeeper of Diamond, he let a nobody student in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne have worldwide access for his comic books, long before webcomcis could be a realistic thing. It was a game-changer. These days, Mark Herr works in grocery retail, but he still shares his memories of his days at Diamond om Facebook. Including this little gem about Shi creator and Crusade Entertainment publisher Billy Tucci, shared with permission.
So, here's a minor bit of comic book industry history I thought I would share with you. It goes back (once again) to my time at Diamond Comic Distributor's purchasing department.
There was a period of time where retailers had an option of doing their monthly order on a computer disc, rather than a manually writing it in an order book and have us data entry it for them. Every month, we'd send out discs to retailers, they'd enter their orders and send the discs back to us. As more and more retailers got computer savvy, the more of these discs we sent out. They were sent out in a plain white mailer.
So, one day, Billy Tucci from Crusade Entertainment came down to our offices for a meeting (something he did fairly often). He always had a lot of topics on his agenda. And one time, he said, "Why are you doing plain white mailers? Why not put art on the mailers, promoting different titles? You could sell the spot, too. All I ask is that since I brought the idea to your attention, you let me be first.
We said that the spot couldn't be for a single issue or event, because to make it cost effective, we'd have to print months worth at once. But, we agreed to his idea.
Going through a box of stuff over the weekend, I came across a couple of the Crusade sleeves. I also have ones from Chaos Comics and Central Park Media. I don't remember who all did them before eventually retailers went to doing their orders online instead of shuffling discs back and forth, but I am pretty sure these were the first three we did.
What I always like about this is it showcases two sides of Billy Tucci. On one hand, he saw a blank slate and thought, "Art should go there." And as an entrepreneur, he saw a spot to get the word out about his title, his business, that other people were overlooking.
Again, just a minor part of comic book history, that maybe only I care about. But, it is examples like these that show you the best creators, the best publishers, are always looking on ways they can do more.
Billy Tucci replied "Oh my yes! Man, were we firing on all cylinders! Thank you for the memory, Mark!"