Steve Geppi, CEO and President of Diamond Comic Distributors, has been doing the equivalent of late-night chatshows talking up the return of Diamond Comic Distributors to comic stores later this month. We looked at the big rollout on Wednesday, but he gave further promotional details to ICV2 earlier in the week, telling us all about, as he put it, 'pandemic collectibles', saying
It was my son Josh's idea to utilize, effectively, a cross between the Comics Code Authority stamp and the Marvel Value Stamp. The slogan, of course, is the driving force. What we're hoping to do is get as many, if not all, of the publishers to put that stamp in the upper right‑hand corner of their comics for a period of time, say, perhaps to the end of the year, so that people coming into the stores will look at the racks, and there'll be a clear identifying mark that is an interesting way to get everybody to do something together.
If you recall, back in the 50s, when the government wanted to regulate, [comic publishers] avoided it by having a self‑regulatory thing called the Comic Book Authority. Even though they all competed, they all had that in the corner to make them in some ways uniform. There's going to be a time, particularly in the back issue market, when people are going to look at this period, and whatever they call it (the pandemic period, the coronavirus period, or COVID‑19), there'll be a certain collectible nature to that. Even aside from that (that's like a bonus round), I'm thinking that it will be a good way to drive people to the stores so you can clear the checklist: "If you want to have the complete pandemic period of comics, here's what you've got to have."
It'll get some people to maybe sample other companies that they might not otherwise buy. That's one of my fun parts of this. [Dark Horse CEO] Mike Richardson said, "I'm on board. The only thing we have to qualify is you've got to ask guys like Frank Miller if they have a creator‑owned book if they'll do it." Either way, whether some do it or some don't, he's going to do it, it might not be on all the books (I'm hoping it will be). And BOOM! and Dynamite, and Image. I talked to [Image Comics President] Todd [McFarlane], and Todd is going to talk to the [other Image partners] and [Image Publisher] Eric [Stephenson] about it. If we could get Marvel and DC, that would be wonderful. Then we'll have all the big guys, and hopefully as many others will follow.
Could pandemic collectables be a thing? Certainly print runs for a few weeks are likely to be down, but that's an interesting way to put it.