Another strand to the comic book distribution changes that have been occurring over the last year is the increase of comic book publishes skipping distributors altogether and selling directly to comic book stores, and with Z2 comics cornering the market on comic book/music mashup projects, they are expanding that side of the operation and including record stores in the mix. And hiring Devin Funches from Oni/Lion Forge to ramp that side up.
Z2 Comics has announced a new fulfillment facility in Denver, as well as the rollout of a direct sales program geared toward comic book specialty retailers and independent record stores, overseen by Z2 co-founder Sridhar Reddy. The warehouse team is led by Isaiah Kelley, with a fulltime staff to oversee the company's shipping of orders to both retailers and consumers.
Starting today, stores can order products directly from Z2 with competitive shipping rates, discount tiers based on volume, and returnability across all titles after only 60 days. Additionally, Z2 will offer non-returnable exclusive deluxe retail packages unique to stores who participate in this program with no minimum order per account. Participating stores will also have the first opportunity at hosting touring Z2 musicians, inclusive of signings, possible in-store performances, and more.
Sridhar Reddy comments "We're extremely excited to vertically integrate Z2's operations to optimize our current direct-to-consumer program and drive our innovative direct sales initiative. Building our warehouse operations during the pandemic has allowed us to adapt in realtime to a rapidly evolving market landscape, one that has dramatically shifted purchasing habits online and simultaneously created a consumer hunger for a return to retail. Isaiah has assembled a young and forward-thinking fulfilment team – Clarence Head, Dominique Kelly and Orlando Black Eyes – who have stepped up to meet the demands of the moment and grow into the future of fulfilment and distribution."
Devin Funches most recently served as sales manager for the Oni Lion Forge Publishing Group for five years. Prior to that, he spent six years at Boom! Studios in sales and marketing and e-commerce positions. "Devin had always impressed me at industry events and sales presentations," says publisher Josh Frankel. "He has a genuine understanding of the unique challenges and opportunities for graphic novels at retail and is well-liked and respected throughout the industry. I couldn't be more excited to add him to the team and am confident that Z2 is well-positioned to bring new customers into comic shops and record stores with a truly unique product that crosses audiences and formats." "I couldn't be more excited to lead our sales efforts alongside my former colleague and friend Jeremy Atkins, innovative publisher Josh Frankel, and the whole team here at Z2," says Funches. "What Z2 has established is a compelling new formula for bringing new readers into the comic book medium, tapping into what is perhaps the most universally enjoyed form of entertainment on the planet. We wanted to come up with some solutions for our retail partners to take some of the risks out of bringing our products into their stores, and help ensure they have the tools to not only sell our books but to court these fanbases ready to fall in love with this art form we all work so hard to promote. I was able to help take Lion Forge from a passionate publisher largely unknown to the market in 2016 to the center of the conversation around trends in the industry, and growing sales year over year. I can't wait to be a part of doing that again here at Z2."