The Comic Apocalypse, not to be confused with the Comet Apocalypse NASA keeps teasing us with, continues to worsen with Diamond Comics announcement that they will now be halting all payments to the various publishers. Citing a lack of cash flow the sole distributor in the industry says it simply doesn’t have the money to pay them.
As a quick recap Diamond Comics became the sole distribution company in the 1990s following a failed self-publishing venture by Marvel. Since then nearly every company has distributed their material via Diamond. Rather than maintaining their own print works as a cost-saving measure.
Then last week as a result of the pandemic and various lockdowns, Diamond Comics announced they would no longer be distributing any material in April. All currently scheduled shipments would proceed unless the recipient was unable to receive them, but effectively the company was taking no new orders. Immediately publishers responded by sending out “Pens Down” emails informing their content creators that for the time being they were laid off or projects were being canceled. A phenomenon we will see worsen in the coming days.
In a letter to various vendors and publishers, Diamond made the official announcement.
Dear Diamond Vendor:
As the world responds to the outbreak of COVID-19, our focus is on protecting employees, understanding the risks to our business, evaluating the risks to our industry and examining the Federal Government resources available. While the full impact of this epidemic is still unknown, one thing is certain: supply chain disruptions have cash flow implications across the extended industry that can’t be underestimated.
While we work to understand the current industry landscape, the unfortunate truth is that we are no longer receiving consistent payments from our customers. This requires that at this time, we hold payments to vendors previously scheduled to release this week. This is a difficult decision and not one we make lightly. As this situation continues to evolve, we are committed to building out a plan for payment and will have more information to share later this week.
Thank you for your patience and understanding during these difficult times.
President, Geppi Family Enterprises
The news was also covered by YouTube outlet Clownfish TV.
Kneon from Clownfish TV provided some extra insights into the situation. As a former Diamond worker himself he relates how the distributor operates month to month without a significant amount of cash reserves. As a result during the events that lead them to becoming the sole publisher they also had issues with not paying their employees. Some were owed thousands, others significantly more.
Leaving the question of whether there will be a Diamond Comic Distributors up in the air. If they are to fold it would force the industry to rely on digital codes at best or direct/indirect digital sales. No longer would the industry be able to prop itself up through sticking comic shops with dozens of variant covers and other unsellable products. It would be the real beginning of the end of the industry as we know it.
Not a worry for Comicsgate and the few publishers that were driven from the industry; they will rise to become the new industry. In the interim manga will enjoy a nice surge in popularity as well, so it is not all doom and gloom. Merely the changing of an era.