Hey Party People, Masked Man here. As there doesn't seem to be much going on in the world, I thought we'd talk about comicbooks O-O
Wowie, wow, wow, wow!- DC no longer does business with Diamond- after an exclusive contract for 25 flip'n years! From now on DC will make it's way to comicbook stores via Lunar Distribution & UCS Comic Distributors (for comicbooks) and Penguin Random House (graphic novels and such). Diamond has stopped taking orders for DC's books, making September (approximately) the last month Diamond will deliver DC comics.
Just to point it out, the monopoly that nowwas Diamond, was created by DC (pretty much). When Marvel bought their own distributor (Hero World) in 1995. DC led the way for every other publisher to sign-up exclusively with Diamond. Marvel soon closed down their distribution arm, and well, had to sign up with Diamond too, because they were the only distributor left “in town”. So in some ways, DC created it and now DC wants to kill it.
Diamond says they are hopeful that they can continue to do some business with DC (I bet they are). And I bet they are on the phone with Marvel right now to make sure they don't lose them as well. But I also think it would be pretty crazy for Marvel to move everything to Lunar Distribution or UCS Comic Distributors. At least until they see how well they handle DC's output.
Now, it's pretty easy to cheer for the demise of Diamond's monopoly- but cutting them out of the picture altogether? That smells a bit like what Marvel did in the 90's. Because if UCS or Lunar ends up being the new monopoly, well then nothing has improved (except DC's margins for crowning a new king I suppose). Many retailers have expressed their concern over this move. Mostly for not being told in advance about this from DC. It was pretty much, “Surprise, as of this moment you can't order from Diamond anymore! Have a nice day”. The timing is pretty tough too. The industry is in a tail spin right now, and this is when DC decides to flip the apple cart over?! Stores also worry about their discounts, as apparently UCS and Lunar can't match Diamonds. Oh, and I should point out that UCS is also Midtown Comics. Which has stores and sells comics online. So this means comicbook stores can only buy DC Comics from their “direct” competitor. If anything else, that will be a weird dynamic to see play out!
On to a more fun topic, San Diego Comic Con may be canceled, but the Eisner Awards will go on! At least not in person. So let's look at some of the nominees:
For Best Continuing Series we got: DAREDEVIL, IMMORTAL HULK (Marvel), THE DREAMING (DC), CRIMINAL, BITTER ROOT and CROWDED (Image).
For Best Limited Series: NAOMI (DC), ASCENDER, LITTLE BIRD (Image), GHOST TREE (IDW), SENTIENT (TKO)
For Best New Series: DOCTOR DOOM (Marvel), INVISIBLE KINGDOM (Dark Horse), ONCE & FUTURE, SOMETHING IS KILLING THE CHILDREN (BOOM), UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY (Image)
Best Writer: Bobby Curnow (GHOST TREE), MK Reed and Greg Means (PENNY NICHOLS), Mariko Tamaki (HARLEY QUINN: BREAKING GLASS), Lewis Trondheim (STAY), G. Willow Wilson (INVISIBLE KINGDOM), Chip Zdarsky (WHITE TREES)
Best Pencillers: Ian Bertram (LITTLE BIRD), Colleen Doran (SNOW), Bilquis Evely (THE DREAMING), Simon Gane (GHOST TREE), Steve Pugh (HARLEY QUINN: BREAKING GLASS) and Rosemary Valero-O'Connell (LAURA DEAN KEEPS BREAKING UP WITH ME)
Best Cover Artist: Jen Bartel (BLACKBIRD), Francesco Francavilla (ARCHIE), David Mack (AMERICAN GODS), Emma Rios (PRETTY DEADLY), Julian Totino Tedesco (DAREDEVIL) and Christian Ward (MACHINE GUN WIZARD)\
In total, IDW has the most nominations with about 13 and Fantagraphics with 12. Image has 11, but it's always hard to say who has more when companies (because of creators) can have shared nominations. With the big boys, DC has 7 and Marvel has 4. No clear leader with works, as GHOST TREE (IDW), LITTLE BIRD (Image), INVISIBLE KINGDOM (Dark Horse), ARE YOU LISTENING (First Second/Macmillan ), GRASS (Drawn & Quarterly), HARLEY QUINN: BREAKING GLASS (DC) and LAURA DEAN KEEPS BREAKING UP WITH ME (First Second/Macmillan) all have three nominations. As for creators, James Stokoe leads with five nominations. Mostly for his book SOBEK, but he also had a book published about him (an unfair edge?) GRUNT: THE ART AND UNPUBLISHED COMICS OF JAMES STOKOE.
Lastly, who's up for the Hall of Fame? Alison Bechdel, Howard Cruse, Moto Hagio, Don Heck, Jeffrey Catherine Jones, Francoise Mouly, Keiji Nakazawa, Thomas Nast, Lily Renée Peter Phillips, Stan Sakai, Louise Simonson, Don and Maggie Thompson, James Warren, and Bill Watterson- only four will make it in this year.
And now lastly, lastly- Here's something cool coming soon, Barry Windsor-Smith's MONSTERS! Windsor-Smith has long been consider an artist's artist. Coming to fame back in 1970 with CONAN THE BARBARIAN, from then he's bounded around and butted heads with many a company (mainly over the work for hire contracts they all use). Most notably he worked on WEAPON X and Valiant's original run of ARCHER AND ARMSTRONG. Apparently during all this time he's been working on his magnum opus, MONSTERS. A 360 page graphic novel to be published by Fantagraphics sometime next year. In seemingly a twist on the Captain America concept, the story is about a young man, Bobby Bailey, with a tragic past being recruited for a secret army genetics experiment. But instead of becoming the 'poster boy' hero of America, things spiral out of control and “As the titular monsters of the title multiply, becoming real and metaphorical, literal and ironic, the story reaches its emotional and moral reckoning.” Well, however it turns out, this will be something to see!
Well that's all for me. Hope you are all keeping safe when ya can, and I'll catch-up with you next week!
Tom "Masked Man" Fremgen