News and notes from ALL over: Tuesday is comics day?

At last night’s presentations at the Diamond Retailer summit, some hints were dropped of bigger projects to be announced more fully during C2E2 panels. Here’s a bit of a roundup. We tried to snap some pictures of the slides, but they are awfully blurry…As Gilly might say: “Sorry!”

• In Diamond news: the comics distribution giant is considering a new discount schedule based on total orders as opposed to initial orders — this is esoteric to the fan on the street but the assembled retailers applauded loudly. Also, the reorder penalty is being reconsidered — currently retailers pay a 3% penalty on reorders for non-front-of-the-book publishers, which considering the ascendancy of items with shelf life these days, is a bit too steep.

• Diamond also polled retailers on whether they wanted Tuesday street dates – in line with books, videos and music — as opposed to Wednesday. This would also entail all stores getting their books on Monday instead of some Tuesday and some Wednesday. To enable the plan, Diamond would institute a $5 surcharge from retailers in order to impanel a “Street Date Team” that would go around and check on stores that might break street dates. (Only one store broke the Blackest Night #6 street date, an encouraging statistic.) Retailers would also have a shorter window on FOC and other niggly business details.

The retailers in the room favored Tuesday about 60-40, but frankly, our thought is, why compete with books and DVDs? Comics are the Wednesday crowd! We’ll have a fuller discussion of this later on, including a history lesson on when Tuesday AND Friday were new comics days.

Additionally, DC’s Bob Wayne said that DC was working with Warner Home Entertainment to get comics-related DVDs release day and date in comics shops.

• Speaking of embargoes, our details on this are a bit sketchy, but there was apparently some blowback over the leaking of Marvel’s press preview PDF program. (A few, elite news outlets are given previews of upcoming news.) Someone leaked details of O.M.I.T to Bleeding Cool and Marvel announced the program was ended.

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• Marvel announced a big vampire event for later this year. Apparently this upset Mark Millar because he is also working on a vampire storyline for Marvel. Which would lead you to believe that editors at Marvel don’t talk to one another, which we find HIGHLY unlikely, but it’s Mark Millar’s world. We just live in it.

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• Marvel also announced some Red Hulk and Fantastic Three stories. Also, Ed Brubaker and Dale Eaglesham will team up on a book about Steve Rogers. Marvel presenter Arune Singh mentioned major changes for the X-Men, something we’ve never heard in our life before.

• Proving that vampires are the new zombies, Dark Horse announced a team-up with Hammer Films, beginning with an adaptation of the remake of the Swedish film LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, called LET ME IN:

Dark Horse has hired Marc Andreyko to pen the spinoff comic, whose storyline is being kept under wraps but “will incorporate some of the film’s characters and mythology with some fresh themes,” according to the companies.

The new movie, to be released in October by Overture, centers on a bullied 12-year old who strikes a bond with a new neighbor, a young girl who emerges only at night and seems immune to the winter elements.

• DC teased a few projects, including the 100th issue of FABLES, which would include this lovely board game fold-out.

• There will be an X-Files-30 Days of Night crossover.

• The Paul Dini/Alex Ross collaborations are being released in a collected edition at standard trim size.

• ALL-STAR SUPERMAN by Morrison and Quitely will be collected in a big fat edition.

Peter Straub and soap opera star Michael Easton will collaborate with John Bolton on a graphic novel called THE GREEN MAN.

• After decades in production, the Marv Wolfman/George Perez Teen Titans graphic novel is completed and will be out in November.

• Wayne also announced a complicated program for Blackest Night hardcovers that would essentially allow retailers to order now and pay later. Eight collections will be released over a four week period, so it will be a large investment for retailers and consumers.

IDW Dungeons and Dragons• IDW announced a new Dungeons and Dragons book.

• Avatar announced a new book based on Garth Ennis’s Crossed universe by David Lapham and a movie deal for the book, with producer Ken Levin putting together an indie financing deal via Michael De Luca, Jason Netter and Kevin Spacey’s Trigger Street Prods, with Ennis penning the script. The post-apocalyptic splatter-comedy was drawn by Jacen Burrows.

Comments

  1. I’d love new comics to be on Tuesdays instead of Wednesdays. As it stands right now, Monday and Tuesday are dead for myself, and I’d assume most stores. New books on Tuesday would give stores an extra good day of sales. If it also meant getting books on Monday for a Tuesday release? That’s the best possible outcome for any store. Just the fact that this is being entertained is an amazing step in the right direction!

  2. I wouldn’t mind the change from Wednesday to Tuesday, though I wonder if that means Diamond would still announce new releases on Monday afternoons.

    I do object to “elite” sites getting news sooner than other sites, and not just because my site is not an “elite” site. I remember when I requested getting press releases from DC and Marvel. They both asked for stats on my site, apparently because they didn’t want to send press releases to a site with low traffic. I found that odd, as any press should be good press, especially for an industry in decline. Comic publishers should getting news and previews to as many places as possible, not limiting the outlets with a “variant cover” mentality that doesn’t serve them well.

  3. Randall Kirby says:

    “Games” is finally coming out? that’s fantastic!

  4. John Layman says:

    Did Bob Wayne say anything about going back and ret-conning Wednesday Comics to Tuesday Comics?

  5. If Diamond is going to create a “Street Date Team”, I’d love to get that job! As a former book retailer who has also worked for a book wholesaler / distributor, I would love the opportunity to travel around the country checking for compliance issues. How would one apply for this job?

  6. Larry Shuput says:

    $5 per account per week – approx 1000 accounts – $5000 per week x 52 weeks $260,000 per year
    “Street team” – minimum wage person sitting in a room calling shops on tuesday asking if x is on sale – maybe $20,000 a year
    ..or more likely a volunteer network throughout the country being bribed with free comics to rat out there local stores – cost, probably less than $10,000 per year

    i have always loved diamond’s approach to bilking the retailers

  7. Alan Coil says:

    John Layman — Well done! That’s exactly something that Bob Wayne would say.

  8. Marcus Lusk says:

    Ryan Higgins is right. Mondays and Tuesdays are dead days in most all shops. Tuesday street dates would be a godsend.

  9. Alan Coil says:

    Is a Tuesday street date for comics something that Diamond wants to do to save money, or is it something the larger retailers are asking for to increase costs on the smaller retailers in an attempt to drive them out of business? Some smaller stores are not open on Monday and Tuesday because they just can’t afford the manpower for a 7-day operation.

  10. monday and tuesday might be dead in your shop, but with some effort, every day is busy at my store. Depending on just the new comics shipment to bring in customers is a recipe for disaster in the long-term.
    Excitement over a new release is wonderful, but short-lived.

  11. I never wanted to be an elite news outlet anyway.

  12. Nate Horn says:

    I love how the comic industry acts like it’s still a big time thing with big time sales. It’s so cute with it’s 300,000 customers acting like it’s a big deal.

    Snark aside, Larry Shuput is dead on the money. “Street date team” is just a fancy new term for continuing to steal your money.

  13. There will be an X-Files-30 Days of Night crossover.

    This sounds like a stupid idea.

    ALL-STAR SUPERMAN by Morrison and Quitely will be collected in a big fat edition.

    I can’t believe it’s taken them this long. Also, 12 issues hardly constitutes a “big fat” book in my eyes.

  14. Nooooo! Don’t change new comics day to Tuesday! I’ll have to re-name my blog!

  15. Tekende, maybe DC is going to have the All Star Supes as a big fat book by making every panel be its own page!

  16. Sam Hobart says:

    As a former retailer, getting comics the day before release is potentially worth a surcharge, though the fact that Diamond gets to make that decision unilaterally is a whole other bag of issues (and $5 a week if I’m reading correctly seems a bit steep).

  17. Brendan T says:

    Man, if Crossed is considered a comedy, I’d hate to see what you find scary. :p

  18. I’m not in favor of changing release date to Tuesday. I don’t want to pay an extra $520 a year for my 2 stores either.

  19. [but frankly, our thought is, why compete with books and DVDs? Comics are the Wednesday crowd!]

    You missed the forest for the trees. Millions bought Twilight Novels and DVDs, less than 100k bought the Twilight GN. Millions saw Spidey/X-Men/Supes… on the big creen and bought the DVD, less than 100k buy the comic and way less the GN. There is no Wednesday CROWD and we, as an industry, are starving.

    We already compete with Books, Games CDs and DVDs. Actually, that’s not really true since it is tough to compete when you give your “competition” a full day head start on consumer’s entertainment $$.

    New Release Tuesday changes that, as well as allows retailers an opportunity to restock outages prior to the weekend traffic instead of waiting until the next Wednesday.

    We might also see more mainstream media attention with release info being available to include with that of competing product.

    This industry has backed itself into a malnourished niche corner and actually allowing Comic Retailers to offer our wares side by side with other entertainment media is a way to change that, with no downside at all.

  20. [Some smaller stores are not open on Monday and Tuesday because they just can’t afford the manpower for a 7-day operation.]

    Alan, nobody will HAVE TO open Monday or Tuesday if they don’t want to. Here in San Diego there is a chain of 4 Day Tire and also 3 Day Blinds stores. Both have competitors open 7 days a week but apparently have developed a model that works for them.

    If you want to be a 5 or 6 Day Comic Shop, more power to you but please don’t ask to hold back the rest of the industry because some stores can’t afford to be open every day.

    That is a symptom of why this move is necessary.

  21. Regarding Tuesdays, did they give any thought to how this might negatively affect the customers? Most regular customers have jobs and some (certainly not all, but some) have had to go to elaborate lengths to set up Wednesday as a day that they can get some extra time off during lunch, or to get off a bit early in the afternoon, in order to make it to their comic shops. Changing those arrangements to a Tuesday probably wouldn’t be a problem for some, but for others it may be an issue, or it might take awhile to make that change.

    One of the advantages of buying comics from an lcs is having them on their release day and being able to talk about them immediately with fellow fans in the store or online. That’s diminished if/when a customer has to wait for a weekend, if they are not easily able to change their schedule to a Tuesday.

    Considering current sales trends, do the publishers really want to do anything that might make it harder for current customers to get their weekly “fix”?

  22. [with no downside at all.]

    Sure there’s the possibility of a downside. What if none of the DVD, Book, Game non-comics buying crowd cares about new comics anymore on Tuesdays than they do on Wednesdays, while the current comics crowd, if given the choice between those other interests and comics, chooses those other things instead. The current customer level may be bad, but it can always get worse.

  23. There is no problem with wednesdays as they stand. so to state emphaticially that it is a problem is 100% bull hockey robert. it may a horrible thing for you with one store but NOT for us..we are a chain of NINE stores.a chain.
    this is not a problem that need to be fixed. this is nopt a problem that needs to be addressed and it is not a problem period. been here done this.
    if anyone doesn’t see the trees for the forest it is you. there is not drop of quantitative evidence anywhere that states this NEEDS to be done- as you state. to write that you have the inside track and want to solve a problem for “US”(the industry) is ludicriouis at best. you are a small operation that runs a big ego because of your blog operstions. you are NOT any wiser than anyone else yet from your comments you profess to think you know what is best for us (wink wink).
    give it up. this is an idea not a great idea. that is all. it changes nothing financially and hurts as many as it may help. but you never thought (as the comics pro pundits don’t)ever think of the other guys in the industry. you only think about how it will affect YOU. and you alone. then you write and write to get others to go your way.
    maybe if you spent more time working on your tiny store and improved it and spent less time trying to be mr. big and try to TELL people what to do you might be able to grow your business. didn’t you used to have TWO stores?
    the facts of this are more MONEY-driven by diamond that your “this HAS to be done” bullhockey.

    since diamond inherited Capital they have HATED tuesday delivery as it is. HATED and HATES now. they hate all things about tuesday delivery. i was told emphaticially by diamond folks that if they could get rid of tuesday delivery they would and make EVERYONE pick up on WED.
    diamond decisions are all based on MONEY. not the good of the industry,not based on what robert scott wants. (and probably small minds at comics pro)want. MONEY. PERIOD. M O N E Y . period.
    notice the $5 dollar fee to check up on us? more money.
    in my town the change to pick up on monday is small as books usually show up at the pick up point on monday already. diamond would be able to consolidate some pick up points and get more people in the doors in lesser time than now i would imagine. i am not up on all the reasons, but $260,000 reasons sound pretty good (based on what i just read).
    again, we WILL NOT sell more because it is a tuesday (be there-done that). we will NOT have a longer sell through time (been there done that also),will not take money from dvds and games because their new releases are tues.(HUH?)
    robert you are not an industry leader like you think you are.
    i suggest you shut up and let the boys with actual history and experience deal with this. besides i bet you were one of the loonies who actually WANT another skip week. sigh.
    if you wish to be helpful,from now on look at these things from someone elses perspective first. say someone in nebraska or mississippi. try to imagine how these changes would affect people outside your area.
    imagine if you had to worry about the logistics of two or more stores? how would that affect things. just quit thinking about only yourself for once…please?

  24. Justin says:

    X-Files/30 Days of Night cross-over sounds interesting…I wonder how many issues it will be.

  25. An X-Files/30 Days x-over does sound interesting. Even better would be Steve Niles writing it.

  26. Torsten Adair says:

    I don’t work for an LCS, but do work for a medium box retailer of books, DVDs, music, toys, and magazines. Regular bookstores live by street dates every week, with media titles sold on Tuesday (so that news outlets can prepare reviews, etc.). Everything else… it goes on sale immediately.

    Here are some suggestions:
    1) Each retailer signs a contract not to sell comics before Wednesday.
    2) If a retailer requires early “Tuesday” shipping (need time to process a large, open until 1AM, store opens before shipments arrive), they pay a percentage surcharge for that Early Bird order.
    3) Diamond sets up a hotline for people to report violations. Penalties can be: fines, loss of early shipping, late shipping (“Friday Comics”), no business relationship.
    4) The Street Teams… unnecessary. Aren’t the sales people travelling around the country already? The surcharge can fund better, more frequent visits.
    5) Everthing else ships ASAP.

  27. Jamie, Robert’s Comic Book Industry Alliance forum is a valuable resource for many comic stores around the world. One of the reasons he established that forum was to share ideas with other comic stores on how everyone could fine tune the way they do business. Robert will tell you that he does things at his store from what he learned from others at CBIA.

    Regarding this whole topic of Tuesday possibly being new comic release day. It sounds like Diamond brought this up at the summit, rather than stores asking for it and it sounded like they actually talked about it when they could have just quickly said “no there’s too many logistics involved for this to be possible” and moved on to another topic. So maybe Diamond is seeing the benefit for Tuesday being new release day to be more competitive with other media releases. Yes there will be some things to iron out to make this happen, but the potential benefits would outweigh the negatives. And there are A LOT of prominent comic store retailers (even those that own multi-stores) that would like to see this move to Tuesday.

  28. Alan Coil says:

    Just a note to thank Robert and Jamie for their input.

  29. Move it back to Tuesday and watch all the people going to the DVD store on Tuesday not notice or care. Are comics on their radar? Are DVD shops going to start stocking comics? That’s the scenario where it would make some sense.

  30. From where I’m standing, the Tuesday/Wednesday delivery day is pretty much a huge non-issue. People aren’t blowing their entertainment budget on Tuesday and then not having money for comics on Wednesday. But then most people know *nothing* about DM comic stores, not even to go in on Wednesday to get their comics fresh and hot. They. Do. Not. Know.

    Better to fix that than worry about retooling the entire delivery infrastructure.

  31. John L. says:

    I’m just going to leave this here….

    “The greatest enemy of a good plan is the dream of a perfect plan.”

    As true today as it was 180 years ago, and it applies to almost anything in life.

  32. I’d like to buy a vowel.

  33. Jamie Graham said to Robert Scott: “…but you never thought (as the comics pro pundits don’t)ever think of the other guys in the industry. you only think about how it will affect YOU. and you alone.”

    I’ll suggest that it would be far wiser for you, Jamie, to espouse opinions that actually are based in fact, not speculation.

    As the president of “comics pro pundits” I can tell you that we always make an effort to listen to and respond to the opinions of all of our members. If an opinion from one of our members can gather consensus from the membership, then the board of directors will act on it.

    That’s something you probably weren’t aware of because you are not a member of ComicsPRO, which comprises many of the best and brightest retailers in the comics specialty market.

  34. Moving business from Wed to Mon or Tues may create more business on those days, but it isn’t likely to create more business overall. Talk about fixing a problem that isn’t there.

  35. [Better to fix that than worry about retooling the entire delivery infrastructure.]

    That’s part of the fix Matt.

    Right now, for most of the world, comics and the direct market are invisible and to many of those it isn’t invisible too, it is an afterthought to much other entertainment product.

    Being able to have product available the same day as competinig entertainment product will give us a lot more opportunities for notice and poise GN releases to be more easily be included in Media coverage of DVD, Game and Music releases.

    It also provides some logistical benefit to companies wanting crossover promotion for Game/Movie tie-in comics and swing some of the non DM sales of CD/DVD/Games to DM shops who also carry some of that product.

    It also prevents Bookstores who get books from sources other than Diamond from having comic product available for sale a day ahead of the DM and siphoning away even more $$$.

    Even if there was no benefit, there’s no reason not to do it but with the potential for new customers and new $$$ and new recognition of an industry that has been underperforming for years, there is every reason to make the move.

  36. [Moving business from Wed to Mon or Tues may create more business on those days, but it isn’t likely to create more business overall.]

    Why would you say that?

    First of all it gives retailers a chance to receive and process product over the course of a typically slower Monday, meaning less labor costs which immediately makes it more profitable for retailers.

    It also gives retailers a full day of sales to gauge whether they underestimated a title and gives them the ability to reorder and have it back in stock Thursday or Friday while the fan buzz is strong (and for the weekend casual consumer) instead of a week later when the new weeks books are now the focus.

    It also helps promotional efforts like Midnight Release parties because books are already on hand. Not sure if we’ll have one before then but we hope to be doing a Scott Pilgrim Midnight Event and bringing in hundreds of copies by themselves would cost a lot more than having them shipped with our weekly order to arrive. Again saving money that I can reallocate to staff, product or a much needed vacation, all of which ultimately benefits my customers.

    Also getting back to reorders, we get a lot of non comic buyers through the store on the weekends who may just be walking off a meal or may have read or heard a NYT or NPR review of a GN. Because we buy non returnable, we don’t always have the option to stock GN as deep as Borders or Amazon but seeing that we are down to 1 or 2 copies of something that shipped Tuesday and being able to restock before the weekend and have those books available for “civilians” impulse purchases absolutely creates more (and return) business.

    But overall, anything that helps retailers do a better job will improve business and this has a huge potential to do that with no downside.

    I’ve been a retailer for over 20 years and work with the best of the best on a daily basis, so if you have questions about stuff like this feel free to ask me and I’ll answer as best I can.

    You can also click my name above to see industry stuff I’ve already talksed about.

  37. Kenny Cather says:

    I don’t care what days comics are available on. I only buy books from Amazon or directly from artists I like.

  38. [this has a huge potential to do that with no downside.]

    Did you not read my earlier response(s), or are you just choosing to ignore them as they don’t fit perfectly into the world that you have imagined?

    I already explained to you that there’s the possibility for current customers to cut back, or leave the shops entirely. If a customer can’t change their pick-up day from Wednesday to Tuesday, and so knows that they’re going to be late reading the comics anyway, then there’s a much greater potential for them to switch to a) one of the online services that offer much greater discounts then the average lcs does, or b) switch to the collected format, which can also be purchased more cheaply online, or c) realize that they can live without their weekly comic fix.

    How many customers are willing to switch to Tuesday’s and how many are not? Will they be willing to move to a pickup later in the week? Will they come less often, which sometimes means purchasing less? Will this change cause them to leave their lcs’ entirely? What if the number is larger than you assume? How many of these “new” customers that you imagine might come in to replace them? Are these “new” customers grounded in anything other than wishful thinking?

    Have you even asked these questions? Have you given any thought to them at all? Your saying that there’s no potential downside is NOTHING more than your opinion unless you can prove, or at least argue, otherwise. At this point you’ve said nothing to suggest that you’ve given the downside any consideration.

    You do list some benefits of having product arrive earlier than it currently does, but why would that change have to be synonymous with a Tuesday street date? Couldn’t those same benefits, or at least many of them, be achieved with maintaining a Wednesday date?

    [ will give us a lot more opportunities for notice and poise GN releases to be more easily be included in Media coverage of DVD, Game and Music releases.]

    Do you have any feasible plans to achieve this? Will the fact that hundreds of products show up at stores on Tuesdays automatically cause Media to list them when they have not listed them before? Wouldn’t one assume that the manufacturer’s of the existing product be opposed to hundreds of new entires that might well overwhelm their relatively few listings? How might those manufacturer’s object, or counter such a move by the comic industry? What preparations have you made in anticipation of such objections?

    “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” is a song, it’s not a business strategy.

  39. [Did you not read my earlier response(s), or are you just choosing to ignore them as they don’t fit perfectly into the world that you have imagined?]

    Can we dial back the hostility?

    [I already explained to you that there’s the possibility for current customers to cut back, or leave the shops entirely.]

    In the 20+ years I’ve been in comic retail and the numerous release day changes that have occured, this has NEVER been an issue.

    It is unimagineable that a quantifiable number of comic readers who couldn’t come in on Tuesday are going to give up buying comics from their LCS instead of buying them Wednesday as usual.

    [How many customers are willing to switch to Tuesday’s and how many are not?]

    Nobody has to switch, it’s a moot point.

    {Will they be willing to move to a pickup later in the week?]

    They don’t need to. They can keep getting them Wednesday as always.

    [Will they come less often, which sometimes means purchasing less?]

    Fans? Not likely.

    [Will this change cause them to leave their lcs’ entirely?]

    No

    [How many of these “new” customers that you imagine might come in to replace them? Are these “new” customers grounded in anything other than wishful thinking?]

    Yep, grounded in over 20 years of Comic Retail, how about you?

    [Have you even asked these questions? Have you given any thought to them at all?]

    I ask questions everyday, it is why I am still thriving in this business after 20+ years while so many of our competitiors have closed.

    It is why the NY Times now lists GN Best Sellers.

    And it is why I’ve been asking for this change for years.

    [You do list some benefits of having product arrive earlier than it currently does, but why would that change have to be synonymous with a Tuesday street date? Couldn’t those same benefits, or at least many of them, be achieved with maintaining a Wednesday date?]

    No it really couldn’t, not across the board. It would require storing product which is a hardship in smaller stores as well as forcing COD customers to pay for items but not be able to sell them for 2-3 days which may not be financially possible for them to do.

    [Will the fact that hundreds of products show up at stores on Tuesdays automatically cause Media to list them when they have not listed them before?]

    A lot of this is logistical. Because items ship later, info is not available at press time and media is not going to run comics by themselves. Items releasing earlier means info will be available earlier and can be included with the rest, just like the NY Times now does for their Best Seller info.

    [Wouldn’t one assume that the manufacturer’s of the existing product be opposed to hundreds of new entires that might well overwhelm their relatively few listings?]

    No, one wouldn’t assume.

    [How might those manufacturer’s object, or counter such a move by the comic industry?]

    There’s nothing they could do but considering much of their output is comic based, why would you think they would? Look at their use of Comic-Con to reach out to potential customers.

    [“Don’t Worry, Be Happy” is a song, it’s not a business strategy.]

    Neither is “the sky is falling.” BTW what business are you in, that gives you the insight you are sharing?

  40. Mark Coale says:

    With Heidi at the show and likely too busy to check the site with any consistency, I’m going to hold up on any comments before it degenerates any farther.

    If she wishes to re-open it later tonight or when she gets back to NYC, she’s the boss.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] The Beat is reporting on the possibility of Diamond Comics Distributors shifting new comics release day from Wednesday, as it’s been for many years, to Tuesday, to be on an even playing field with other entertainment releases like books, DVDs, etc.   The Beat reports retailers at the C2E2 conference were about 60-40 in favor of the change.   Wednesday is pretty ingrained in the comics hardcore — DC even named its recent anthology series “Wednesday Comics” — but according to the report, this would allow all retailers to have a day to process orders, as opposed to most having to haphazardly throw out new releases on new release day, without a chance to pre-sort or screen them. [...]

  2. [...] DC did announce at the retailer's summit a 30 Days of Night/X-Files crossover coming from Wildstorm. Author Peter Straub was on hand to talk [...]