A few pieces of comics distribution news have hit over the past few days, one around a new upstart publisher landing in traditional channels, and another about a new organization helping the smallest of small publishers finding a path into the direct market.
First, the former. Last month, Comixology founder David Steinberger and former executive Chip Mosher announced the launch of DSTLRY, a new creator-owned publishing house releasing print and digital comics from a star-studded cast of writers and artists. At the time the method of delivery for the physical, 48-page comics DSTLRY will release was unclear aside from it being via traditional means. Now that question has a clear answer, as the publisher has signed deals with both Diamond Comics Distributors (and Diamond Book Distributors) and Lunar Distribution.
Diamond and Lunar will both distribute print DSTLRY titles to comic shops in the direct market. Diamond will also exclusively distribute DSTLRY titles to the bookstore market both in North America and internationally. DSTLRY Chief Creative Officer Mosher expounded on the publisher’s partnerships with Diamond and Lunar in separate releases:
“Diamond has a 41-year history of expertise specializing in bringing comics and graphic novels to booksellers, local comic shops, and every nook and cranny around the globe. Diamond has been an integral foundation to the comic ecosystem, and I couldn’t imagine launching DSTLRY without Diamond’s aid,” said DSTLRY co-founder and CCO Chip Mosher.
“In a few brief years, Lunar has emerged as one of the most dependable and professional distributors in the industry,” says DSTLRY Chief Creative Officer Chip Mosher. “We’re excited to partner with an organization as trusted and aligned with the needs of the direct market as Lunar.”
No word on when single-issue titles from DSTLRY will start to become available from Diamond and Lunar, though the publisher has stated that Diamond Book Distributors will have collected editions of their titles beginning in 2024.
Meanwhile, on the other end of the publishing spectrum, self-published comics are about to get a leg up in finding a larger audience. ICv2 reports on the formation of the Independent Comic Book Creators Association, a creator co-op launching in July that will offer print-on-demand and direct market distribution services for self-published creator-owned comics. Creators can become members of the ICBCA for a monthly fee, while participating retailers can order books from the ICBCA for no additional fee.
More details from Brigid Alverson‘s ICv2 report:
Founded by comics creators Blake Seals and Phil Avelli, ICBCA will provide printing and distribution services for creators, and for retailers, they will offer a catalog, ordering infrastructure, and other support.
Retailers in the U.S. and Canada will receive the ICBCA’s quarterly catalog, Fanfare, in both print and digital format, and can order from that, with discounts up to 55% off the cover price. There is a returns program for unsold copies, and there is no minimum order. All items will have bar codes to simplify ordering and inventory, and no comic will be solicited in Fanfare until it is complete.
ICBCA’s website also lays out the benefits of membership for creators:
As a member in the ICBCA you will have full access to these creator services:
• SOLICITATION & DISTRIBUTION to comic shops across the United States & Canada in Indie Comics Fanfare.
• DIRECT SALES to fans around the world on the Indie Comics Fanfare website.
• PROMOTIONAL opportunities in print & online in Indie Comics Fanfare.
• RETAIL BLIND BOX opportunities in the ICBCA Box of Independents.
• CONVENTION representation & opportunities.
• TRULY WHOLESALE-COST PRINT-ON-DEMAND and B2B cost on promo items (ie posters, banners, standees etc.)
• COLLABORATION & WORK opportunities on the ICBCA Job Board.
• Participation in the ICBCA Saddle Stitch Awards.
• MEMBERS ONLY exclusive video content from industry pros.
The success of most self-published comics has always relied on creators having three things up-front: the ability to produce the content of the the book, the capital to cover printing costs, and the support of an existing distributor. ICBCA membership should go a long way towards removing those latter two barriers for a lot of indie comics creators, so they can focus on the creative aspect of comics. No word on what membership will cost creators at this time, or on what cut of sales the co-op will keep and what will go to creators.
ICBCA will launch on July 4th, and you can sign up for updates on their site.