ComicsPRO Responds to Civil War Delays

In response to problems getting key comic titles on the West Coast, most recently Civil War #6, the retailer group ComicsPRO has released a statement:

An Open Letter from the Board of Directors of ComicsPRO

Due to weather conditions the last two weeks, Direct Market retailers serviced from Diamond’s Los Angeles warehouse have been severely allocated on high profile books (a 30% allocation on JUSTICE #9 and a 13% allocation on CIVIL WAR #6 are the biggest recent examples). Retailers serviced by Diamond’s other distribution facilities in Plattsburgh NY and Memphis TN have also experienced some allocations and title shortages.

While retailers understand and sympathize with the unpredictable nature of truck breakdowns, weather-related delays, and “Acts of God”, we strongly urge that better policies be implemented to handle these unfortunate circumstances, both on the distribution level and the communication level.

The ComicsPRO Board of Directors urges the following. In circumstances of allocated shipments of under 60% (sixty percent), when the expected release of the balance of the order is the next week, ALL ORDERS should be held until then, so that all product is distributed equally within the Direct Market.

Further, the Board recommends that in all circumstances when one warehouse fails to receive a product the other warehouses are able to distribute, then all nationwide direct-shipped reorders should be frozen to prevent any retailer from circumventing the system in an attempt to gain an unfair competitive advantage over other retailers.

Finally, the Board recommends the national shipping lists provided by Diamond should be updated and annotated with regional differences in product availability, to help stem the considerable consumer confusion this generates. Releases to consumer-oriented comic book news sites are also called for in these cases.

The ComicsPRO board believes these should be official policies, and not case-by-case determinations made without retailer input. The ComicsPRO Board also offers to consult with Diamond in regards to these policies.

This should be interesting. Some were saying that this was an opportunity for the relatively new organization to step up and demonstrate that they could make a difference, so I’m glad to see them make a statement. However, I wonder how the many non-members (there are fewer than 100 members currently) may react to losing out on comics because one region’s shipments are impacted.

Then there’s the huge question of how Diamond will respond. Will they ignore it? Counter-propose? Say they’ll follow it (but let’s see what really happens next time)? Do their systems even allow for all-or-nothing releases, or do the warehouses operate on different schedules? Does Diamond even do any releases to news sites now, or are they expected to add staff and/or systems to begin doing that?

Update: I suspect some won’t take kindly to Marvel making fun of the whole situation.

5 Responses to “ComicsPRO Responds to Civil War Delays”

  1. Jer Says:

    Re: the update – Ah the Internets – once again allowing the fans to glimpse the “professionals” acting like 10 year olds. Geez. In what other industries do producers actively mock their customers (in this case the retailers) like that in a public forum? (Yes, I know about the mocking that goes on in back rooms, but generally its kept away from the customers themselves).

    I mean, mocking the fans is one thing – they’ve done that for as long as I remember and as I’m always reminded “the fans aren’t really the customers, the retailers are”, but mocking the retailers? Yeesh. That’s fairly new, isn’t it?

    Of course, its not like the retailers are in any position to do anything but take it. Marvel and Diamond could pretty much decide to yank them around however they feel like and given the market there’s not really a damn thing that the retailers can do about it. But you’d hope that Marvel would act a little professionally about the whole thing, wouldn’t you?

  2. Dan Says:

    I was definitely surprised that Tom Brevoort made fun of the whole Civil War allocation problem. I imagine the part that was cut, was cut by the Marvel PR guys for that EXACT reason.

    Marvel has alot of blame to share in this. Not for the allocation so much, as for the constant shipping delays and general atmosphere of disappointment of their being unable to be on deadline.

    I would hope Marvel would learn from this situation, not make fun of it.

    By the way, the same day as he released this blog Tom B. basically came out and said issue 7 wouldn’t make it out on the current-updated-for-the-3rd-time ship date. More on Tyesday the 9th.

  3. Lisa Lopacinski Says:

    I am a ComicsPRO member, and I was glad to see the board step up when this happened. My fear is that they did it because a number of the board members are on the West Coast and were impacted, but if it happened to the East Coast or Midwest they wouldn’t have done the same. I HOPE I’m wrong.

    I am continually disgusted by Marvel’s “I’m better than you are” mentality when it comes to retailers. They really seem to be forgetting who actually pays for the bulk of the comics they make. SURE Civil War sells well, even when it’s late, but that is NOT a good reason to strut around acting all self-important. 52 sells well too, and it has consistantly, and it has come out every week WITHOUT a delay.

  4. Journalista » Blog Archive » Jan. 9, 2007: How to get laid in Roppongi Says:

    […] As if it weren’t obvious enough that Marvel Comics views the Direct-Market retailer as its own personal toilet slave, Rich Johnston (second item down) notes that the House That Jack Built sent out last week’s comics with inserts that resulted in damaged books reaching retailers — books that won’t be returnable, since the stock at Diamond is damaged as well, and Marvel has no plans for a second printing on the product in question. Also, Marvel sent separate giveaway cards to retailers — who were then billed for shipping charges. Isn’t that nice? What’s next, Marvel editorial staff snidely celebrating the grief Marvel’s inflicted upon shopowners in song, or something? Oh, wait… (Last link via Johanna Draper Carlson.) […]

  5. Comics Worth Reading » Happy Birthday, Tom Brevoort Says:

    […] I also appreciate the way he keeps showing readers of his blog what it’s like day-to-day working as an editor, even when they (or I) take out frustrations on him that he doesn’t have much to do with. […]




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