Comic Retailers Name Image Comics Publisher of the Year

It’s hard to disagree with this choice. The Gem Awards, run by Diamond Comic Distributors, are selected by comic book specialty retailers and are “recognized within the comic book industry as the pinnacle of sales achievement”. So note, these are not signs of quality recognition, but an indicator of what sells well for retailers.

The Walking Dead FCBD edition

With that in mind, it’s good to see Image’s dedication to diversity in its titles — with all kinds of genres and subjects — recognized with the award Comic Book Publisher of the Year (Over 4% Market Share). The publisher also won Best New Comic Book Series for East of West and Best Free Comic Book Day book for The Walking Dead Special.

DC Entertainment, long a favorite for its retailer-friendly policies, won the most awards with six, including Top Dollar Comic of the Year (what a category!) for Superman Unchained #1 and Backlist Publisher of the Year. (Backlist means not new product, but perennials, such as DC’s Watchmen collection. It’s hard to envision any other comic publisher with as strong a list of perpetual sellers.)

The Comic Book Publisher of the Year with Under 4% Market Share award went to Boom! Studios. Marvel won two awards, Top Dollar Comic Book Publisher of the Year (whether stores like their policies or not, Marvel comics sell well) and Comic Book of the Year (Over $3.00), which was Superior Spider-Man #1. Comic Book of the Year (Under $3.00) was Afterlife With Archie #1. Why that particular price break or even why the category needs to be split, I don’t know.

Said Diamond President & CEO Steve Geppi, “We established the Gem Awards to give comic retailers an opportunity to recognize the vendors, titles, and products that have been instrumental in helping their businesses grow over the past year.” There are many more awards included in the official press release, including a number of toy products, if you’re interested in those.

I do wonder just how the selection process works. It can’t be easy picking among your customers to choose who to recognize, particularly since Diamond is dependent on the goodwill of the bigger players to stay in business. The press release says, “Vendors nominated for Gem Awards were chosen by a panel of Diamond product specialists based on their overall impact on the industry, while comics and related merchandise were chosen on the merits of their sales performance and quality from 2013. Winners were then selected by members of the most critical segment that serves the comic book-buying public — comic book specialty retailers across the United States and worldwide.”

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