Direct market

The direct market is the dominant distribution and retail network for American comic books. The concept of the direct market was created in the 1970s by Phil Seuling. It currently consists of one dominant distributor (Diamond Comic Distributors) and the majority of comics specialty stores, as well as other retailers of comic books and related merchandise.

The name is no longer a fully accurate description of the model by which it operates, but derives from its original implementation: retailers bypassing existing distributors to make "direct" purchases from publishers. The defining characteristic of the direct market however is non-returnability: unlike book store and news stand distribution, which operate on a sale-or-return model, direct market distribution prohibits distributors and retailers from returning their unsold merchandise for refunds. In exchange for more favorable ordering terms, retailers and distributors must gamble that they can accurately predict their customers' demand for products. Each month's surplus inventory, meanwhile, could be archived and sold later, driving the development of an organized market for "back issues."

The emergence of this lower-risk distribution system is also credited with providing an opportunity for new comics publishers to enter the business, despite the two bigger publishers Marvel and DC Comics still having the largest share. The establishment and growth of independent publishers and self-publishers, beginning in the late 1970s and continuing to the present, was made economically possible by the existence of a system that targets its retail audience, rather than relying on the scattershot approach embodied in the returnable newsstand system.

Comic book specialty shops

Prior to the 1970s, most comics were found in newsstands, grocery, drug, convenience, and toy stores. A handful of early comic book specialty shops first appeared in the late 1960s, stocking back issues as well as sourcing new releases from newsstand distributors and the new counterculture underground comix. The oldest known such comics specialty shop in North-America (or worldwide for that matter) has been Canadian comic book store Viking Bookshop, established in Toronto by "Captain George" Henderson in the spring of 1966, one year later renamed to Memory Lane Books when it relocated to other premises in the city.[1][2] The oldest US comic book store is reputed to have been Gary Arlington's San Francisco Comic Book Company which was established in April 1968 in the namesake city.[3][4] Neither store is in existence anymore. In the 1970s, the development of the direct market allowed a widespread network of comic shops to flourish. The specialty shop presented a number of competitive advantages:

  • Timing: direct-market specialty shops were often able to obtain new issues a week earlier than newsstand vendors.[5]
  • Condition: the wire racks of grocery, drug, and toy stores were often only half the height of comic books, resulting in bent spines and dog-eared pages. In contrast, direct market retail outlets usually attempt to maintain their inventory in good condition. Their shelves are often the full height of the comic book. Many stores also included backing boards and mylar bags to further protect comics upon purchase (a practice that began in the 1980s and continues in some shops today).
  • Content: direct-only stores could cater to older, more mature audiences, and thus can market material deemed too offensive (due to graphic violence, nudity, language, drug use, etc.) for grocery/drug/convenience/toy stores. In addition, due to the non-returnable nature of direct sales, typical direct-only stores contain a substantial archive of back issues. These retailers could also stock ancillary merchandise such as figurines, posters, toys, and novelties that would not be expected to be stocked by newsstands, etc.
  • Price: The older, more mature customers of direct-only stores are typically willing to pay several times more than the average customer of a grocery/drug/toy store. Cover prices approaching (or even exceeding) $5.00 became common.
  • Knowledge: The proprietors of direct-only stores are often collectors themselves, which means they are quite familiar with their inventories. Customers often have the option of phoning their orders in ahead of time, and by the time the customers arrive at the direct-only stores their orders will be set aside behind the counter (known as "pull and hold"). Direct-only store proprietors often arrange their inventory by publisher and/or genre, as opposed to the haphazard presentation of grocery/drug/toy stores.



Before the direct market, most comic books were distributed through newsstands, pharmacies, and candy stores. The major distributors during this period included American News Company and the DC Comics property Independent News. Charlton Comics had their own distributor, Capital Distribution Company (CDC).[6] This practice lasted from the 1930s through the 1960s.

1960s and 1970s

The underground comix movement of the late 1960s was part of an alternative distribution network that also served the underground press, which proliferated in the mid-1960s. As underground comix were not sold in newsstands or drugstores, head shops played an important role as retailers of those publications.[7] The underground comix movement was based in San Francisco and a number of distributors originated in the Bay Area, including the Print Mint (beginning c. 1969), the already mentioned comic book store San Francisco Comic Book Company (which doubled as a publisher, beginning c. 1970), Bud Plant Inc. (1970), Last Gasp (1970), Keith Green/Industrial Realities (c. 1970), and Charles Abar Distribution. Around 1970, underground distributors sprang up in various regions of the U.S., including Los Angeles — George DiCaprio and Nova — and the Midwest — Donahoe Brothers Inc. (Ann Arbor, Michigan), Keep On Truckin' Coop/Big Rapids Distribution (Detroit, Michigan), Wisconsin Independent News Distributors (Madison, Wisconsin), Isis News (Minneapolis, Minnesota), and Well News Service (Columbus, Ohio).[8] By the mid-1970s, Big Rapids had acquired all of its midwestern competitors; by that time, the market for underground comix had essentially dried up.[7]

The direct market as we know it was created in the early 1970s in response to the declining market for mainstream comic books on newsstands. Fan convention organizer and comic dealer Phil Seuling approached publishers in 1972 to purchase comics directly from them, rather than going through traditional periodical distribution companies. Unlike the newsstand, or ID (for independent distributor) market, which included drugstores, groceries, toy stores, convenience stores, and other magazine vendors, in which unsold units could be returned for credit, these purchases were non-returnable. In return, comics specialty retailers received larger discounts on the books they ordered, since the publisher did not carry the risk of giving credit for unsold units. Instead, distributors and retailers shouldered the risk, in exchange for greater profits.

Additionally, retailers ordering comics through Seuling's Sea Gate Distributors (and within two years, through other companies) were able to set their own orders for each issue of each title, something which many local IDs did not allow. This ability to fine-tune an order was crucial to the establishment of a non-returnable system.[9]

Direct distributors typically were much faster at getting the product into the hands of their customers than were IDs: a direct distribution warehouse generally had re-shipped a weekly batch of comics or delivered it to local customers within a day or two (sometimes within hours) of receiving the books from the printer. By contrast, most IDs would usually take two or even three weeks to do so, though some moved more quickly. This factor was a strong drawing card for retailers whose customer base consisted principally of fans eager to see the new issues each week.

Finally, another factor in creating demand for direct sales distribution was that many IDs refused to deal with comics specialty shops or with any retailer who dealt in back issues on any terms at all, fearing that used comics could be purchased by these shops from readers for pennies, and then cycled back through the system as returns for full credit at a profit.

By the mid-1970s, other direct sales distribution concerns had sprung up, mostly regionally based (Donahoe Brothers in the Great Lakes region, Pacific Comics Distributors in Southern California, and New Media Distribution/Irjax in the Southeast were all operating by early 1974), essentially replacing the order-taking and fulfillment functions of newsstand distributors for the infant comic shop specialty market. For several years, Seagate retained an edge over its competitors in that it was able to provide "drop shipping" (the shipment of an order directly from the printer to the retailer) to its customers for quantities of 25 or multiples thereof per issue, while the newer distributors had to use more conventional methods, putting together customer orders and re-shipping or delivering them from their own warehouses. Threats of legal action[10] and the need for retailers to order very precise (and sometimes very small) quantities of items ended this practice for all but the largest customers by the end of the 1970s, and extended the ability to provide drop shipping to those large customers to all the direct distributors — by which time several of the newer distributors had multiple warehouses.

Newsstand distribution through the IDs continued at the same time (and indeed remained dominant for years afterward, on its conventional returnable, low-discount terms).


In the early 1980s, a trade organization, the International Association of Direct Distributors (IADD) was formed, consisting of all the distributors who purchased product directly from either DC, Marvel, or both. The IADD had annual conferences, issuing obscenity guidelines in 1987,[11] and electing Diamond Comic Distributors' Steve Geppi as IADD Vice President in 1988.[12]

As early as 1980, Marvel Comics saw the growth potential of the direct market,[13] and by 1981 was putting out a number of titles geared specifically to that market (including Dazzler). By the early 1980s, all the major publishers were producing material specifically for the new market, series that would probably not sell well enough on the newsstand, but sold well enough on a non-returnable basis to the more dedicated readers of the direct market to be profitable.[14]

Several of the new distributors lasted a relatively short time, and were succeeded by more competitive organizations; with no continuity of ownership and only limited continuity of personnel, it would nonetheless be fair to say that Diamond Comic Distributors replaced New Media/Irjax and Capital City Distribution largely replaced Big Rapids Distribution in the marketplace.

By 1985, the number of direct distributors in North America peaked with approximately twenty companies, many of them multi-warehouse operations, purchasing product for resale to retailers directly from either DC Comics, Marvel Comics, or both. There were also an unknown number, probably in the dozens, of sub-distributors who bought DC and Marvel product from these larger companies (and often the products of other, smaller publishers direct from those publishers), and re-sold to retailers. Most of these sub-distributors were in cities in which the direct distributors themselves did not (at least as yet) have warehouses, including Philadelphia, Boston, Columbus (Ohio), Madison (Wisconsin), Lansing (Michigan), Indianapolis, and Berkeley (California). Many of them were eventually absorbed by the companies which had been their principal suppliers.

From the mid-80s to the mid-90s, nearly every major urban area in the United States had at least one (and sometimes two or three) local direct distribution warehouses that functioned not only as distribution points for pre-ordered weekly shipments, but also as what could be described as "supermarkets for retailers", where store owners could shop for reorders and examine and purchase product that they might not have ordered in advance.


As newsstand sales continued to decline, the Direct Market became the primary market of the two major comics publishers (DC Comics and Marvel Comics).[9] In the late 1980s and early 1990s, as the popularity of comics collecting grew, many new comics shops opened, and existing retailers (such as sports card shops) joined the Direct Market, carrying comics as a side business. By this time, Diamond and Capital City each had approximately twenty warehouses from coast to coast, and both were functioning as fully national distributors. Several of their larger remaining competitors, notably Glenwood, Longhorn, and Bud Plant, had either sold out or gone out of business.

Such rapid growth (due partially to speculation) was unsustainable, however. The market contracted in the mid-1990s, leading to the closure of many Direct Market shops.[15] Diamond and Capital City began closing local warehouses, moving from a decentralized model in which many local warehouses provided full service to a given area to a centralized one with a few shipping hubs and no local walk-in service at all. In 1994, Capital City created controversy by announcing penalties for publishers who didn't deliver their products within promised deadlines; this move followed an industry-wide push for 30-day returnability, a practice formerly in use when comics were primarily distributed in newsstands.[16]

In early 1995, Marvel Comics purchased Heroes World, by that time the third largest distributor behind Diamond and Capital City,[17][18] with the intention of self-distributing their products; Heroes World also stopped carrying other publishers' books. Other distributors sought exclusive deals with other major publishers to compensate for the substantial loss of Marvel's business. DC Comics, Image Comics, Dark Horse Comics, and several smaller publishers made exclusive deals with Diamond Comic Distributors.[19] Most other distributors, including Capital City Distribution, Diamond's main competitor at the time, either went out of business or were acquired by Diamond.[20] Others established niches — such as re-orders — in which they could compete. When self-distribution failed to meet Marvel's objectives, they also signed an exclusive distribution deal with Diamond, which had by then become the primary supplier for the Direct Market.


In the early 2000s, the bookstore market began to challenge the Direct Market as a channel for sales of increasingly popular graphic novels. Meanwhile, Diamond has continued to dominate direct-market distribution, with the 2006 collapse of FM International leaving even less competition than ever. However, the growth of interest in comics among mainstream booksellers and book publishers has led to several publishers arranging for bookstore distribution outside of Diamond (for example, Tokyopop through HarperCollins,[21] or Fantagraphics through W. W. Norton),[22] while Diamond has created Diamond Book Distributors.[23]

Direct market distributors

The list below includes sub-distributors, who bought their mainstream comics from one of the companies below but many of whom were on direct terms with one or more of the smaller or underground publishers.[24]

United States

Distributor name Headquarters Founded Closed Fate Notes
Diamond Comic Distributors Baltimore, Maryland 1982 Active Inherited New Media/Irjax distribution centers and warehouses
Fat Jack's Comicrypt Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1976 Defunct as distributor Still active retailer that once acted as a sub-distributor
Last Gasp San Francisco, California 1970 Active Founded as a publisher; began distributing soon after
Westfield Comics Subscription Service Madison, Wisconsin 1979 Active Mail order retailer/distributor founded by Sherill Anthony and now run by her and her husband Bruce Ayers[25]
Action Direct Kansas City, Kansas Defunct operated in the 1980s; in 1985 acquired assets of Cavco Longhorn
Alternate Realities Distributing, Inc. Denver, Colorado 1979 1987 Acquired by Bud Plant Wholesale distributor operated by Mile High Comics and run by Nanette Rozanski[26]
Big Rapids Distribution Detroit, Michigan 1975 1980 Bankruptcy Originally underground press and underground comix distributor founded in 1970; began mainstream comics distribution in early 1975, when Donahoe Brothers Inc. of nearby Ann Arbor went under. Two former employees went on to form Capital City Distribution.
Bud Plant Inc. Grass Valley, California 1970 1988 Acquired by Diamond[27] Wholesale distribution operation
Capital City Distribution Madison, Wisconsin 1980 1996 Acquired by Diamond
Charles Abar Distribution Belmont, California 1982 Acquired by Bud Plant[28]
Cold Cut Distribution Salinas, California 1994 2008 Assets acquired by Haven Distribution Owned by Mark Thompson and Tim Stroup. Specialized in small-press and independent comics; in March 1998, acquired the assets of Minnesota-based Downtown Distribution[29]
The Comic Distributor Lansing, Michigan 1975 1979 Acquired by Big Rapids Distribution Sub-distributor started by former Donahoe Brothers employee Jim Friel. (The name "The Comic Distributor" was later taken by Mark Hylton of Comic Carnival.)
Comic Kingdom Detroit, Michigan 1981 early 1980s Acquired by Glenwood Distributors Started by retailer Bob Hellems
Comics Hawaii Honolulu, Hawaii Defunct
Comics Unlimited Staten Island, New York 1975 1994[30][31] Operated by Ron Foreman and Walter Wang; acquired by Diamond Also a retailer; retailer business acquired by Fantasy Books & Games in mid-1995[32]
Common Ground Distributors Berkeley, California 1978 1982 Acquired by Capital City Sub-distributor started by Robert Beerbohm and initially supplied by Big Rapids Distribution
Destiny Distributors Seattle, Washington early 1980s 1990 Acquired by Diamond.[33] Sub-distributor started by Phil Pankow and initially supplied by Bud Plant
Donahoe Brothers Inc. Ann Arbor, Michigan c. 1970 1975 Bankrupty; accounts acquired by Big Rapids Distribution The second direct distributor (pre-dating both Pacific Comics and New Media Distribution by a month or two). The Donahoes had been in business for about a year, dealing first with Marvel Comics, then Warren Publishing, Atlas/Seaboard Comics, Charlton Comics, and Archie Comics, and finally (and only for about two or three months) with DC Comics when they went out of business. Also known as Comic Center Enterprises; their catalog was called Weekly Dealer
FM International Wisconsin 1996 2006 Defunct; assets acquired by Westfield Comics Primarily supplied back-stock
Friendly Frank's Gary, Indiana[34] 1984[35] 1995 Acquired by Capital City[36] Owner's name was Frank W. Mangiaracina. "Registered agent" located in Gary, Indiana; owner's offices located in Glen Ellyn, Illinois.[35] Their catalog was called Future Comics.
Glenwood Distributors St. Louis, Missouri c. 1980 1987 Bankruptcy Sold in 1986,[37] they went through a financial crunch in the spring of 1987,[38] were sued by four publishers that summer,[39] and declared bankruptcy in the fall of 1987[40]
Global Hobo Distro San Francisco, California 2003 c. 2012 Defunct Distributor of hand-made and hard-to-find comics co-founded by Andy Hartzell and Jesse Reklaw; was partnered with Last Gasp
Haven Distributors Chicago, Illinois 2008 2011 Defunct Began by acquiring the assets of Cold Cut Distribution.[41] Primarily focused on non-exclusive independent publishers; formally out of business as of October 31, 2011.[42]
Heroes World Distribution Morristown, New Jersey 1975 1997 Acquired by Marvel Comics in 1995 The third largest distributor (behind Diamond and Capital City) at the time of its acquisition and out of business soon thereafter
Isis News Minneapolis, Minnesota mid-1970s Acquired by Big Rapids Distribution Sub-distributor
Cavco Longhorn Texas 1985[43] Accounts acquired by Action Direct
New Media Distribution/Irjax Rockville, Maryland c. 1974 1982 Assets sold to Diamond Irjax had been run by Hal Shuster since the 1970s.[44] In late 1981, the company filed for Chapter 11,[45] and in 1982 it sold the distribution end of the business to Steve Geppi (who immediately founded Diamond Comic Distributors).[46][47]
Nova Los Angeles, California mid-1970s Acquired by Big Rapids Distribution Sub-distributor
Pacific Comics Distributors San Diego, California c. 1974 1985 Bankruptcy; distribution centers and warehouses acquired by Bud Plant Inc. and Capital City Distribution Retailer, publisher, and distributor; went bankrupt in 1984
Print Mint Berkeley, California c. 1969 c. 1975 Defunct Also a publisher and retailer; mostly focused on underground comix, posters, and other products of the counterculture
Sea Gate Distributors Brooklyn, New York 1972 1985 Bankruptcy[48] Essentially the first direct market distributor
Second Genesis Distribution Portland, Oregon 1991[49] Acquired by Diamond in 1990
Solar Spice and Liquors Cambridge, Massachusetts c. 1981 1982 Acquired by Diamond Originally owned by Hal Shuster of New Media/Irjax
Southern Fantasies/C.I.B. Atlanta, Georgia 1986 c. 1994 Defunct
Sunrise Distributors Commerce, California early 1980s c. 1988 Bankruptcy[50] Run by Scott Mitchell Rosenberg
Well News Service Columbus, Ohio late 1970s Acquired by Big Rapids Distribution (?) Sub-distributor; their personnel later became the nucleus of an early Capital City Distribution branch
Wisconsin Independent News Distributors (WIND) Madison, Wisconsin 1971 late 1970s Acquired by Big Rapids Distribution Eventually run by Milton Griepp and John Davis, who later went on to co-found Capital City Distribution


  • Andromeda Distributing Limited (Toronto, Ontario) — established in 1989
  • Big Picture Distribution (Toronto, Ontario) — managed by Robert Myre
  • Comex Distributors (Calgary, Alberta) — acquired by Portland, Oregon-based Second Genesis Distribution in 1988[51]
  • Galileo Distributors (Edmonton, Alberta)
  • Multi-Book and Periodical (Toronto, Ontario)
  • Robin Hood Distribution (Oakville, Ontario)
  • Styx International (Winnipeg, Manitoba)

United Kingdom

See also


  1. ^ Bradburn, Jamie (2 September 2015). "Vintage Toronto Ads: Memory Lane – The story of "Captain George" Henderson, Toronto's first retailer to specialize in comic books".
  2. ^ VanderPloeg, Scott (14 September 2011). "Canada's 1st Comic Shop?".
  3. ^ "Comics History: Underground comix and the underground press".
  4. ^ Dorn, Lori (6 February 2014). "Gary Arlington (1938-2014), Owner of the First Comic Book Store in the United States".
  5. ^ Rozanski, Chuck. "Tales From the Database: Destroying the Entry Point of Most New Readers." Mile High Comics, March 2004.
  6. ^ Eury, Michael. Dick Giordano: Changing Comics, One Day at a Time (TwoMorrows Publishing, 2003), p. 42.
  7. ^ a b Estren, Mark James (1993). "Foreword: Onward!". A History of Underground Comics. Ronin Publishing. pp. 7–8, 10. ISBN 0-914171-64-X.
  8. ^ Distributor information, indicia, The Comics Journal #45 (March 1979).
  9. ^ a b Evanier, Mark. "Notes From Me," POV Online (Dec. 31, 2004). Accessed Oct. 14, 2014.
  10. ^ "Direct Distribution" in Duin, Steve and Richardson, Mike (ed.s). Comics Between the Panels (Dark Horse Publishing, 1998), pp. 126-130.
  11. ^ "Newswatch: Distributor Organization Issues Guidelines About Obscenity," The Comics Journal #117 (September 1987), p. 14.
  12. ^ "Newswatch: Diamond's Steve Geppi Elected IADD VP," The Comics Journal #125 (October 1988), p. 25.
  13. ^ "Marvel Focuses On Direct Sales," The Comics Journal #59 (October 1980), pp. 11-12.
  14. ^ "The Direct Sales Boom," The Comics Journal #64 (July 1981), p. 7.
  15. ^ Miller, John Jackson. "Nov. 17, 1992: A $30 Million Day — and the Days After," "The 1900s: 10 biggest events from 100 years in comics," (Dec. 12, 2005).
  16. ^ "Newswatch: Capital Announces Controversial Penalty Fees for Publishers: Move Follows Industry-wide Push for 30-day Returnability," The Comics Journal #166 (February 1994), pp. 17–26.
  17. ^ Gray, Bob. "Newswatch: Marvel Buys 3rd Largest Distributor: Heroes World Purchase Signals Fundamental Changes in the Direct Market," The Comics Journal #174 (February 1995), p. 15-22.
  18. ^ Gertler, Nat. "Marvel Buys Heroes World," Hogan's Alley, v. 1, no. 2 (1995), p. 17.
  19. ^ "Newswatch: Tip 11: Go Exclusive with Diamond" The Comics Journal #185 (Mar. 1996), p. 27.
  20. ^ "Diamond Comic Distributors acquires Capital City Distribution; Comic distribution industry stabilized by purchase," bNet: Business Wire (July 26, 1996).
  21. ^ "Tokyopop Signs Alliance with HarperCollins: For Co-Publishing and Distribution," ICv2 (Mar. 28, 2006.
  22. ^ "W.W. Norton To Distribute Fantagraphics: Another Change in Comics Bookstore Distribution," ICv2 ( May 14, 2001).
  23. ^ "Diamond Moves into Bookstore Distribution: Marvel Switches from LPC," (Apr. 25, 2001).
  24. ^ At least two other direct distribution companies existed, in addition to than those listed below: one in Georgia, and one in New York following the demise of East Coast Seagate Distribution.
  25. ^ Bruce & Sherill Ayers interview, David Anthony Kraft's Comics Interview #35 (1986) (8 p.)
  26. ^ Rozanski, Chuck. "Returning to the Topic of My 1979 Visit to the Marvel Offices," Tales From the Database, (March 2004).
  27. ^ "Bud Plant Sells Out to Diamond," The Comics Journal #124 (August 1988), p. 9-10.
  28. ^ Duin, Steve and Richardson, Mike (ed.s) "Bud Plant" in Comics Between the Panels (Dark Horse Publishing, 1998) ISBN 1-56971-344-8, p. 356-357
  29. ^ "About Cold Cut," Cold Cut official website. Accessed March 31, 2017.
  30. ^ Gray, Bob. "Newswatch: Marvel vs. Comics Unlimited : Marvel Cuts Off Distributor, Forcing Sale to Diamond," The Comics Journal # 171 (Sept. 1994), pp. 23-30.
  31. ^ a b "Diamond Timeline Chronicles 30 Years of Service & Success," Diamond Comic Distributors, Inc. official website. Accessed Feb. 10, 2015.
  32. ^ "Retail Chain Doubles Size with Acquisition," The Comics Journal #180 (Sept. 1995), p. 29.
  33. ^ "Newswatch: Independent Meets Its Destiny," The Comics Journal #139 (December 1990), pp. 12-13.
  34. ^ "Newswatch: Friendly Frank's Consolidates and Expands," The Comics Journal #167 (Apr. 1994), p. 30.
  35. ^ a b FRIENDLY FRANK'S COMICS IN," Bizapedia. Accessed March 31, 2017.
  36. ^ "Newswatch: Capital City Acquires Friendly Frank's," The Comics Journal #178 (July 1995), pp. 13-15.
  37. ^ "Newswatch: Glenwood Distributors Sold," The Comics Journal #108 (May 1986), p.21.
  38. ^ "Newswatch: Glenwood in financial crunch," The Comics Journal #115 (April 1987), p. 23.
  39. ^ "Newswatch: Four Publishers Sue Glenwood For Non-Payment," The Comics Journal #116 (July 1987), pp. 17-18.
  40. ^ "Newswatch: Glenwood Distributors Declares Bankruptcy," The Comics Journal #117 (September 1987), p. 12.
  41. ^ Carlson, Johanna Draper. "Cold Cut Becomes Haven Distributors," Comics Worth Reading (Mar. 16, 2008). Retrieved Sept. 8, 2008. Archived September 30, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  42. ^ Stahlberg, Lance. Haven website. Accessed December 17th, 2011.
  43. ^ "Newswatch: Texas Distributor calls it quits," The Comics Journal #99 (June 1985), pp. 17-18.
  44. ^ "Direct Distribution," in Duin, Steve and Richardson, Mike (ed.s), Comics Between the Panels (Dark Horse Publishing, 1998), pp. 126-130.
  45. ^ "Newswatch: NM in Trouble, to File for Chapter 11," The Comics Journal #70 (January 1982], p. 16.
  46. ^ Bethke, Marilyn. "New Media's Publishing Empire," The Comics Journal #76 (October 1982), pp. 154-161.
  47. ^ "Newswatch: New Media Distribution out of Business," The Comics Journal #72 (May 1982), p. 16.
  48. ^ "Newswatch: Pioneering direct-sales distributor Sea Gate files for bankruptcy," The Comics Journal #101 (August 1985), pp. 17-18.
  49. ^ "Second Genesis Delaying Its Exodus," The Comics Journal #140 (February 1991), p. 13.
  50. ^ "Sunrise Creditors Meet," The Comics Journal #122 (June 1988), p. 22.
  51. ^ "Newswatch: Second Genesis Absorbs Comex," The Comics Journal #128 (April 1988), p. 15.
  52. ^ "NewsWatch: Diamond Acquires Titan Distributors," The Comics Journal #154 (Nov. 1992), p. 14.


Bloomberg Tradebook

Bloomberg Tradebook, LLC., the agency broker of Bloomberg L.P., serves global investment advisors, money managers, hedge funds, proprietary desks and broker dealers, with access to global trading venues, proprietary trading algorithms, execution consulting services, pre-and-post trade analytics and independent research.Through a trading platform integrated with the Bloomberg Professional service, Bloomberg Tradebook provides its customers with direct market access (DMA) to more than 110 markets and global trading solutions for equities, futures, and options across 44 countries, as well as 43 currency pairs. Tradebook offers over 55 proprietary algorithms designed for each asset class and market.

DC Collectibles

DC Collectibles is a division of DC Comics, the WarnerMedia subsidiary that publishes comic books and licenses characters such as Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman. On 23 January 2019, DC Comics told its employees that DC Collectibles will be moved to the Warner Bros. Consumer Products division as part of a company-wide re-organization.DC Collectibles was previously called DC Direct from 1998 to 2012. Prior to 1998, merchandise was branded with the DC Comics logo rather than with the DC Direct or DC Collectibles logos.

DC Collectibles produces statues, busts, action figures, props replicas, and art prints for the direct market, a distribution and retail network primarily serving comic book specialty stores.

Diamond Comic Distributors

Diamond Comic Distributors, Inc. (often called Diamond Comics, DCD, or casually Diamond) is a comic book distributor serving retailers in North America and worldwide. They transport comic books and graphic novels from both big and small comic book publishers, or suppliers, to retailers, as well as other pop-culture products such as toys, games, and apparel. Diamond distributes to the direct market in the United States, and has an exclusive distribution arrangements with most major U.S. comic book publishers, including Dark Horse Comics, DC Comics, IDW Publishing, Image Comics, Marvel Comics, and more.

Diamond is also the parent company of Alliance Game Distributors, Diamond Book Distributors, Diamond UK, Diamond Select Toys, Gemstone Publishing, E. Gerber Products, Diamond International Galleries, Hake's Americana & Collectibles, Morphy's Auctions, the Geppi's Entertainment Museum, and Baltimore magazine,

Diamond is the publisher of Previews, a monthly catalog/magazine showcasing upcoming comic books, graphic novels, toys, and other pop-culture merchandise available at comic book specialty shops. The publication is available to both comic shop retailers and consumers.

Direct market access

Direct market access (DMA) is a term used in financial markets to describe electronic trading facilities that give investors wishing to trade in financial instruments a way to interact with the order book of an exchange. Normally, trading on the order book is restricted to broker-dealers and market making firms that are members of the exchange. Using DMA, investment companies (also known as buy side firms) and other private traders use the information technology infrastructure of sell side firms such as investment banks and the market access that those firms possess, but control the way a trading transaction is managed themselves rather than passing the order over to the broker's own in-house traders for execution. Today, DMA is often combined with algorithmic trading giving access to many different trading strategies. Certain forms of DMA, most notably "sponsored access," have raised substantial regulatory concerns because of the possibility of a malfunction by an investor to cause widespread market disruption.

Dragon Lady Press

Dragon Lady Press was the publishing wing of the Toronto-based comic book store Dragon Lady Comics, operating from 1985–1988. The company was known for its reprints of classic newspaper comic strips in various forms. Its publications were distributed through the direct market throughout the United States and Canada.

Drew Hayes

Lawrence Andrew "Drew" Hayes (July 20, 1969 – March 21, 2007) was a writer and graphic artist who is best known as the creator of the long-running independent comic book series Poison Elves .

Hayes began self-publishing I, Lusiphur under the Mulehide Graphics imprint in 1991. He changed the series title to Poison Elves with #8, and continued through #20. During this period, he was a prominent example of creators distributing their black and white comics to the direct market. In 1995 he signed a "lifetime contract" assigning the rights to the series to Sirius Entertainment, where he produced another 79 issues and a color special, the last of which was published in September 2004. His work has been collected in ten Poison Elves paperbacks. He engaged in an ongoing mock "feud" with fellow comics creator Brian Bendis in the letters pages of their books.

Hayes suffered from health problems which hampered his ability to create comics. He was overweight, had suffered cardiac damage from sleep apnea, and had been hospitalized more than once. After undergoing treatment in the hospital and losing weight, he planned to resume creating new issues of Poison Elves, but died at the age of 37, of a heart attack while suffering from pneumonia.

Eclipse Comics

Eclipse Comics was an American comic book publisher, one of several independent publishers during the 1980s and early 1990s. In 1978, it published the first graphic novel intended for the newly created comic book specialty store market. It was one of the first to offer royalties and creator ownership of rights, and the first comics company to publish trading cards.

First Comics

First Comics was an American comic-book publisher that was active from 1983 to 1991, known for titles like American Flagg!, Grimjack, Nexus, Badger, Dreadstar, and Jon Sable. Along with competitors like Pacific Comics and Eclipse Comics, First took early advantage of the growing direct market, attracting a number of writers and artists from DC and Marvel to produce creator-owned titles, which, as they were not subject to the Comics Code, were free to feature more mature content.

Heroes World Distribution

Heroes World Distribution Co., originally named Superhero Enterprises, was an American comic book distributor founded by Ivan Snyder, active from 1975 to 1997, during the growth and consolidation of the direct market. Heroes World was acquired by Marvel Comics in late 1994 to act as the publisher's sole distributor. This ill-fated move, combined with other marketplace factors of the time, resulted in the financial failure of many other comics distributors and retailers — and the near collapse of the entire North American comic book market.

Impact Comics

Impact Comics was an imprint of DC Comics that was aimed at younger audiences. It began in 1991 and ended in 1993. (The initial "I" in the logo looked like an exclamation point, but the name of the imprint was not !mpact.)

Impact's titles featured the adventures of revamped versions of superheroes licensed from Archie Comics including the Fly, the Comet, the Shield, the Jaguar, the Web, and the Black Hood. Changes included making the new Jaguar a woman and making the Web an organization instead of a solo hero. This was the third attempt to revive the old Archie heroes, after the Mighty Comics line of the 1960s and the Red Circle line of comics in the early 1980s.

In an effort to reach out to kids who were not aware of the direct market system, DC Comics attempted to sell Impact Comics titles through newsstands; however, that never happened. The imprint eventually collapsed due to poor sales. A final series The Crucible was initially intended to relaunch the line, but instead served as its finale. Archie Comics relicensed their superheroes to DC in 2008 before re-launching them as part of its own digital Red Circle/Dark Circle imprint in 2012.

Marc Hansen

Marc Hansen (born 1963) is a cartoonist and creator of Ralph Snart, Weird Melvin and Doctor Gorpon. He has been published by comic book companies such as NOW Comics, Marvel/Epic, Disney, Malibu Graphics and Kitchen Sink Press. Ralph Snart is his most successful creation that began in 1986, which had newsstand and direct market distribution. It peaked at 50,000 copies per month with over one million comics in print.

Marvel Premiere Classic

Marvel Premiere Classic is a line of hardcover comic book collections, compiling older Marvel Comics series in a standardized reprint format. One hundred and seven volumes have been released, starting in 2006. Each edition features two covers—the standard cover and a numbered "variant" cover for the comic book direct market, which are published in limited numbers and sport a matching trade dress design (the edition size is indicated on the back cover, on the dust jacket). These are similar to Marvel Comics' Omnibus editions, some of which are released with classic comic covers and variant covers painted by comics artists such as Alex Ross, Marko Djurdjevic, Esad Ribić, or Olivier Coipel.

DC Comics' rough equivalent line of collections, the DC Comics Classics Library, launched in early 2009.

On August 15, 2012, it was announced that the line was canceled, ending with the 106th volume.On February 14, 2013, a 107th volume was announced showing that the line was not canceled, but no further volumes were produced.

New Media/Irjax

New Media Distribution/Irjax Enterprises was a comic book distributor and boutique publisher active in the 1970s and early 1980s during the growth of the direct market. After the distribution arm of the company went out of business in 1982, its processing centers and warehouses formed the basis for Diamond Comics Distributors, the now-dominant comics distributor. New Media's publishing arm continued in the business until 1985.

Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide

The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide (or Official Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide) is an annually published comic book price guide widely considered the primary authority on the subject of American comic book grading and pricing in the hobby/industry.

Many observers tie in the growth of the direct market distribution system and comic book specialty shops to the general acceptance of Overstreet's annual guide as a standardized inventory and pricing system.Begun in 1970 by Robert M. Overstreet as a guide for fellow fans of Golden Age and Silver Age comics, the Overstreet guide has expanded to cover virtually the entire history of the American comics publication as far back as the Victorian Age and Platinum Age. The annual edition also covers promotional comics (giveaways and advertising) and "big little books," while continually updating new publications and market reports that cover the prior year of market activity.

Overstreet's annual guide to the comic book collecting hobby has itself become a collectible, and since the 1980s each edition of the Price Guide includes a page listing collector's values for older editions, with hardcover editions, in particular, selling for a premium. Currently, the Price Guide is published in four formats: hardcover, softcover, a larger, ring-bound edition and an electronic edition, often with multiple covers for each version.

Pacific Comics

Pacific Comics (PC) was an independent comic book publisher that flourished from 1981–1984. It was also a chain of comics shops and a distributor. It began out of a San Diego, California, comic book shop owned by brothers Bill and Steve Schanes. Along with competitors like First Comics and Eclipse Comics, PC took early advantage of the growing direct market, attracting a number of writers and artists from DC and Marvel to produce creator-owned titles, which were not subject to the Comics Code, and thus were free to feature more mature content.

Phil Seuling

Philip Nicholas Seuling (January 20, 1934 – August 21, 1984) was a comic book fan convention organizer and comics distributor primarily active in the 1970s. Seuling was the organizer of the annual New York Comic Art Convention, originally held in New York City every July 4 weekend throughout the 1970s. Later, with his Sea Gate Distributors company, Seuling developed the concept of the direct market distribution system for getting comics directly into comic book specialty shops, bypassing the then established newspaper/magazine distributor method, where no choices of title, quantity, or delivery directions were permitted.


A reseller is a company or individual (merchant) that purchases goods or services with the intention of selling them rather than consuming or using them. This is usually done for profit (but could be resold at a loss). One example can be found in the industry of telecommunications, where companies buy excess amounts of transmission capacity or call time from other carriers and resell it to smaller carriers.

According to the Institute for Partner Education & Development, a resellers' product fulfillment-based business model includes a corporate reseller, retail, direct market reseller (DMR), and an internet retailer (eTailer); less than 10 percent of its revenue comes from services.

Ultra-low latency direct market access

Ultra-low latency direct market access is a set of technologies used as part of modern trading strategies, where speed of execution is critical. Direct market access (DMA), often combined with algorithmic trading is a means of executing trading flow on a selected trading venue by bypassing the brokers' discretionary methods. As defined by the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO), DMA arrangement is a process by which traders transmit orders on their own, without any handling or re-entry by another person, directly into the market’s trade matching system for execution. Because of the lack of interaction with the broker, this is sometimes referred to as no-touch. DMA flow passes directly through the DMA gateway and onto the venue while passing through strict risk checking and position keeping algorithms. It is at this point that brokers may monitor the behaviour of their DMA clients.

Valuation using multiples

In economics, valuation using multiples is a process that consists of:

identifying comparable assets (the peer group) and obtaining market values for these assets.

converting these market values into standardized values relative to a key statistic, since the absolute prices cannot be compared. This process of standardizing creates valuation multiples.

applying the valuation multiple to the key statistic of the asset being valued, controlling for any differences between asset and the peer group that might affect the multiple.Multiples analysis is one of the oldest methods of analysis. It was well understood in the 1800s and widely used by U.S. courts during the 20th century, although it has recently declined as Discounted Cash Flow and more direct market-based methods have become more popular.

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