Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

August 25, 2006

Capital City Was Sold 10 Years Ago


Not today or anything -- it actually happened in July of 1996 -- but this note about a yearly gathering of former Capital City Distribution employees, or "Capitalistas," made me do the Little Rascals head bob and surprise face this morning in realization it's been ten years since the birth of the one-distributor dominant Direct Market. What had been a slow consolidation of distribution agencies as Direct Market comics sales swelled in the '80s and early '90s become a rush of horror-movie decisions when Marvel decided briefly to distribute itself and DC made a business decision to enter into an agreement with Diamond Comic Distributors, Inc. Final major competitor Capital City's sale to Diamond was the Berlin Wall Coming Down of that time in comics: not the most important moment, but the most symbolic of an era's end.

It's worth noting that the sale was actually done in a way where Capital's accounts with publishers were assumed and therefore the bottom half of the industry didn't immediately collapse. This may seem from today's vantage point like a no-brainer for Diamond, but the period preceding the Capital sale was an era of weird, self-immolation style decision-making. Against that backdrop it looks positively enlightened.
posted 2:57 am PST | Permalink

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