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June 18, 2009

I’ll Take Any DCD Rumors You Have That Have People’s Names In Them, But I’m Calling BS Until Then

I didn't notice this until Alan Gardner at the Daily Cartoonist picked it up, but the creator DJ Coffman is asserting that Diamond Comics Distributor, Inc. isn't paying publishers, that publishers are using this an excuse not to pay creators, and that no one reports on this because they're all terrified of reporting on Diamond/weakening Diamond further.

Hey, first I've heard about it.

To that end, I'd be more than happy to take whatever names anyone out there would like to send me of folks that aren't being paid, whether it's your own troubles or someone you've heard about. My suspicion is that this story would actually rip to the surface of comics pretty quickly because Diamond's prompt payments are a big part of what makes most of the companies go, buttressed by the widespread assumption that DC's contractual options with Diamond are enough of a stabilizing factor that comics wouldn't be in any real danger. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) I'll try to confirm and have no problem publishing any bad news.

If this it turns out not to be true, I think it's interesting as part of the free-floating anxiety that exists in comics right now, a combination of general economic worry and a more typical cycle where a whole generation of hopeful cartoonists begins to hit the ceiling in terms of what it's likely they'll make from their comics efforts.

Update: As I thought, the initial battery of e-mails from publishers and those with insider knowledge of Diamond indicate with fervor and certainty that there's no money problems in evidence whatsoever in the functioning of that company, and that whatever complaints out there that might exist -- and no such complaints have been confirmed to me -- almost certainly came from a switchover in business terms whereby the accounting takes place in a slightly different way. My inbox looks like the phone tree of a Star Chamber of comics heavy-hitters.

So until I hear way, way, way, way differently -- and you'll be the first ones to know -- I don't see any reason why any rumors along those lines should be believed or given any thought at all.

A couple of you expressed concern that I would spotlight a rumor like that. I appreciate your concern and I apologize: I probably didn't think that through all that well. My thinking was that Alan Gardner is so widely read and so well respected in certain circles that his engagement of the story meant something much different than the usual message board stuff, and that this idea comes after a round of Geppi personal finance reports that were confirmed but had an element of unspoken speculation to them, and that the rumor contained with it a pernicious explanation for why this wouldn't be covered, so in general I thought it would be better to step up and deal with the rumors in straight-up fashion rather than let them fester without comment.

I will continue to take all news and rumors of news and deal with them if and as they're sent to me. No one knows what tomorrow will bring. But in a month where comics and graphic novel sales took a dip, in period of time where I believe a lot of news stories are influenced in ways we may not even realize by general fears and anxiety concerning the economy in general and the comics economy specifically, let's be honest and forthright and make inquiries and not participate in a culture of worry and speculation where the former needn't exist and the latter is unnecessary and harmful.
posted 8:10 am PST | Permalink

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