Member Since: 1/1/01
Brian Hibbs, one of the leading comic book retailers in the direct market, co-founder of ComicsPRO and the man who created the Final Order Cut-Off system after a successful lawsuit against Marvel Comics, is having new issues with the FOC this week. He posted on Facebook, regarding his Comix Experience chain in San Francisco.
San Francisco business is being shut down in the whole Bay Area, so I went to redo FOC for the week, right before the deadline.
I sent an email to my top five suppliers asking if they were going to be offer returnability on the other end of this — I have three weeks of orders in the pipeline, and zero ability to sell those books in a meaningful way.
Two of the five ignored me, the other two gave me really really dark answers and it is clear they are using each other as excuses, and only one, Image, stepped right up and said "Yep, returnable for now". It's probably only 80% of the reassurance I want, but at least it is something.
I CUT THE SH-T OUT OF MY NEW FOC ORDER — 20% nearly across the board, and several things cut 50% or more.
Thanks for the reassurance, folks!
Comis stores order well in advance – it used to be three-to-four months but of late they are now able to amend their order without restriction around a month before the product is released. Which means the following four weeks worth of stock was locked before the coronavirus restrictions came into play, leaving many stores vulnerable to the changing market. Image Comics has told Hibbs that they will be making all new stock ordered by stores fully returnable.
That would be a massive hit for Image Comics if it's carried through – but it's the kind of thing that will keep many comic book retailers afloat. However, Image is only 5-10% of the market. Marvel and DC Comics make up around 75-80% right now. And with greater pockets and mightier media owners, there is a need for both to step up is the direct comics industry is going to survive this. Will it be Marvel or DC who blink first? When one does you can be guaranteed the other will too.