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DC makes another big comic store distribution move, and now has three Direct Market distributors

The deal takes effect with comics, graphic novels, and collections shipping in January 2023

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Image credit: DC

DC is expanding its reach — and its distribution network — with the announcement today that the company has signed a new agreement with Universal Distribution for comics releases to comic stores and hobby stories beginning with January 2023's titles.

The new deal with the distribution company will begin in October, and include single issues, collected editions, and graphic novels; although Universal Distribution is a Canadian company, the new agreement is for global distribution, with retailers in any locale being given the option to order from them.

“This move sees DC doubling down on its distribution strategy, and further mitigating operational and supply chain disruptions,” DC’s VP of sales and marketing Nancy Spears said in a statement. “DC is committed to looking for ways, together with our new partners, to better serve our fans. We remain committed to the Direct Market and look forward to growing the network of comic book retailers get the best comic books and graphic novels to fans in the most efficient and seamless manner.”

“This agreement enables us to provide retailers with the tools they need to grow their DC business,” adds Universal Distribution CEO Angelo Exarhakos. “Our primary focus has always been to work closely with our key partners to help retailers provide a great experience for their customers. We are huge fans of DC and are extremely excited with this new relationship between our companies.”

The news is likely to particularly please Canadian retailers and fans; Universal Distribution has more than three decades experience distributing comic books, games, and merchandise with distribution centers in Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver. The new agreement is likely to make DC titles more cost effective for Canadian retailers, who had previously had to pay priority shipping in order to receive product in time for on-sale dates; additionally, Canadian retailers were amongst those hardest hit by supply chain delays, due to relying on shipments from the U.S.

Prior to this agreement, Canadian retailers were serviced by Lunar Distribution, which had previously defacto held exclusive North American distribution rights for DC periodicals since January 2021. Moving forward, Lunar will continue to distribute DC product to comic stores in the U.S. and Canada, with U.K. and European distribution also available via Diamond UK.

But wheras DC's comic store distribution deals with Lunar and Diamond are region-specific (Lunar to North America, Diamond UK to countries outside the Americas), Popverse has confirmed DC's deal with Universal Distribution is for anywhere in the world - including those territories where Lunar and Diamond UK operates.

Penguin Random House has global distribution rights for DC collected editions and graphic novels to the booktrade and direct markets.

There’s a lot going on in terms of comics distribution in the past few years; just last month, Diamond created a new level for publisher promotion, signing up four publishers to exclusive contracts in the process.

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Graeme McMillan

Staff Writer

Popverse staff writer Graeme McMillan (he/him) has been writing about comics, culture, and comics culture on the internet for close to two decades at this point, which is terrifying to admit. He completely understands if you have problems understanding his accent.