I missed the actual date yesterday but on Feb. 1, Diamond Comic Distributors — the sales agent for most large comics publishers to comics shops in North America — celebrated its 30th anniversary.
|Steve Geppi, today|
While his company formally began service as Diamond on Feb. 1, 1982, it had one warehouse and 17 customers — Geppi had already been doing work on the distribution side having taken over operations for New Media Irjax's Boston and Tampa distribution centers, according to the corporate timeline. There began, then, a long association with the comics industry. Many retailers have been customers from the beginning, and several publishers have been selling through it from the start. Geppi also
recognized in a press release the contributions of many of his longtime employees. "I am deeply grateful to all of them for their hard work, and I am honored to work alongside them." Diamond Executive Vice President and COO Chuck Parker has been with the company for 27 years, for example.
So Diamond has been a huge part of the story of comics for a generation. It was already the #1 distributor when I entered the business side of comics, just before the tumultuous times of the mid-1990s that left Diamond the only full-line distribution company standing. I've had many positive experiences with the company, first as a working journalist, and now as a comic-book creator. And of course, as a historian archiving the past of the comics market here for The Comics Chronicles.
|Steve Geppi in 1992, for Diamond's 10th anniversary|
Diamond provided a historical timeline, which I have excerpted parts of below; I will get some of this on the timeline section of the site eventually.
1974: Steve Geppi opens Geppi’s Comic World, which operated out of the basement of a TV repair shop.
1982: Geppi founds Diamond Comic Distributors with one warehouse and 17 retail customers.
1988: Diamond goes national with the acquisition of Bud Plant.
1990: Diamond acquires selected assets of Seattle based distributor Destiny Distribution and takes over the operations of Oregon’s Second Genesis.
1991: Diamond UK, Ltd. begins operations in the U.K., leading to the acquisition of England based distributor Pacific Distribution, Ltd.
1992: Diamond’s Star System, which will evolve into the Previews Backlist Service, begins operation, giving retailers access to thousands of graphic novels and trade paperbacks.
1993: Diamond acquires England-based Titan Distributors Ltd., consolidates U.K. operations and becomes Diamond Comic Distributors (UK).
1994: Diamond acquires selected assets of New York-based distributor Comics Unlimited, Ltd.
1995: DC, Image, Dark Horse, and Acclaim choose Diamond to be their exclusive sales agent to comic specialty retailers.
1996: Diamond acquires selected assets of its largest competitor, Capital City Distribution. It also launches the toll-free Comic Shop Locator Service.
1997: Marvel signs an exclusive agreement with Diamond to service specialty market retailers. Diamond centralizes its customer service program and adds an Order Adjustment program,
1998: Diamond Online’s Retailer Services Area, the forerunner of today’s Retailer Services Website, goes live. Online ordering becomes available two years later.
1999: Diamond’s Vendor Services Website opens.
2000: Selected assets and liabilities of Alliance Games Distribution are purchased; Alliance Game Distributors eventually becomes a major operating division of Diamond. Diamond starts the Diamond Bookshelf program for librarians and educators.
2001: Through Alliance, certain assets of West Coast distributors Berkeley Distributors and Barchetta Distribution are acquired. Online reordering becomes available on the Retailer Services site.
2002: Diamond teams with retailers and publishers for the first Free Comic Book Day, designed to attract new customers to comic shops and expose them to what comics has to offer. The Diamond Daily e-newsletter begins. Diamond Book Distributors is founded to service the growing demand for comics and graphic novels in the book trade.
2004: The first Final Order Cut-off Form is posted on Diamond’s Retailer Services Website, allowing retailers to place orders up until the publisher sets its print run.
2005: Diamond opens its Memphis Distribution Center.
2007: Diamond’s ComicSuite Point-of-Sale software is announced.
2008: PREVIEWSWorld.com debuts on the web. Diamond’s Olive Branch Distribution Center opens with 600,000 square feet of space and a high-tech Warehouse Management System.
2010: Diamond launches kidscomics.com to direct young readers and their parents to kid-friendly comic shops across the United States and Canada.
2011: Diamond launches Day-Early Delivery.
And more to come...