The Devils You Don’t

Lunar and UCS are DC's single issue distributors of choice now. How's that working out?

There I was, walking into my comic shop on an ordinary Wednesday. I took my usual route, grabbing the comics in my pull before moving through Image, BOOM!, Dark Horse and other smaller publisher’s releases, then turning down the parallel aisle to snag any Marvel or DC releases I missed in my pull. Marvel was business as usual, as I picked up the Daredevil Annual that didn’t make it into my box and moved along my way. But when I reached DC, I was met with an unfamiliar vision. Here’s what I saw in place of Plunge #6 – my most anticipated release of that week – and varying other new DC titles.

Nothing, that’s what.

It seemed Lunar, the distributor my shop uses for DC’s single issue releases, was late on delivering that week, which is especially unfortunate given DC’s desire to release comics on Tuesdays. This didn’t faze me, of course. In my decades of reading comics, Diamond had been late many, many times at my shop. I live in Alaska. This kind of thing was hardly new. So I bought the comics I already picked up and moved along, eager to read the Plunge finale whenever it arrived.

Fast forward to the following week, and I was met with the same result: no new DC comics. Now, Diamond’s releases were also late that week, so Lunar was hardly alone in this regard, but the other comics were only delayed by a day. By the time I picked up everything else that Thursday, my shop was uncertain if or when they’d see those two weeks of DC releases, with their suspicion being that the following week’s DC comics would arrive before the two absent slates that preceded them.

The good news is they were wrong: all three weeks of DC titles arrived in time for the new comic book day on September 9th, and I acquired everything at that time. My saga had a happy ending. But it did make me wonder how shops were feeling about DC’s new distribution partners, because for those two weeks, my feelings were unenthusiastic, to say the least. It wasn’t just me. Lunar – also known as DCBS, the online comics retail giant – and UCS, which is Midtown Comics under a different name, had generated…let’s call it mixed emotions on social media amongst retailers over their nearly five months in business.

If there’s one thing I know from years of working in social media at my day job, though, it’s that typically the most vocal contingent online are the unhappy people. Conversely, the quietest ones tend to be those who are perfectly fine with their situation. Was that the case here? Is it just squeaky wheels trying to get some grease, or are these new distributors this level of inconsistent everywhere? That’s what we’re going to try and figure out this week.

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