In the comic book industry there is one company which dominates distribution. That company is a privately held firm. The owner is a gentleman named Steven Geppi. Despite protests to the contrary for business purposes Geppi is Diamond Comics, and Diamond Comics is Geppi…period. Checker BPG became aware of extensive legal actions against Mr. Geppi in the Spring of 2009 to our extreme dismay. The frequency and number of the lawsuits is staggering and I list them simply for factual underlying basis for our separation from Diamond Comics, Inc. of Timonium, Maryland:
Mr. Geppi had ongoing legal suits which he has since lost with PNC Bank and Harbor Trust Bank of Maryland for 16.4 million and 3.5 million dollars respectively. Mr. Geppi has also had legal actions against him filed by Creditors Trade Association, Westview Center Associates, LLC., The Heirs of artist Bob Montana, and the Maryland Stadium Authority which has been settled amidst controversy. All clearly shown in public court filings researched by Checker BPG last year. Our legal counsel briefly reviewed several these suits last spring and advised us to leave. We lost count and interest in the legal train wreck which is Steven Geppi after four or five lawsuits.
This is a very long post. But the bottom line is that it’s very difficult to see how the one company that has a stranglehold on the majority of comic book distribution can remain viable.
And now that this news is out, how many other publishers will pull out?
With that void in the world of print comic book publishing, it seems to me this is one industry that has to go electronic fast.
It will be interesting to see if the iPad winds up being the savior of comic book publishing.
I won’t buy print — and I especially won’t buy print from one of those ghastly stores that sell comics. Yet I’m very interested in reading comics again on the iPad. Iversemedia tweeted the other day that all of Kick-Ass is now available. I’d buy that. And I think many other people who wouldn’t seek them out in a store would too. Those are sales that the publisher wouldn’t otherwise get.
So, can the iPad save comic book publishing?
Book publishers better pay attention to this. Especially with Borders continually on the lip of the abyss.