Image Comics president and comic book icon Todd McFarlane has spoken out about the break-up of the dominant Diamond Comic Distributors era in the comic book Direct Market – the network of retail comic book shops that make up the bulk of comic book periodical sales.
DC left Diamond in 2020 for a new national distributor it helped establish called Lunar, followed by Marvel Comics and then IDW publishing both for exclusive deals with Penguin Random House Publisher Services this year.
DC and Marvel’s split with Diamond after 25 and 24 years, respectively, were both shocks to the longstanding system of comic book distribution in North America.
Image Comics, which McFarlane co-founded and is home of his publishing imprint, remains exclusively aligned with Diamond – both for comic book shop and booktrade distribution – and has publicly expressed loyalty to the company.
“I think it’s pretty much what makes the world go round and that’s people think they can make more money doing it another way,” McFarlane tells Newsarama in a wide-ranging new interview, asked about the surprising exit of three major publishers.
(opens in new tab)
“I wish the world we live in is based on loyalty, but I can’t say that. So if somebody says to you, ‘well if you do it this way we can save 4%,’ that’s 4% off a huge amount of money. These are big companies and they just make economic decisions, good, bad, or indifferent.”
But while reserved to their respective reasoning, McFarlane is not convinced the publishers made the right decision in the long run.
“…let me just say this,” McFarlane continues, “every big company, every CEO who make these decisions, they’re not fucking right all the time. They’re big, powerful, and have success at certain times, but if people in big companies were so fucking smart then even PanAm would be around today. Just take a look at the Dow Jones from 1965 and a third of those companies aren’t even around anymore; they don’t even exist on this planet.
“I’m sure people at that time thought they were so smart and made all the right decisions, but that’s not always what happens. So I think they’re doing what they think is smart for today, and history will show us what happens next.”