RO: Archie comics sell in places other comics only wish they could sell. While the newsstand distribution has all but disappeared for most major publishers, Archie is available at grocery store check stands, Wal-Mart & K-mart nationwide. Why is Archie successful while other have failed?
MS: The outlets you mentioned above are high traffic family outlets and as I said above, for more than 60 years, parents feel that Archie Comics are safe for their kids and encourage their kids to read. Most adults have grown up reading Archie and feel that if it was good for them when they were kids, it is still good for their kids today.
Boom! Studios will be distributing its new Disney comics through newsstands and mass market bookstores in the United States. Back in March, Boom announced a deal with Kable Distribution Services for newsstand distribution of their monthly Disney/Pixar comics The Incredibles and Cars. It is this same distribution channel that will be used for the new titles that start in September, including Walt Disney’s Comics & Stories (WDC&S) and Mickey Mouse and Friends.
Kable has a lot of experience in getting comics to kids with the distribution of their Archie Comics, which is virtually the only comic book available at grocery stores like Wal-Mart. To purchase any other comic book, Americans need to find a specialty comic book store or go online. This is quite different from the situation in many European countries, where Disney comics are sold nearly everywhere and reach huge distribution.
The creation of the direct market had the biggest impact on the comic book industry because it encouraged the emergence of the local comic book stores, it created a comics distribution monopoly with Diamond, and it led to the collapse of the comic industry after a speculation boom in the 1990’s. Before the creation of the direct market, comic books were sold in the mass market in public areas such as drugstores, grocery stores, and newsstands. The comics were haphazardly available and arranged. This discouraged fans because it was difficult to follow the storyline of the comics. The local comic book store took risks on new comics, kept old issues under the direct market system, displayed the comic books in an organized spacious fashion, and kept the comic books in good condition. The comic book specialty shop became the center of the comic book fan culture, encouraging new fans and sustaining the current fans. However the local comic book stores became secluded from the public and overtime this developed the stigma associated with comic books today.
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