Blackest Silent Night – The DC Comics Embargo

Posted by November 25, 2009 Comment

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We’ve all heard about the December 30th skip-week for comics at the end of the year. Because Diamond can’t guarantee that all comic shops will receive goods by that date, they’ve decreed that no shops will receive any product for that week, to be fair all round.

So, some publishers have been putting out special projects intended for that date a week early. With an embargoed street date, that states a retailer may not sell the item intil December 30th.

Talking to retailers, the fear expressed to me is that some shops will ignore the date and sell anyway with impunity a week early. Which will force retailers that would have stuck to the street date to sell early as well, in order to compete. And this will be used by companies as evidence that street dates don’t work and that stores can’t be
trusted.

Well, DC Comics have an answer with their Green Christmas promotion. An online affadavit that retailers must seek out and sign in order to be eligible to order Blackest Night #6 for a December 30th release (as well as a 1:100 variant sketch edition, natch).

This will state that the retailer understands that “BLACKEST NIGHT #6 may not be sold, loaned, displayed, traded, scanned, stolen or in any other way released prior to Wednesday, December 30, 2009 in the USA and Canada and Thursday, December 31, 2009 in the UK.”

I’m not sure you can sign a contract that guarantees your stock won’t be stolen – by definition that would be without your permission.

Retailers will then receive the books in a special box marked “Not for sale until December 30” which will hopefully be proof against retail staff who only know about Magic: The Gathering.

So what punishment for those who break these conditions? Well, I understand that retailers who generally receive their week’s comics a day before sale date will forfeit that privelege for six months – even if competitors violate the on-sale date. As to the rest, DC and Diamond say they will log violations and any store that they get no complaints about will receive a free copy of the Diamond Retailer Summit Blackest Night #1, worth around $50.

Of course this could trigger a bunch of complaints from rival stores just because, well, they’re rival stores.

Game on sirs, game on.

(Last Updated November 25, 2009 1:05 pm )