All their titles listed with Diamond Comics Distributors had been cancelled. Their web site had vanished in the last few days. It appeared to some that the publisher that specialised in reprinting classic comics, often lost runs, was itself lost to us.
With books such as the Gold Key Star Trek, the CrossGen volumes , Windsor McCay’s Little Nemo or Alan Moore’s Supreme, there should have been ample scope to thrive. Indeed, one can see their work as the forerunner of more recent moves by Fantagraphics and IDW to repackage and reprint classic work.
But it seems announces of their death has been greatly exaggerated. I spoke to Mark Thompson of Checker BPG, still very much alive. He told me;
The website is down for our annual renewal and will be back up shortly. We simply missed the dates and are awaiting our internet provider to reload the site.
I have personally cancelled the orders through Diamond with a cease and desist order. Several months ago for financial reasons we will disclose shortly we had to place Diamond on prepay terms which they declined to agree to. This situation with Diamond is the culmination of nearly a year of being unable to ship product into their warehouse facility AT ALL due to their own internal problems. We began to warn our larger clients in the Spring of 09. Please refer for example; Amazon.com (a direct supplied account) is fully stocked with Checker product for the holidays. West Coast distributor Big Kahuna is fully stocked and ready to fill orders for Checker product. Our U.K distributor TURNAROUND is fully stocked with product and shipping (and paying us I might add).
We will be announcing several new distribution agreements which replace Diamond as our distribution partner. The Diamond system is constricting if not collapsing, not Checker. The consumer for Checker product has stayed very loyal through the economic downturn. We have millions of dollars(retail price) of Checker product in our Dayton Ohio warehouse which is printed and paid for lock stock and barrel. We are simply adapting to the constraints of detiorating(sp?) conditions among our current distribution arm.
Look for a press release just after Christmas. This will include the rescheduling of late projects which we cancelled through Diamond.
The usual news is of Diamond cancelling lines from publishers rather than the publisher cancelling lines at Diamond. And I heave certainly heard many other corroborating stories from publishers talking about how Diamond have delayed payments, even making that official policy at one point. But so many rely on Diamond, that this kind of step is, well, unique.
Diamond declined to comment. But with no new product from Checker actually released for the past year, well that might indicate that other factors are at work here. I guess we’ll have to wait till the New Year…
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