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FairSquare Comics Inks Exclusive Distribution Deal with Diamond Book Distributors

Diamond Book Distributors has announced that it has signed a distribution agreement with FairSquare Comics to exclusively distribute its products to the North American book market.

FairSquare Comics is a comic book and graphic novel publisher founded in 2019 by Fabrice Sapolsky, co-creator of Marvel’s Spider-Man Noir and former Senior Editor at Humanoids. The company is driven to promote immigrants, minorities, and under-represented creators in the world of comics. This mission is emphasized in FairSquare’s company mantra, “comics for the rest of us.” FairSquare Comics utilizes a multilayered approach to their publishing, which provides a home for both company-owned and creator-owned content. FairSquare GREEN represents the core line and books, graphic novels, and comics fully owned by the company; FairSquare PURPLE represents books from other creators, which are fully creator-owned; and FairSquare BLUE represents magazines, merchandise, and other endeavors.

FairSquare Comics boasts an ever-growing library of works, with comic books and graphic novels ranging from action/adventure to mysteries, anthologies, and everything in between. A crime-comedy series, One-Hit Wonder focuses on a former child-star turned hitman for the Hollywood mafia. Noir is the New Black is a graphic novel anthology collecting sixteen noir stories written and drawn by black creators, featuring the voices of well-known black creators as well as a new generation of writers and artists. Intertwined, the first-ever Kung Fu Noir graphic novel, tells the tale of a hero, a protector of the Elements, from the perspective of an immigrant. LADY-BIRD tells the story of two young women, living 100+ years apart, and mysteriously connected. But their goal is the same: freeing themselves from patriarchy, abuse, and exploitation.

Sony and Netflix sign a First-Look Agreement for Streaming Plus First Streaming for Theatrical Releases

Netflix

Netflix has won the rights to stream Sony Pictures‘ theatrical releases starting with the studio’s 2022 releases. The deal also includes a first-look with Sony for all the direct-to-streaming films from the studio. Netflix is required to commit to a certain number of titles and doesn’t stop Sony from selling direct-to-streaming titles to other services, Netflix would have to pass first though. Netflix also gets the streaming rights for an unknown number of older films in Sony’s vault.

The deal only covers the United States and is believe to be owrth hundreds of millions of dollars.

Sony has been agnostic as far as streaming and video-on-demand forgoing their own branded platform to instead license entertainment to others.

The deal with Netflix is a change as Sony had a deal with Starz, which is now owned by Lionsgate. That deal has been in place since 2006. The Netflix deal is believed to be for five years and would lock in Sony’s films with Marvel Studios once again making Netflix part of Marvel’s film future. No doubt the guaranteed success of the next Spider-Man, Venom, and more in that universe was part of Netflix’s decision.

This deal is on top of the deal that Netflix has for Sony’s animated releases.

About 74 million out of Netflix’s 204 million live in the United States.

Godzilla vs. Kong Stomps its Way Into First

Godzilla vs. Kong

It was a new film at the top of the box office with Godzilla vs. Kong. The movie, which also debuted on HBO Max, debuted with $48.5 million domestically between Wednesday and Sunday. The weekend saw $32.2 million domestically. Internationally, the film had a monster take with $236.9 million for a worldwide opening 5 days of $285.4 million. That makes the film the top domestic film of the year and third highest-grossing worldwide.

In second place was another debut, The Unholy. The film opened with an estimated $3.2 million over three days. No international numbers have been returned.

Nobody dropped to third place the previous weekend’s first. The film earned an estimated $3.1 million to bring its domestic total to $11.9 million. Internationally, the film earned a little over $4 million over the week to bring that total to $9.2 million Worldwide, the film has grossed $21.1 million after two weeks.

In fourth place was Raya and the Last Dragon which grossed an estimated $2.1 million to bring its domestic total to $32.2 million. No new international grosses have been returned and the film remains at $54.2 million. Worldwide, the film has earned $86.4 million.

Rounding out the top five was Tom and Jerry which grossed $1.4 million in its sixth week. Domestically, the film has grossed $39.5 million. The film also earned about $5.7 million over the week to bring its international total to $54 million. Worldwide, the film has grossed $93.5 million.

In comic movie news…

Wonder Woman 1984 keeps bringing in dollars. This week was an estimated $136,000 to bring its domestic total to $46.1 million. The international total held steady at $120 million. Worldwide, the film has earned $166.1 million.

Initial numbers have 36 films earning $44,641,676 from 22,890 theaters. That’s a vast increase, over double, from last weekend’s 43 films which earned $18,556,482 from 22,608 theaters. The average earning was $1,950.27 a huge increase from the previous weekend’s $820.79.

John Romita, Jr. returns to Marvel starting in July

John Romita Jr. is making his return to the House of Ideas! Starting this July, Romita will enter the Marvel Universe once again to draw some of Marvel’s most iconic characters and titles.

After beginning his career at Marvel decades ago, Romita’s art style has continued to be one of the most recognizable and respected in the comics industry. During his time at Marvel, Romita helmed distinctive runs on titles including Amazing Spider-ManUncanny X-MenIron ManDaredevil, and many more. Romita will now bring his indelible talent to some of Marvel’s most iconic series starting later this year.

In the announcement, Romita said:

I have been very fortunate more than a few times in my life, and now I can add this latest event to that list. I have returned to Marvel, the company that I started my career in, and I couldn’t be more thrilled! I am literally, at this very moment, working on my next big Marvel project, and it’s a blast!!! I am JUST as excited as I was when I first started, and I will do my best to let the work show that again. I hope fans will see that too!

Stay tuned for more information on John Romita Jr.’s next Marvel work coming later this July!

John Romita, Jr.

IDW Expands with Six New Hires

IDW announced today that it has added six new members to its team. IDW Publishing onboards industry veteran Alex Hargett as Book Trade and Mass Market Sales Director;  Pat O’Connell was tapped as Direct Market Sales Manager; Julia Borden signs on as Foreign Licensing Sales Manager; Lauren LePera is named the new Managing Editor, and Topher Alford joins as Senior Digital Marketing Manager. IDW also announced that they have appointed Alison Quin as the company-wide Senior Director of IT/IS.

As IDWP’s Book Trade and Mass Market Sales Director, Hargett will be responsible for developing, implementing and managing the sales strategy in both the national and international book trade and mass markets.

Prior to joining IDW, Hargett worked as the Trade Marketing Manager at COTY where she led the company’s business strategy and analysis, innovation launches, brand positioning and promotions. Before that, she was the Sales & Trade Marketing Manager at DC Comics, and also spent a couple of years at both Public Affairs Books and Penguin Press.

O’Connell, appointed Direct Market Sales Manager of IDWP, will be responsible for acting as the direct liaison between IDW Publishing and the Direct Market comic book retailer accounts. He will also be responsible for supporting and assisting the Sales and Marketing Department (both the Direct Market and Book Market teams), and for developing, implementing and managing the exclusive cover variant sales program, including assisting the Book Market team with exclusive book editions. Additionally, O’Connell will help coordinate IDW’s convention exclusive offerings by working directly with the editorial, production, design and management divisions of the company. He will also be responsible for relaying direct market retailer insights and concerns to the other divisions of the company.

Before coming to IDWP, O’Connell worked as a Sales Manager at Dynamite Entertainment where he curated, scheduled and recorded all digital sales, digital bundle promotions and physical backlist and frontlist direct marketing sales. Prior to that, he was a Sales Representative at DC Comics.

Borden will oversee all aspects of Foreign Licensing with international publishers, as well as assist Hargett and Penguin Random House on international English-language product distribution.

Previously, Borden managed foreign rights and sales at No Starch Press, directing D2C business through the in-house e-commerce site, book trade and mass market sales through PRHPS, as well as translation licensing for 150+ titles across 30 countries. 

LePera has joined the IDWP team as the company’s new Managing Editor where she will support the Editor-in-Chief and Director of Design & Production in overseeing the planning of production schedules for comics, books and special projects. She will also be responsible for facilitating communications between the Editorial, Design & Production, Sales & Marketing, Manufacturing and other internal departments.

LePera previously served as the Managing Editor and Production Editor at Insight Editions, and before that worked as the Senior Production Editor at Bridgepoint Education. 

As Senior Digital Marketing Manager, Alford will oversee all digital initiatives for Publishing including social media strategy, email marketing, SEO, website content strategy, vendor account management, virtual events, direct-to-consumer marketing campaigns and special projects. Prior to joining IDW, Alford was the Marketing Strategy Manager at DC Entertainment, and previously served as the Senior Marketing Manager at Dark Horse Comics.

IDW also announced today that they have named Quin as the company-wide Senior Director of IT/IS where she will be charged with spearheading a complete assessment of the company’s existing and future technical needs, and implementing and launching new processes and policies.

Quin comes to IDW bearing more than 30 years of experience in the IT/IS field. Before joining IDW, she served as the Senior Implementation Project Manager at Xenial, Inc., the Director of IT at LEP Inc., and has also served at AWear Limited, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Virgin Entertainment Group, Drake Computer Training and Soft Tech Computers. 

AfterShock Launches Seismic Press, a New YA Imprint

Seismic Press

AfterShock Comics has announced the debut of Seismic Press, a new imprint focused exclusively on groundbreaking content for readers in the 12-18 age range. Seismic Press will debut its first title, Rainbow Bridge, from creators Steve Orlando and Steve Foxe and illustrator Valentina Brancati, this coming August.

Seismic’s inaugural title, Rainbow Bridge, from creators Steve Orlando and Steve Foxe, is slated for debut in late summer and will focus on the story of Andy, a boy whose canine best friend passes away just before he enters high school, leaving him alone and rudderless. The day before school starts, when Andy is at his lowest, he visits Rocket’s grave and unexpectedly summons the Rainbow Bridge, a gateway to a wondrous world where pets discover their afterlife. With roles reversed, Andy is there to support his childhood guardian during one last epic adventure as Rocket embarks on a fantasy quest to find his lost littermate while ultimately giving Andy the confidence he needs as he enters his high school years.

Additional titles under the Seismic Press imprint will begin rolling forth at the start of 2022 and will include original works by How To Train Your Dragon’s Richard Ashley Hamilton and Ted Anderson. Plans for the line also include the repackaging of AfterShock series that have already demonstrated strong YA appeal, including The Lollipop Kids, written by Adam Glass and Aidan Glass with illustrations by Diego Yapur, and Oberon, written by Ryan Parrott and drawn by Milos Slavkovi.

Rainbow Bridge

Nobody Bumps Raya and the Last Dragon from the Top of the Weekend Box Office

Nobody

There’s a new movie at the top of the box office as Nobody was the weekend champion. The film earned an estimated $6.7 million. Internationally, the film earned a little over $5 million. Worldwide, the film earned $11,730,000 in its opening weekend.

In second place was Raya and the Last Dragon. The film earned an estimated $3.5 million to bring its domestic total to $28.4 million. Internationally, the film earned around $17 million over the week to bring that total to $54.2 million. Worldwide, the film has earned $82.6 million.

Tom and Jerry took third place with an estimated $2.5 million to bring that total to $37.1 million. Internationally, the film brought in about $4.8 million to bring the international total to $48.3 million. Worldwide, the film has grossed $85.4 million.

Chaos Walking took fourth place with an estimated $1.2 million to bring its domestic total to $11.5 million. The international total lifted a little to $5,190,073. Worldwide, the film has grossed $16.7 million.

Rounding out the top five was The Courier which earned a little over $1 million to bring its domestic total to $3.5 million. The first international grosses have come in with $500,894. Worldwide, the film has earned a little under $4 million.

In comic movie news…

Wonder Woman 1984 earned an estimated $245,000 to bring its domestic total to $45.9 million. Internationally, the film added about $500,000 to its total to bring that to $120 million. Worldwide, the film has grossed $165.9 million.

Initial numbers have 43 films earning $18,556,482 from 22,608 theaters. That’s a slight increase from last weekend’s 36 films which earned $17,687,643 from 22,660 theaters. The average earning was $820.79 a bit of an increase from the previous weekend’s $780.57.

Diamond Releases a Statement Regarding Marvel’s Move to Penguin Random House

Earlier today shockwaves through the comic industry were felt as Marvel announced an exclusive deal with Penguin Random House to distribute their comics to the direct market (ie comic shops). This is a major hit to Diamond Comic Distributors, the current distributor, and comes about 9 months after DC left Diamond.

Diamond Comic Distributors Chairman, President & CEO Steve Geppi has released a statement regarding the change:

We value our almost 40-year relationship with Marvel and are pleased that we will continue selling Marvel products to the Direct Market and other channels,” the statement reads.

The change Marvel announced today represents a behind-the-scenes shift in how Diamond interacts with Marvel for certain products, but does not impact our ability to supply our customers with Marvel comics, trades, and graphic novels. I expect the discount terms under which our retail partners order these Marvel products to change, and Diamond will communicate that information to our customers well in advance of any adjustments. While there are still details of this new arrangement to work through, my leadership team and I are committed to making this supply change as operationally seamless as possible for our retail partners and we look forward to our continued distribution of Marvel products.

Marvel’s deal with Penguin Random House will begin on October 1. Diamond will remain as a distributor as well but Diamond would be getting their product from Penguin Random House as to re-distribute.

Marvel Goes Exclusive with Penguin Random House for Direct Market Distribution

Penguin Random House and Marvel

Marvel Comics and Penguin Random House Publisher Services (PRHPS), a division of Penguin Random House, have announced an exclusive worldwide multi-year sales and distribution agreement for Marvel’s newly published and backlist comic books, trade collections, and graphic novels to comics shops, known as the Direct Market. PRHPS officially begins its distribution to Direct Market retailers for all Marvel titles starting October 1.

Marvel has chosen PRHPS as its distribution partner to create a sustainable, productive supply chain and enhanced infrastructure for Marvel publications that will benefit comics retailers. Penguin Random House is known for its state-of-the-art multi-ranging services that enable independent booksellers to increase efficiency and profitability.

Penguin Random House has long been committed to physical retail in order to foster and grow their market. Independently owned brick-and-mortar bookstores are local community builders, advocates for books, and passionate influencers for the industry.

After seeing a double-digit percentage in closures of physical bookstores from 2001 to 2011, and notwithstanding an anticipated rise in e-books, PRH significantly extended and expanded its outreach to physical retail. Through its robust supply chain of rapid direct shipping, greater access to data, and premier customer service, PRH helped support healthier margins that led to a market turnaround. These past experiences and learnings will be invaluable when adapting for today’s physical retailers in the Direct Market.

Penguin Random House is a free-freight company, allowing retailers to simplify their business models while alleviating the volatility and complexity of reducing freight costs and planning. Through many of PRH’s standard offerings, like its rapid replenishment program for graphic novels and advanced supply chain, Direct Market retailers will experience more flexibility to manage inventory and stock their stores to best serve their customers.

Direct Market retailers can choose to order Marvel products direct from PRH, or alternatively, through Diamond as a wholesaler under terms established by Diamond in the US and the UK. Hachette Book Group will continue to manage distribution of Marvel’s graphic novels and trade collections to the book market.

Marvel’s full print and online October Marvel Previews catalog and comic book solicits will be available in July and distributed by PRHPS to active accounts. All comic book and trade orders for titles going on sale this October should be made through PRHPS. Early solicit titles will be available for order starting on May 26. Retailers can open PRHPS accounts now to register for Marvel’s monthly title catalogs and solicits, which will continue to be available to retailers approximately three months ahead of on sale.

The last year has been a rough when it comes to distribution. COVID forced Diamond to shut down for an extended time period resulting in DC Comics to pull their deal and go to two other distributors (which is now consolidated back to one). Other publishers have also pulled their distribution from Diamond often choosing to sell directly to stores and/or consumers instead.

With yet another distributor to contend with, comic shops will likely suffer by the decision. A third ordering system will increase time to order and manage purchases, labor costs will increase and it’s unknown how margins will be impacted for them. Overall, this sounds like a decision that’s good for Marvel but the impact on stores is a big unknown.

Dark Horse Welcomes New Faces to Editorial Staff and Promotes Current Members

Dark Horse Comics

Dark Horse Comics has announced the promotion of four outstanding members of its editorial staff! Ian Tucker, Jenny Blenk, Judy Khuu, and Rae Boyadjis all have been promoted. Sanjay Dharawat and Rose Weitz have both been hired as Assistant Editors.

Ian Tucker has been promoted to Senior Books Editor. Ian Tucker entered the publishing industry in 2010 after turning a career in print technology into a position in the Dark Horse Comics digital art department. In 2012, he transferred to the editorial department. Seeing the importance of the then burgeoning art book program, he stepped into the role of almost exclusively editing art books. Among the projects Ian has overseen to fruition are The Art of God of WarThe World of Cyberpunk 2077The Art of Rick and Morty, and Final Fantasy Ultimania Archive Volumes 1-3. In 2018, Ian fulfilled a lifelong dream when he had the pleasure of interviewing Mark Hamill for The Art of DreamWorks Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia. Ian would like to assure everyone that Mr. Hamill is indeed the best.

Jenny Blenk has been promoted to Associate Editor. With a BA in English Literature from Western Washington University, and an MA from Portland State University in English Literature and a Comics Studies Certificate, Jenny joined Dark Horse as an intern in the spring of 2017 and was subsequently hired as an Assistant Editor in February of 2018. Projects Jenny has assisted in bringing to life include the line of Critical Role books, the Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra lines, and the ever-expanding books from Mike Mignola’s Hellboy Universe. In addition to assisting on these incredibly important books, Jenny will continue to grow her own line up of books including the fine art collection Sacred Decay: The Art of Lauren Marx.

Judy Khuu has been promoted to Associate Editor. Judy first joined the Dark Horse team in 2015 as Mike Richardson’s Executive Assistant, then made the transition to the editorial department in 2018 and has proved to be an invaluable member ever since. While continuing to assist on high level properties such as OverwatchPlants vs. Zombies, and Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, Judy has taken over editing responsibilities for The Witcher and Cyberpunk 2077 and will begin to expand her own line of titles.

Rae Boyadjis has been promoted to Berger Books Associate Editor. A graduate from Sarah Lawrence College in 2012, Rae joined Dark Horse as Karen Berger’s assistant on the prestigious Berger Books imprint in 2018. Since working on the Berger Books line, they have been integrally involved on titles such as Invisible KingdomShe Could FlyRuby Falls, and Post York. Rae is also a professional aerialist in New York City where they are the resident aerial advisor for Speakeasy Dollhouse Productions.

Sanjay Dharawat has been hired as an Assistant Editor. Sanjay is a graduate of both the University of Rochester where he holds a BA in History and of Portland State University where he holds an MA in Book Publishing. Originally hired as an intern back in 2018, Sanjay now joins the Dark Horse Editorial department full-time. In his role, he will be assisting Ian Tucker on his line of art books, Shantel LaRocque on her line of licensed titles, and with Brett Israel on his ever-growing line of creator-owned properties like the recently announced mini-series, The Worst Dudes. Sanjay likes to travel and has spent a month-long trip backpacking around Australia.

Rose Weitz has been hired as an Assistant Editor. Rose is a recent graduate from Portland State University where she received a BA in English and a Comics Studies Certificate. Rose came to Dark Horse through the Portland State University Comics Studies Intern Program where she worked closely with the editorial staff during the winter of 2019. She now joins us full time where she will be assisting on a wide variety of projects. Rose currently lives under a rock with her cat who goes by the inspired name, Gaston.

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