As if the relaunching of First Comics wasn’t interesting enough, co-founder Ken Levin offers this surprising bit of news very casually in an interview with CBR:
My understanding is that the initial First Comics titles will be made available to retailers in November, and that First Comics will be directly marketing to comic book stores rather than go through distributors. Retailers at Comic-Con will be able to arrange for books at the First Comics booth, #2001 (mnemonic “Space Odyssey” — it’s the only booth number I remember). Their press runs aren’t so many that they can’t deal with stores directly or that stores can’t deal with them directly. Fortunately not my problem; they’ll get it figured out.
Going directly to retailers? Is this just the first releases, or an ongoing program? It’s an interesting thought – Bypassing Diamond means that the books will be absent from the sales charts, but also means that their print runs can be as small as they need to be without falling afoul of Diamond rules that would see them dropped from Previews. But without the books appearing in Previews in the first place, will enough retailers know they exist in order to buy them directly from the publisher…?