With all the talk these days of Diamond cutting off relists and upping the sales threshold for independent publishers, it’s worth remembering what the Direct Sales Market was like when there were competing distributors. Before Diamond got a monopoly lock on comics distribution, the playing field was more level, in the sense that it didn’t matter if you were DC or King Hell; everyone’s titles got an equal portion of basic space in the catalogs. Distributors were eager to promote all books and competed to get exclusive content from publishers to spice up their catalogs.
Here’s a good example of the kind of thing I’m talking about. In 1995, Capital Distribution offered me two pages in their catalog to tell their readers why they should be reading RARE BIT FIENDS. I did the following strip (which I’ve reformatted a bit in Photoshop to fit into the vertical blog format) in a sort of Winsor McCay style and it was win-win for everyone: boosting my sales while entertaining the readers of their catalog.
These opportunities in distribution may be long gone, but the message is still fresh. You should read my dream comics!