Image Comics has signed an exclusive distribution agreement with Lunar Distribution, which is already the non-exclusive distributor of DC. Image leaves behind Diamond Comic Distributors, the publisher's exclusive distributor since 1995.
"We are thrilled to announce our exclusive worldwide distribution deal with Image Comics. We are constantly seeking innovative ways to expand our reach and bring exceptional content to our retail accounts around the world," states Lunar co-owner Christina Merkler in the announcement.
"This partnership will allow us to further expand our offerings and provide unparalleled access to the most exciting and sought-after titles in the industry. We look forward to working closely with Image and continuing to provide top-notch service to our Direct Market accounts," she concludes.
Lunar has been one of DC's distributors since 2020, when the company was founded. They initially shared DC distribution rights with UCS Distribution, though DC has since ended its contract with UCS and signed with Universal Distribution for certain releases alongside Lunar.
DC's departure from Diamond marked the end of Diamond's essential monopoly on direct market distribution of comic books to retailers, with Marvel departing Diamond in 2021, and more publishers including IDW and Dark Horse following suit.
Diamond had been the exclusive distributor of most major North American publishers since the mid-'90s, around the time of its initial contract with Image. Now, all of the so-called "Big Five" North American publishers - DC, Marvel, Image, IDW, and Dark Horse - have all ended their exclusive Diamond agreements.
Image Comics is the third largest domestic comic book publisher in North America, and one of the biggest rivals of DC and Marvel - and was also Diamond's biggest remaining exclusive account. Diamond still acts as a wholesaler for Marvel and some other publishers for which it is not technically a "distributor," an arrangement which is also allowed by Image's exclusive contract with Lunar.
Image Comics will also continue to use Diamond as its bookstore distributor, meaning that Diamond will still distribute Image titles to mainstream stores like Barnes and Noble, along with their collected editions and trade paperbacks, as confirmed by Popverse.
The change will begin in September.
Correction: an earlier version of this story indicated that Image Comics would not use Diamond Comic Distributors as a wholesaler following its move to Lunar Distribution.
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