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Diamond Comic Distributors is, for all intents and purposes, a comics distribution monopoly. As such, their annual Retailer Summit is the single most important event for the comic book market. For the past several years, Baltimore Comic Con has played host to the event, but that’s about to change.
Diamond announced on Friday that next year will see the Retailer Summit move from Baltimore to Chicago as a part of C2E2. The move comes as the dividing line between comics and the rest of pop culture continues to blur. C2E2 is the largest “geek culture” and consumer electronics show in the Midwest. In the past, it has been largely focused on gaming and movies. In recent years, the programming at C2E2 has expanded to include ever more comic book and comic book-related media.
The change is bad news for Baltimore Comic Con, which has seen solid growth in the last few years, in part due to the presence of the Retailer Summit. The 2017 Retailer Summit will also move on the calendar, from September to April. This is the most curious part of the decision, as it moves the summit ahead of the mainstream comics “event season”, which usually lands in the summer.
On the decision, Diamond Director of Marketing Dan Manser said “We’re enthusiastic to connect our Retailer Summit once again with the start of C2E2. We’re motivated to make next year’s Summit a top-notch affair for everyone involved, providing retailers with informative and inspiring programming, exclusive giveaways by publishers, and special access to the C2E2 show floor.”
Diamond has hosted the Summit at C2E2 in the past, so this is not a new thing. The distributor has not commented on why the decision was made to leave Baltimore and return to Chicago.
How the decision plays out remains to be seen, but it appears at first glance that this is yet another example of media consolidation, with Diamond at the center of it all.