These days, more and more comics with LGBTQIA representation are available from Diamond, but Diamond is far from your only option. The historical sidelining of LGBTQIA creators—and particularly creators of color—by traditional publishing means that LGBTQIA comics thrive in self-publishing and independent distribution. Here are a few alternative ways of stocking comics with LGBTQIA representation, especially from LGBTQIA creators:
Many publishers will ship to your store directly without using Diamond as a go-between and may offer a more favorable wholesale discount as well. This is true of larger publishers such as BOOM! Studios (by way of Simon & Schuster) and First Second (by way of Macmillan), but it is also true of smaller publishers that may not be listed in Diamond as well. One of these publishers is Northwest Press, a Seattle-based publisher that specializes in LGBTQIA comics.
If a comic in this database is available in print, find the publisher in the volume modules on the right hand sidebar. Many small publishers will have wholesale information or a catalog available on their websites for your perusal.
The same is true of independent creators. Many independent comic creators are open to wholesale or consignment. If your area has a strong independent comics scene, chances are you will have had creators bring comics or zines in for your consideration. You can expand your scope by actively seeking independent creators that suit your store at convention artist alleys or online. (Twitter and Gumroad are your friends, as is this database!)
In the past few years, Kickstarter has become an increasingly popular method of funding comics. Chicago-based publisher Iron Circus Comics, for example, is known for running numerous successful campaigns. Although these campaigns are usually designed to reach readers directly, many come with a retailer tier that includes five or more copies at wholesale pricing. If a campaign does not have a retailer tier, it may be worth reaching out to the campaign creator to ask for one.
Crowdsourcing is always a bit of a gamble, so do your research; a completed comic looking to fund a print run is more reliable than one that has yet to produce its pages. The benefit, aside from supporting independent comics, is that your store may be one of only a few where a particular title is available.
Local distributors are uncommon, but they are a great way to diversify your selection if one is available to you. Retailers in the Pacific Northwest can turn to Emerald Comics Distro, which operates in the Puget Sound region and Portland, OR. Emerald Comics Distro’s catalog includes self-published and small press titles from creators across North America, including Beyond Press, Comicker Press, and Fortuna Media.
Have other suggestions for stocking comics with LGBTQIA representation? Share your ideas below!