Actually, this news is several months old but I only became aware of it recently. If you don’t care about comics, stop reading immediately. Continuing: at this point, practically every comic that is purchased through a comic shop in the USA and Canada and also much of the British Isles is distributed by Diamond Comics. Diamond organizes their catalogue in a manner that each of the “Premier” publishers gets its own section and then everyone else is basically lumped into an “Everyone Else” section. Until recently, there were four Premier publishers (not counting Wizard, which just publishes a magazine about comics), those being Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, and Image. There’s some criteria for being a premier publisher that I don’t remember exactly but it’s along the lines of a company maintaining something like 3-5% of the direct market (aka comic shops, as opposed to newsstands) over a certain amount of time.
In the last year, publisher IDW managed to break into this Premier group. I’m glad to see the Premier status extend to any new publisher as it reflects some semblance of diversity in the market. One problem facing American comics is that there are nerds that would rather buy the worst Marvel or DC book over the best Dark Horse book. When a company gets that Premier status, their profile becomes greater in the Diamond catalogue and the nerds might actually become more aware of what’s going on. However, I’m concerned that as more companies become Premier, it will be that much harder for each subsequent company to carve out that 3-5% of the market to become the next Premier. There are currently two companies that I think have the potential to move up into that realm: Dynamite and Boom! Studios. Good luck!
Side note: Archie Comics is one of the heaviest hitters in American comics but most of their sales happen on newsstands rather than in comics shops.