CrossGen adjusts delivery schedule for line due to printer policy change

Official Press Release

TAMPA, FL. - With the announcement by Diamond Comic Distributors that their pick-up dates for comics will move from Fridays to Wednesdays starting in April - per a policy shift by Quebecor, the printing company that prints CrossGeneration Comics monthly titles - CrossGen announced today it will be adjusting its delivery schedule to account for the unexpected change in policy.

According to Diamond Comic Distributors, Quebecor has decided to shift pick-up dates for comics from the traditional Fridays to Wednesdays. In the last week of February, Diamond Comic Distributors released the following statement to comics publishers:

"Dear Vendor,

As you might have noticed, Diamond recently revised the Previews publishing schedule. This change was to accommodate Quebecor's new release dates.

Starting in April, Quebecor's release date will be Wednesdays instead of Fridays. That will mean, for example, that Diamond will pick up new books and reorders that are available on April 3rd instead of the previously planned April 5th.

Please take this new timeframe into account when setting your production schedule. Retailers will still continue to receive their shipments on the Wednesday following that week's pick up from the printer.

If you have any questions please contact your Brand Manager.

Bill Schanes

Diamond Vice President of Purchasing"

In a letter to readers that will appear in CrossGen's comics, CrossGenPublisher and CEO Mark Alessi addressed the issue to fans.

"For publishers who ship between 10 and 20 percent of their comics lateanyway, we're certain this letter was barely a blip on the radar screen,"Alessi wrote in the letter. "At CrossGen, this news was not well-received,because it essentially means that the books that we deliver on time to ourprinter will not be delivered to retailers on the dates originally promisedin Diamond's solicitations. In fact, this change effectively will shiftCrossGen's entire schedule back by one week starting May 1, 2002."

The two-day shift backward actually accounts for a seven-day shift in actualproduction time, as CrossGen's regularly scheduled printing and bindingtimes for its books have traditionally been the early part of the week.Losing two days effectively pushes CrossGen's schedule back a full weekbecause those printing schedule slots cannot be changed to different days.The only other option for CrossGen would be to back up its entire creativeprocess and production operation by a full week. After careful considerationon the impact on creators and production staff of moving the productionschedule back a full seven days, CrossGen has chosen to stick with itscurrent production schedule, which will result in comics printed at Quebecoron regular schedule not being picked up by Diamond on Friday when they arenormally ready, but rather, the following Wednesday, causing the existing onsale dates to be pushed back by one week. The first delivery date affectedby the change in Quebecor's policy will be May 1.

"I do not think anyone can argue the fact that we are the most schedule-conscious publisher in comics," Alessi said. "We've built a very complex product line in Compendia, trade paperbacks, single issue comics andComics on the Web. Every milestone date in our production schedule is linkedto a trigger date for the availability of other pieces of our product line.Overhauling that schedule because of a policy shift from a third party thatwe have no control over would cause a massive disruption of all thosetrigger dates, our production staff's lives and, above all, our creators'schedules. While our books are steeped in fantasy and science fiction, thatdoes not give us the power to bend the laws of time and space. We cannotcreate seven days out of thin air, so we have chosen to stay on our originalproduction schedule."

The one-week shift will not last for long, however, because some months havefive Wednesdays in them as on-sale dates for new comics. The schedule willessentially even itself out by September of this year. New on sale dates forall of CrossGen's monthly titles can be found at www.crossgen.com/onsale.

"We apologize for the inconvenience of not having comics delivered to comicsshops the week of May 1, but this was a policy controlled by third partiesand it was completely not of our making," Alessi said. "For days, our teamsfought hard to produce scenarios that would beat this dilemma, but the wearand tear on the people here, who already work 60-70 hour work weeks to stayon schedule and produce the best quality possible, would have been toogreat, and the quality of the product might have been legitimatelycompromised. While they would have actually taken on the extra load to avoidthis, we would not have felt comfortable asking them to do so. They are thebest team in comics, and making them work even harder to solve a problemthat they didn't even cause is simply not an option we were willing toconsider."

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