The Archie v. Penders Dispute Just Got Serious
TSSZ has learned Diamond Comic Distributors, the world’s largest English language comic book distributor, has halted shipments of Archie Comics’s Knuckles Archives #3 to retailers on the basis of a copyright infringement notice sent to the company.
A source who requested anonymity through our News Tips system told TSSZ the hold was granted this week, and alleged more claims may be filed with Diamond shortly. Those claims, the source said, are based on copyrights currently in dispute between Archie Comics and former Sonic comics writer Ken Penders via a civil lawsuit the former filed. As we told you last month, a summary judgment request was denied in that case.
The issue, which assembles the original Sonic’s Friendly Nemesis Knuckles issues ten through fifteen, will still go on sale today at stores that have received their copies, but they will be the only copies circulating in certain stores right now. That potentially means the release could fall into short supply while the matter is mediated. For the moment, only distribution of Knuckles Archives #3 is affected, but one can imagine the array of re-issues that could be impacted, given the scope of Penders’s copyright claims that are, as of this article’s publication, still legally valid.
Diamond Comics claims Archie Comics as an “exclusive supplier” of material for distribution to stores, according to the company website. In layman’s terms, they are the middleman between Archie as content creator and many stores that sell their comics, in particular comic book specialty stores. Should the matter linger, all Sonic Archives and Knuckles Archives releases could see their distribution affected, as could the long awaited Sonic comic encyclopedia, which is due for release next month.
An e-mail sent Tuesday to Diamond Comics marketing VP Dan Manser requesting comment has not been returned as of the time of this article’s publication. TSSZ also sent an E-Mail to an Archie Comics publicity E-Mail this evening seeking comment. If we hear back from either side, we will update this story.
Related, the first mediation session between Archie and Penders in an attempt to settle the ongoing copyright case is scheduled for next Tuesday morning, according to public records. This will certainly make those talks interesting. We will continue to monitor developments.