Diamond Comics Distributors, the middle-man between comic book publishers and your local comic book stores, each year names their Diamond Gem Awards to recognize "quality, creativity, and overall sales impact" of publishers and individual products.
The Gem Awards are nominated by Diamond professionals, and voted on by "comic book specialty retailers everywhere Diamond serves" (meaning beyond just the United States). Categories include Publisher of the Year for the over 4% and under 4% market share categories, Toy Manufacturer, Comic book of the year under and over $3.00, and more.
In a category they've dominated since the award's inception, DC Comics has been named the Diamond Gem Publisher of the Year in the over 4% market share category by retailers. This is the publisher's 4th win in a row, with Marvel Comics' last win coming in 2008 (when the mega-crossover Secret Invasion was published).
Meanwhile, of the smaller publishers, the reborn Valiant Entertainment takes Publisher of the Year in the under 4% market share division, in just their first year of publishing.
DC Comics also took the Backlist Publisher of the Year category, while Marvel was recognized as the Top Dollar Comic Book Publisher. Viz Media wins for Manga, Wizards of the Coast for Game Manufacturer, and DC once again in the Toy Manufacturer of the Year category with DC Collectibles.
For individual prodcuts, things get more spread out amongst publishers. Image Comics takes both "Comic Book of the Year" wins for under and over $3.00 with Saga #1 and The Walking Dead #100 respectively.
The Top Dollar Comic of the Year goes to Amazing Spider-Man #700, which featured the 'death' of Peter Parker at a $7.99 price tag.
BOOM! Studios new licenses are working out, as Adventure Time #1 takes Licencsed Comic Book of the Year.
Trade, Graphic Novel, and collection awards went to IDW (Star Trek/Doctor Who Vol 1), DC Comics (Batman: Earth One HC), Image (Saga Vol. 1 TP), Kodansha (Sailor Moon: Kodansha Vol 3), and Top Shelf (The Underwater Welder). Dark Horse Comics' Dark Horse Presents #13 was named Anthology of the Year, and DC Collectibles one in all three toy categories for Product, Line, and Statue.
The big wins for DC Comics and Collectibles come in the face of still-vocal criticism in some reader circles of their New 52 line-up, as well as ever-rotating creative teams, cancelations, and new title launches. While the awards are subjective according to retailer perference and are likely influenced by a variety of factors inlcuding customer service and communcation and returnablity programs, the win comes despite Marvel Comics winning both the dollar and unit market share for 2012 with 34.06% and 37.59%, respectively. DC ended the year with 31.94% and 36.75%, although their win as Backlist Publisher of the Year likely has effect with retailers as well.
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