Dobby seems to think Strangers in Paradise would have existed without specialty shops.
Look, there is a lot wrong with Diamond stores model. There was a lot wrong with the Rack At Supermarket Checkout and Newsstands model. There's a whole lot wrong with the budding Print Comics are just Workshopping ideas for 300M movies model. But each has positives we need to reflect upon before dismissing them, and maybe do what we can to accommodate and fold positives from one model into another.
Diamond stores are expensive and insular, but also allowed for the kind of experimental work that simply wasn't possible before the internet (and still mostly isn't on the internet, either).
Store Racks had huge circulations and exposure, but relatively limited ranges of content options, as well as being the medium that cemented the "comics are for kids" image.
The movie workshop model gets rid of the need for wider exposure, since the actual comic readers are basically just beta testers now, but has all kinds of baggage where the product they're selling (the comics) is not actually the product they care about selling (the movies).
There's no easy solution. Our only option to overcome these problems are simply for all of us to be mindful of the limitations of our model and work to overcome them by supporting creators of content we like, being vocal about things we don't like, and being welcoming and enthusiastic of new community members.