Let me start off by saying, I know comic books not coming out is the least of the world's problems due to this coronavirus pandemic sweeping the world, but hey as comic book fans this definitely is the last thing we ever wanted to see.
As a comic book reader for over 25 years, this past week has been sad and shocking all at once. This past Monday saw what many fans/retailers feared no more new comics after this week. Diamond released the following statement
"Product distributed by Diamond and slated for an on-sale date of April 1st or later will not be shipped to retailers until further notice. For the time being, however, we have been able to develop procedures with our teams at the distribution center in Olive Branch, MS to safely continue fulfillment of direct ship reorders for the retailers who are able to receive new product and need it to service their customers. It’s unlikely that orders will be filled on the same day they are placed, and these plans are subject to change if any point we no longer feel that we can safeguard our teams while fulfilling orders"
This is one of the major problems with one company having a monopoly on distribution, but that's a whole other issue. How it does relate to our current dilemma? Stores that still remain open for shipping, have no way of getting new product. But we've also learned thatnpronters have been shut down, so it's not just Diamond. But what happens to all the comics they already have in their warehouses? Couldn't they have just shipped out whatever they had? At this point all we can do, as fans, is hope that things open back up soon otherwise this could spell doom for our beloved retailers.
While publishers such as Image, Boom!, Vault, Aftershock, Mad Cave Studios and Dark Horse have attempted to alleviate some financial burden to retailers, it doesnt help if they cant stay open or recieve product due to shelter in place orders. And don't even get me started on Marvel and DC, where were they when all this was going down, they should have been the first publishers to issue statements but stayed quiet. Marvel made a feeble attempt at higher discounts, but how does that help if stores aren't purchasing new product. What has really been upsetting is the lack of communication coming from DC. As a diehard DC fan, I cant even describe how disappointed I am that they have stayed silent. But from what I'm hearing, Jim Lee has been banging at the doors of higher ups, pleading for them to help retailers. It would seem that his words are falling on dead ears though.
COULD THIS SPELL THE END OF PRINT COMICS?!?!?
While I don't think this will happen, at least I hope not, this is definitely the most it's ever been in danger. Already one publisher has decided to switch to digital, at least for now. AWA the publisher that just premiered last week with THE RESISTANCE, announced this morning to release their books digitally. No other publisher has said they would follow suit, but if Marvel and/or DC were to do it, I don't see how brick and mortar shops would be able to survive. Unless the realesed the digital comics through retailers and let customers pick up the print versions for free when available. But that seems like a long shot.
While the future of our beloved comic book industry is uncertain and charting new territory, we can all use this time to support our LCS and maybe pick up that trade you've been wanting or grab a gift card for later. Also use this time to get through that massive stack in your "to-read" pile, you know you have one. One thing we all need to do is come together and stay hopeful that this will pass. We need to do what we can to help our retailer friends, they are the lifeblood of the industry and need all the help and support we can give.
Collector’s Paradise, where I work actually, had two stores in Los Angeles and one in nearby Pasadena. Ed, the owner, emailed customers this week that it received calls from city officials warning the stores to close. While no further actions were taken by officials after the warning, Collector’s Paradise has closed all three locations to live operations. Collector’s Paradise is still taking phone and internet orders, shipping from a remote location. Gift cards are available, as is the store’s eBay page. They also started doing CPC (Collector’s Paradise Curated) Book Bundles, where, "for $49.99, including shipping, you will get between 3-4 graphic novels + a few bonus comic books (all #1 issues) that we think are essential reading but maybe under-read by fans of that publisher. We guarantee at least a 20% discount (often more) on the comics and at least a $10 Value on the comics added."
If you need further help at getting comics please go to comicshoplocator.com and see what shops could use your help.