Comic book readers may have to wait several months before they can get their hands on new issues. As reported by Comicbook.com, we likely won’t be getting new comics on shelves until August. The question now becomes, what will happen to the industry in the next four months?
Currently, comic book shops all around the U.S. are closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Diamond Comics Distributors, the largest distributor in the country that has a near-monopoly on the industry, has stopped shipping new comics and has stopped taking orders for the time being. Now, it’s reported that Diamond is “letting publishers resolicit some previous material for the August catalog.” What this means, at best, is that Diamond will be back up and running, shipping books once again come August.
On the other end of the spectrum, this could be more of an optimistic projection. Diamond, as well as many comic book shops and publishers, are going to have trouble weathering the storm for that long. There is a chance that Diamond may not ever resume operations, which would leave the industry with a massive distribution problem that would need fixing. In the meantime, digital comics are an option, but the industry still relies heavily on physical sales. And comic book shops certainly do.
To make matters worse, as revealed by Bleeding Cool, Diamond is beginning to furlough some of its employees.
“As you know, COVID-19 is having a dramatic impact on businesses around the globe and unfortunately, Diamond is no exception,” Diamond said in a statement.” As a result, we have made the difficult decision to furlough some employees. This was not a decision we made lightly, and we only do so to protect our company’s financial future and preserve jobs. We have taken several steps already to mitigate our financial exposure including delaying payment to publishers, extending vendor payment terms and significantly reducing executive compensation. It is our goal that, on the other side of this crisis, our furloughed employees will return to their roles.”
Many businesses have been affected by the COVID-19 crisis, but the comic book industry was, in many ways, struggling to adapt to modern times as it was. Even though adaptations of Marvel and DC titles, as well as movies and TV shows based on works from other publishers, are wildly popular, comic books themselves aren’t as popular. So much so that there has been wild (albeit unconfirmed) rumors that DC Comics could shut down for good if the company can’t turn things around. The current situation, to say the very least of it, isn’t helping matters any.
So what do you think? Will you be switching to digital comics for the time being? Do you hope to return to your local comic book shop in August? Join in on the conversation over on Facebook or Twitter!