Comic book fans have suspected the incoming flow of comic titles might stop since the COVID-19, a.k.a. coronavirus, pandemic began. Now it’s official. Via CBR, Diamond Comic Distributors will halt all shipping of new orders from its warehouse indefinitely beginning on April 1st. The founder of Diamond Comic Distributors released a statement Monday confirming the news. He said, “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.”
As Diamond Comics is the exclusive comic books shipper, it’s a huge blow to the industry as a whole. It’s particularly hard for all the small local comic shops. They depend on Diamond for their big Marvel, DC, and Image books each week. Not to mention titles from just about every other publisher. As of right now, Diamond can only ship on-hand product to to retailers. They’re leaving a single distribution center open to fulfill “direct ship reorders” for retailers.
Diamond has taken the initiative to make things easier on comics retailers. They’re allowing individual stores to put their accounts on hold. Geppi Family Enterprises (owner of Diamond) president Stan Heidmann said in a March 18th statement, “If you are in an area where your store will be closing or significantly impacted, you may contact Retailer Services and request that your account be placed on hold until you’re ready to begin receiving product again.”
Regardless of what happens, this is a game changer for the comic book industry. We don’t want to panic, but it’s very possible this industry won’t be the same after the COVID-19 pandemic ends. It’s time to reach out to your local comic book shop and see what you can do to help.
Physical comic books have been on life support for some time, with digital sales slowly gaining ground on traditional “floppies.” Still, millions of us love nothing more than going to their local comic book shop on a Wednesday and getting our new books. But could the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent quarantine be what makes fans transition permanently? Only time will tell. One thing is for sure though, in one form or another, the art of comics storytelling isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. But it may transform into something new.
Featured Image: KGNS TV