Marvel, DC to Delay Digital Comics During Brick-and-Mortar Shutdowns

Enlarge / Want new issues of your favorite comic book series? Going digital this week won’t change their lack of availability.

Aurich Lawson/Getty/Marvel

Comic book fans were dealt a major blow last week when they learned that a ton of their favorite series won’t be getting prints in the near future due to coronavirus concerns. This might be fine for fans who have switched to tablets and e-readers for their comic book correction, but what about comic book fans who not only want print versions but also want to support their favorite local store ?

This week, comic book publishers responded by expressing solidarity with physical business partners. For At Least A Week, Marvel, DC, And Other Major Publishers Won’t Release New Comics In Print Where on digital platforms.

Tuesday, a bulletin sent by the president of Marvel Entertainment, Dan Buckley, to business partners confirmed that its usual series of new Wednesday comics will indeed not be arriving in a physical format this Wednesday, April 1. No April Fools there; this is due to Diamond, America’s largest distributor of comic books in print, canceling shipment of all comic books with a release date of April 1 or later “until further notice”, per an announcement on March 23.

As part of Diamond’s distribution network, Marvel Comics is affected, but the publisher has made the decision to side with affected physical stores by not letting digital users skip the line. After acknowledging “the ratings, discussions, and absolute resolve we’ve heard and seen” from comic shops, Buckley emphatically confirmed that “Marvel will also not be releasing new comic book titles digitally on April 1.”

No further clarification was offered as to whether or when these titles might appear in print shops or on digital platforms, and Buckley mentions “a fluid situation with details changing daily.”

Marvel, as it turns out, was the last to party about this decision. DC, Image and other major publishers had previously announced similar plansalbeit in a quieter way, leaving new comic book issues with normal “April 1st” dates out of their digital catalog updates for this week.

Marvel, DC, Image and other major publishing brands already offered assurances to physical business partners on logistical issues such as book returns and refunds for the next few months.

Lisa M. Horner