Marvel, DC to delay digital comics over brick-and-mortar closures

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

Aurich Lawson / Getty / Marvel

Comic book fans were hit hard last week when they learned that a ton of their favorite series would not be printed in the near future due to coronavirus concerns. This might be fine for fans who have switched to tablets and e-reading devices for their comic correction, but what about comic book fans who not only want print versions but also support their local physical store? prefer ?

This week, comic book publishers responded by expressing solidarity with physical retail partners. For at least a week, Marvel, DC and other big publishers won’t be launching new paper comics Where on digital platforms.

Tuesday, a newsletter sent by Marvel Entertainment president Dan Buckley to business partners confirmed that its usual series of new Wednesday comics will indeed not arrive in a physical format this Wednesday, April 1. No April Fool’s joke there; this is because Diamond, America’s largest distributor of printed comics, is canceling shipping of all comics with a release date of April 1 or later “until further notice,” according to an announcement March 23.

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

No further details have been provided as to whether or when these titles can appear either in print shops or on digital platforms, and Buckley mentions “a fluid situation with details changing every day.”

It turns out that Marvel was the last to participate in this decision. DC, Image and other major publishers had previously announced similar plans, albeit in a more low-key fashion, leaving new comic book issues with normal “April 1” dates out of their digital catalog updates for. this week.

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

Lisa M. Horner