Hey Kids! Remember Comics? Dad... what was a comic book?
Well, it seems that things in the world of comics are not getting better any time soon.
The collapse of Diamond Distribution during the current crisis meant that new books supposed to ship to comic book shops did not make it out of the warehouse, and on top of that, the shops were closed anyway, so for the first time in decades, there were no new books on sale from the comic book industry.
This was followed, of course, by a “pencils down” directive from the chiefs in charge of the companies, a directive not just passed by Marvel and DC, but also many Indie publishers too.
I suppose from a business point of view, there was no point paying creatives for books that were not going to see the light of day.
There was a misguided plan of action, involving online digital versions of new comics being made available to customers, who could eventually redeem their code for a physical copy when, and if, things return to normal, but the actual implementation of this project seemed complicated and unwieldy, leading to it a backlash from… well, from everyone, so that plan never made it through the conception stage.
Diamond then announced that money owed to publishers would be reduced, a double-take move that seems to plunge the industry further down the ladder of financial implosion, and then the news began to trickle through the vine that some shops that have closed will never reopen. That’s the most worrying thing of all.
The longer the situation continues the more at risk comic outlets become, and smaller businesses that rely on the weekly influx of new comics will already be finding things tough.
There have been some rays of light that break the darkness, donations from DC Comics, YouTube creators, Jim Lee donating sketches to sell for shops and writers such as Amy Chu offering to buy back their unsold books from shops in trouble, but it may be a drop in the ocean for troubled businesses.
Marvel superstar writer Donny Cates seems to think that the answer lies in asking the stars of Marvel and DC films to help the business. In a tweet, he said, “It would be pretty amazing if even one of the actors who became a multi-multi millionaire (sic) would give a little something back to help the shops and creators who enabled them to have their lives.” Wow…
Comics are still available though. Creators on Amazon, Indiegogo and Kickstarter are seeing spikes in traffic as fans look elsewhere for their sequential art fix, and publishers such as Alterna Comics that self distribute are still taking orders. Mile High Comics have also been inundated with orders, as they launched a mystery box of back issue comics at a bargain price, to allow people to enjoy books, even if they are old, and it may be a good idea to get in touch with comic book shops to see if they are still offering back issues in some shape or form.
So as we stand, still no new comics, no end in sight for the current situation and the sad truth that the comic industry is facing a Galactus level threat. With no Fantastic Four on the horizon though, things are looking bleak.
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