As the COVID-19 Global Pandemic impacts everyday life in almost every single country in the world, even the comic book industry is not, excuse the pun, immune. As commerce and industry shuts down due to the government imposed lockdowns, manufacturing and distribution of goods and services has come to a virtual standstill.
Diamond Distributors have ceased operating and have said they are unable to pay upcoming bills. With no new comics being delivered to local comic stores, these too have had to close with no real indication if – or when – they will reopen. Initial thoughts that the publishers would continue to distribute their comics to customers in digital format met with a howl of protests from the retailers. They reasoned that their customers would then not want to later purchase the physical issues several months later.
The main publishers finally relented and announced several initiatives to try and help retailers survive through this crisis, including suspending comic book production across the board. However, with many local comic stores operating on already razor thin margins, many are still unlikely to survive a prolonged shutdown – or in some cases even a short one.
DC and Marvel
Even the two big publishers themselves, DC and Marvel, may not be immune from the economic effects in the longer term. Their respective parent companies, AT&T and Disney, are seeing their revenues disappear almost overnight. Both parent companies already carried significant debt coming into this crisis and in order to keep paying the bills, they are going to be relying on further borrowing, both from banks and from government backed schemes, in order to weather the inevitable recession that follows this pandemic.
Indeed, many wonder whether the comic industry will itself be forever transformed once the dust settles. Right now, as with everything related to this pandemic, nobody knows for sure what the next few months hold in store. With people tragically losing their lives on a daily basis, the focus is rightly 100% on saving as many lives as possible. The economic and social after-effects will have to wait. And his applies equally to the comic book industry too.
In troubling times we often turn to hopeful stories, where heroes and heroines overcome adversity and triumph, in order to help us through. Comics do a wonderful job of allowing us, the reader, to leave their troubles behind – if only temporarily. So, while it may be frustrating for comic book readers to no longer have a brand new adventure to read each week/month for the foreseeable future, there is still a wealth of back issues which, in the case of Wonder Woman, stretches back over 75 years.
So, that’s what I’ll be doing to wile away the time…and relive some of the Amazing Amazon’s most incredible and entertaining adventures.
Take care…stay safe….and see you all on the other side…