The coronavirus pandemic has brought the comic book industry to a screeching halt, with no new comic books arriving in stores for the past three weeks. This began when Diamond Comic Distributors opted to stop receiving new product from publishers, putting the likes Marvel, DC, Image, and so many others in a bind, while leaving comic book retailers in the unenviable position of having no new product to sell. The story of Diamond's place in the market took a turn one week after they announced they wouldn't accept new product when word of their cash flow problems became public. Now the next domino has fallen in the story as Diamond has announced they've begun furloughing employees. Their statement reads:
"As you know, COVID-19 is having a dramatic impact on businesses around the globe and unfortunately, Diamond is no exception. As a result, we have made the difficult decision to furlough some employees."
"This was not a decision we made lightly, and we only do so to protect our company’s financial future and preserve jobs. We have taken several steps already to mitigate our financial exposure including delaying payment to publishers, extending vendor payment terms and significantly reducing executive compensation. It is our goal that, on the other side of this crisis, our furloughed employees will return to their roles."
Diamond confirmed that the furlough period began today, Monday, April 13, and that impacted workers receiving health benefits through the company will be able to maintain their coverage with Diamond paying 100% of the costs of their premiums. Some workers will maintain their positions, specifically those in "business-critical roles" and those preparing for when Diamond will resume product distribution. ComicBook.com previously reported that Diamond is letting publishers resolicit some previous material for the August catalog, meaning an August return of new comics and graphic novels could be possible.
"As a company and an industry we will navigate what lies ahead and we are committed to emerging and thriving on the other side of this crisis," their statement concludes. "We look forward to the day when we are able to be together again and resume the weekly distribution of new product."0comments
As we reported this weekend, it's unclear if Diamond will truly be able to return to shipping product as usual in August. Their new policy allows for publishers to delay any books that had previously been solicited for release in July which some have taken to mean that an August arrival is the plan. If anything that delay only confirms that Diamond remains committed to making things work in the future but are being flexible on the time table, which could fluctuate greatly over the next few months.
(Cover photo By Douglas Graham/Roll Call/Getty Images)