The comics industry has been hit hard due to the coronavirus, as many businesses critical to the flow of new books have had to shut down operations or postpone shipment. That means that many comic stores are closing down temporarily as well, and thus many publishers are making adjustments to their release schedule and plans in regards to releasing new books. Marvel, DC, Dynamite, BOOM! Studios, IDW, Image Comics, Oni Press, Valiant, Archie Comics, and more are dealing with this in their own ways, with some releasing only certain books digitally or in other cases not at all. We've gone through and listed all of the new books hitting services this week and gathered them into one place for you, as well as more details on what they are doing for future weeks starting on the next slide.
Diamond really started this domino effect when it announced it would no longer be shipping out or receiving new books into its warehouses, and you can read their full statement below.
"We are hearing from thousands of retailers that they can no longer service their customers as they have in the past, many of them forced to close by government action or resort to in-person or curbside delivery," he writes. "Even those still open are seeing reduced foot traffic in most cases, a situation that seems likely to worsen with time. Our publishing partners are also faced with numerous issues in their supply chain, working with creators, printers, and increasing uncertainty when it comes to the production and delivery of products for us to distribute. Our freight networks are feeling the strain and are already experiencing delays, while our distribution centers in New York, California, and Pennsylvania were all closed late last week. Our own home office in Maryland instituted a work from home policy, and experts say that we can expect further closures. Therefore, my only logical conclusion is to cease the distribution of new weekly product until there is greater clarity on the progress made toward stemming the spread of this disease.
With these changes in our distribution strategy, we will work with our publishing partners to develop programs that will address product already in the pipeline and what will happen when we resume distribution. We know that during this time you will face many challenges, and we will direct our energies toward addressing them, rather than fighting on increasingly numerous fronts to get product out.
Besides the industry’s most immediate needs, we have been and will continue looking toward the future, when we see stores reopening, bringing staff back onboard, and getting customers in the door. We are looking at issues like debt accrued due to this crisis, what reduced ordering means for your discount tiers, and the availability of credit to help stores through and after this difficult time. We don’t have all those answers today, but we understand the many issues you are facing and look forward to addressing them as partners who all have an interest in the long-term health of the industry we love so much."
Hit the next slide to see what is and what isn't hitting stores this week.
Image Comics hasn't made an official statement on whether or not they will be releasing digital versions of their books, but from their initial statement on how they were approaching the delays, it doesn't seem like they will. You can check out an excerpt from their full statement below.
"We’ve already outlined some of what we’re doing at Image:
We’re now making all new product on FOC for the next 60 days returnable (thru 5/18 FOC), and we are prepared to extend that as necessity dictates.
We’re cancelling non-essential releases like second printings and reprints.
We’re offering suggestions to Diamond for ways to mitigate the impact of this crisis on retailers threatened by mandatory store closures.
And as of yesterday, we are looking at ways to reschedule and stagger the release of our comics, trade paperbacks, and graphic novels so that we’re not pumping product into the marketplace at a time when retailers and consumers alike are dealing with financial struggle for an indeterminate amount of time.
We do this because we love comics, we love this industry, and we recognize our place in the ecosystem we all rely on to survive."
Dynamite Entertainment has decided to hold off on all physical and digital releases until they can ship them to everyone at the same time, as they feel that is the best way to have comic retailers come out of this in the strongest way possible. You can check out their full statement below.
“We know comic fans everywhere have been watching closely to see what their favorite publishers and retailers are able and choosing to do in this very complex time. And whether they will be getting the comics they love to read and collect this week and in the coming weeks. We’ve chosen to keep all our retail partners and fans on the same page, literally. If all retailers receive the periodicals and collections at the same time, including and especially our bestsellers, that is the best chance for the industry to come out of this strong. Every sale of a new periodical or collection taken out of the retailer’s hands is one more blow to them, and we want all retailers to survive this pandemic to continue to be there for all fans. We feel this is the best fair course until we get further answers and solutions,” said Nick Barrucci, Dynamite CEO and Publisher.
Archie Comics won't be releasing physical copies of their new comics, but their three new releases will be available digitally, which include Sabrina The Teenage Witch: Something Wicked #1, Cosmo: The Mighty Martian #5, and Betty & Veronica Jumbo Comics Digest #282. You can find the official description for Sabrina The Teenage Witch: Something Wicked #1 below.
"Because you demanded it: Volume Two of the critically acclaimed Sabrina the Teenage Witch series by Kelly Thompson and Veronica & Andy Fish! Sabrina saved the day-saved her friends, her family-the whole town of Greendale really, and she should be riding high. But things are never quite that simple. She's trapped in a love triangle, she's having trouble balancing the mortal and witch parts of herself, oh yeah, and she's being blackmailed. As if all that wasn't enough, while trying to help Radka and Ren with their...supernatural problem, her aunts suddenly starting to look like people she can't trust. What's a teen witch to do?!"
BOOM! Studios only had one release scheduled for this week in Buffy the Vampire Slayer #14, though that will not be released digitally at this time. Going forward only graphic novels and trades that were scheduled to release will actually be released. You can read a portion of their full statement on the situation below.
“We are deeply committed to working together hand-in-hand with our retail partners through this period of disruption. BOOM! Studios is proud to take both immediate and long term steps to support those on the front lines of our industry,” said Filip Sablik, President of Publishing & Marketing, BOOM! Studios. “The BOOM! Retailer Support Services Program we’ve outlined today is just the start of our efforts, which will evolve as we receive more feedback from retailers. We believe publishers should earn their space on our retail partners’ shelves and at no time has that belief been more important than now. We invite retailers to participate and share ideas to enhance our efforts together.”
Originally DC revealed that they would be releasing their planned April 1st titles digitally, but they then made a switch in those plans, going with a limited offering of digital releases and pulling most of the new releases for a later time. Here are all the titles coming out this Wednesday.
Batman: Creature of the Night
Batman: The Adventures Continue #1
Doom Patrol: The Silver Age Vol. 2
Harley Quinn Vol. 4: The Final Trial
Justice League of America: The Nail: The Complete Collection
Justice League: Origin Deluxe Edition
Teen Titans Go! To Camp #6
Oni Press has yet to make an official statement on how it is handling digital and physical releases, but it is telling that the two books it had scheduled are now showing release dates in June of this year on ComiXology.
You can find the official description for Rogue Planet #1 below.
"Salvage vessel Cortes tracks the Lonely Orphan, a planet with no star system to call its own. Somewhere on this hostile rock is a payload fit for a king. To attain it, though, the crew of the Cortes must brave razor rock, poisonous vapors, treacherous footing, and… the most mind-numbing horrors imaginable. Something nightmarish is at work on Lonely Orphan. Something cruel. Something hungry."
IDW hasn't addressed its April releases, but if their approach to May releases is anything to go by, we imagine they will not be releasing their new releases digitally until a later date moving forward. That seems to be the case for this week at least, as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Urban Legends #23 was slated to release tomorrow but is now scheduled on ComiXology to release on June 3rd.
You can find an excerpt from IDW's official statement below.
"In light of Diamond’s statement today, our immediate steps to offer relief for our retail partners are:
For the next three months, IDW will be offering 60-day no-fee returnable terms for all items on Final Order Cutoff (FOC) corresponding to the weekly on-sale dates from March 18th to June 24th.
IDW is announcing the suspension of May releases corresponding to OSD dates from May 6th to May 27th.
IDW will reduce its overall publishing line for products originally scheduled through July, with a focus on releasing our biggest projects in special editions to help drive traffic to stores through the summer."
Dark Horse will not be releasing anything digitally until they can release their books in both physical and digital editions. That said, if you are looking to get graphic novels and art books, they do have some through Penguin Random House that can be ordered digitally. Here's their full statement.
Update on digital releases, March 26: pic.twitter.com/le33rNuQSb— Dark Horse Comics (@DarkHorseComics) March 26, 2020
"Digital Update March 26: We will not be releasing any comics digitally that are not also available in print. We still have collections, original graphic novels, and art books shipping through our bookstore distributor Penguin Random House (from whom comics retailers can also order). Those respective titles will be made available digitally the same day they are available from retailers."
Valiant only had one release scheduled for today, which was Livewire Vol. 3: Champion. The digital release has been pushed back to May 6th, but even though they aren't releasing new books, Valiant is sharing lots of free older books with fans on social media, and you can find an excerpt from Publisher Fred Pierce below.
"As the industry faces this unprecedented set of circumstances, every carefully calculated decision that we're making right now has one priority: to ensure our dedicated staff and the hardworking retailers are supported during this extraordinary time.
Entertainment is desperately needed right now, so we are taking steps to make sure comic fans have multiple ways to stay Valiant while staying home. Every weekday, we're sharing links to free PDFs - ranging from #1 issues to entire volumes - on Twitter for fans to read, and more avenues are being explored internally as you read this. A list of links is included at the bottom of my statement."
Marvel is the most recent to make a statement on the weekly comics situation, and they revealed this morning that there will be no digital books releasing this week. They didn't rule it out for future weeks, but as of right now we wouldn't bet on it until physical shipments are up and running again. You can find an excerpt from Marvel Entertainment President Dan Buckley's full statement below.
"As you know, unfortunately there will not be any new print titles available at your shops this week. Marvel will also not be releasing any new comic book titles digitally on April 1. This is a fluid situation with details changing every day, so we appreciate your patience and understanding as we all navigate our way through this. As soon as more information is available, we will outline our longer-term plans and opportunities to support you and the industry."