Following a similar announcement from DC Comics, Marvel Comics has confirmed that it will not release new comics either in print form or via digital distribution methods on April 1st. Marvel's Entertainment president Dan Buckley explained the situation to direct market retailers in a statement sent out to retailers. Diamond Comic Distributors announced that it would stop shipping print comics to retailers this week as their business deals with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. As Diamond holds the exclusives rights to distribute comics to shops for most of the industry's biggest publishers, including Marvel and DC Comics, this effectively ground business to a halt for comic shops.
It was unclear if these publishers would pursue other modes of distribution such as continuing to release comics via digital outlets like Comixology while print releases were delayed, but publishers have one-by-one come out to say they'd hold back releases until comic shops could be stocked.
In his statement, Buckley notes that the situation is fluid and could change in the future. Here is the full statement:
"To all our partners in the retailer community,
"Thank you for all your notes, discussions, and the absolute resolve we have heard and seen from you over the past weeks. This situation has been challenging for everyone, and the safety and well-being of you, your families, and your communities continue to be at the front of our minds.
"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.
"If you have any questions in the meantime, please continue to reach out and share your feedback. Revised release dates for our April 1 titles will be shared in the coming weeks.
Please stay safe and well.
President, Marvel Entertainment"
DC Comics rescheduled its April 1st releases to be published on April 29th. President Donald Trump extended the current self-quarantine protocols to remain in effect until April 30th, so it seems DC is hoping that, by then, comic shops will be in a better situation to support print releases. These dates are all subject to change as the realities of the pandemic shift over time.
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