Over the past few years, the #ComicBook industry, and comic book shops in particular, have not been doing well. Sales of newer comic books have been dropping and many comic book shops have already permanently closed. Given the shaky ground that comic book shops have been on for some time, new pressures are imperiling them even further:
- Due to the current #pandemic, many comic books have been forced to temporarily close in areas where governments have implemented “shelter-in-place” or “stay-at-home” orders for the general public in which only critical stores can remain open and the employees who work for the critical stores and institutions can continue to go to work under these conditions. Comic book shops are classified as being “non-essential”.
- #DiamondComic Distributors, the exclusive distributor for new releases from all of the comics’ direct market’s biggest publishers (including #DCComics, #MarvelComics, #DarkHorse Comics, #ImageComics, Dynamite Entertainment, BOOM! Studios, and IDW Publishing, as well as many small publishers), is no longer taking in new comics at its warehouse. The hold (the result of a slowdown in the economy due to the #COVID19 pandemic) will remain in place until further notice. Diamond will continue to ship out products that are already in its warehouse for the time being.
- Comic book producers don’t generally offer comic book shops the ability to return unsold inventory for refunds. This means that comic book shops that can’t sell any products are also stuck with inventory that they can’t return. Image Comics did, however, step up and change its policy so that comic book shop owners can return unsold products.
- Leading comic book retailer Joe Field of Flying Colors Comics & Other Cool Stuff in Concord, California, has called on comic book publishers to suspend publication and not replace print distribution with spotty distribution to stores still open or doing mail-order, or switch to digital publication.
- Transcontinental Printing, the main Canadian printer of DC Comics, and countless other publishers, is shutting down for three weeks. The Canadian provinces of Quebec and Ontario are also closing all non-essential businesses until at least mid-April.
In an email sent to his customer base, Ed Greenberg (the owner of Collector’s Paradise in Los Angeles, CA), wrote the following:
“We have been selling comics for close to 26 years now, and this is truly the first time that we are uncertain about the future of our store, our industry and our favorite art form.”
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