British Comic Shops – Delays, Diamond, Lockdown Until March?

This week, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland entered its third national lockdown, with slightly different variations in the separate countries. Some areas were already in lockdown, but now it's everywhere. All non-essential shops are closed, and no, comic stores are not considered essential. Some can run click-and-collect services and curbside pick-ups, some are not, and some have moved to mail order. England's lockdown alone may last until March.

It doesn't help this week for the stores that are managing to keep going, that only the DC Comics for this week – and last week – are arriving for sale today. And for some stores, the delivery hasn't arrived yet.

Piranha Comics of Bromley and Kingston-Upon-Thames posted a message from distributor Diamond UK, telling us.

Hi there everyone if you have a few minutes please read this email from our comic distributor DIAMOND. Please read and don't panic buy from the US or grey importers. Hold steady and wait for your usual supplier to fill your orders.
The letter to retailers runs below.
You'll undoubtably be aware that the latest government announcement yesterday placed another HUGE percentage of Comic stores/sellers into tier 4. As was the case previously during the English lockdown pt. 2, product continues to print and will be available to us. Once again with this in mind we intend to continue with weekly distribution of as much product as is available to us (and that will be available to your customers from other sources).
I say be available to us as unfortunately several of our shipments containing product due for release on Jan 6th have been held up in the US and have not made it to Diamond UK in time to make their intended release.
We've been in constant contact with our shippers throughout 2020 and we are fully aware of the logistical problems that they have encountered all year and with the recent severe US weather conditions and urgent need for shipments of medical and other vital products, this week's shipments have all been affected.
Please see for the list of product that is included for delivery to you on your normal day and timed service next week. As soon as we have more information on the product missing from 6th Jan we will update you, but we have every intention of hoping to supply this to you in the following weeks deliveries.
Due to the numerous complications and problems this year (with the break-in in October being the #1 culprit!) we are looking to run a complete stock check through the week of Monday 4th Jan – Sunday 10th Jan, and in order to do this we will not be able to accept re-orders from Monday 4th – Saturday 9th. We fully appreciate that this isn't an ideal situation but have tried to select a quiet period, close to year end, in which to make the count and with covid-19 restrictions permitting the re-order option on the website will be temporarily unavailable next week, this will also be the case for any emailed/phone orders to the CS dept.
With all of these problematic points out of the way, I will finish on a positive note! For myself and every member of the Diamond UK team this year has proved our toughest yet. However, despite all of the trials and tribulations we've faced, we are all aware that you have also faced them and we all here truly feel that despite everything, TOGETHER we've all worked as hard as possible to maintain the supply of product to our end consumer = The general public, who have all in their own way continued to support our industry and purchased product in whatever new or old method available to them. This is something that unfortunately, hasn't been possible for some of the UKs largest retail chains/stores meaning that we've lost some HUGE names from the UK high street. So, hats off to you all for everything that you've accomplished in a year that will certainly go down in the history books even if it is for all of the wrong reasons! I can't promise a better start to 2021 but I can promise the same dedication from everyone here to make it a better year than 2020 has been!
Here's what plans come other comic book retailers are making.

Gosh Comics, London –

As London continues in Tier 4, we will remain closed. As usual, there will be staff on-site Monday-Friday, 9.30am – 5pm to deal with mail orders and click and collect requests, so give us a shout if you want us to send out your standing order (free shipping for S/O's over £50) or can safely make it into town to collect at the door. And if you fancy ordering any books from our webstore, or using https://uk.bookshop.org/shop/goshlondon to buy any other books you're looking for (we get a revenue share on any purchases searched from that page), then that would be just swell!

Forbidden Planet

We are currently closed under the national Lockdown restrictions. We hope to see you all again soon – stay safe! Our Call & Collect Service is available – click for details.

OK Comics – Leeds

Like all 'non-essential' businesses, OK Comics is now closed to in-store customers. MAIL ORDER SERVICE CONTINUES! New items to our webshop daily (okcomics.co.uk) Order comics, graphic novels, and request delivery of subscription orders via email (shop@okcomics.co.uk) – Can I add stuff to my subscription order? Yes. Email any changes to your order to shop@okcomics.co.uk and we'll act on it straight away. All the new releases that are arriving this month were ordered in November. At that time I thought that we would be closed for lockdown in January, so my ordering was very tight. Why would we need shelf copies if there isn't anybody coming into the shop to browse the shelves? So, we have very few extras available of anything. If you have anything you want adding to your order, do it as early as possible.

Paradox Comics, Poole

"Happy New Year folks. Hope you are keeping well and keeping safe. Well, it's the first list of the year! There were supposed to be two weeks' worth of comics here but due to delays this list is mainly the comics due last week (look out for a double whammy next week). Obviously we are closed to visitors but I can still arrange delivery or collection. Just call on 01202 661346 [during working hours], email paradox@paradoxcomics.co.uk or message me on Facebook. Happy reading…"

Wow Comix of Bury, Sytetford and Stockport posted,

British Comic Shops - Locked Down Until March?
Credit: Wow Comix

A sad but necessary situation. Stretford Mall this morning following the latest lockdown. Most shops closed, including Wow Comix, and hardly a person to be seen. All the indications are that this lockdown could last a few months but don't worry, you can still find your comics, both new and old, on our website at www.wowcomix.com.

Gnash Comix of Ashburton posted;

#lockdown again but Gnash is here to meet all your comic and bookish needs – online & click and collect or post out if you are unable to come to the shop. Email info@gnashcomics.co.uk

Room 237 of Portsmouth posted;

We will be next open on Wednesday from 10am 'till 5pm, for pick ups, orders, and delivery requests.

But as of this morning…

Still waiting for the delivery.

Good luck all.

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About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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