Bleeding Cool understands from a number of senior figures across the comic book industry that the bigger publishers are reining back their planned July schedule, in some cases to a tenth of what was planned, dubbed a 'fallow month' for the comic book industry. Instead, comic books planned for April, May and June will see their schedule shifted, and delayed into subsequent months, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and to put fewer demands on the distribution system. This will effectively aim to reduced such demands over the next few months by a quarter, though just how much Marvel and DC Comics will reduce is yet to be seen.
Already Dynamite has talked about reducing their July products, Aspen has suspended publication, Vault has begun delaying all publications, Valiant has downed pencils – and I am told that this has now been extended to the end of July at the earliest. If more reduction is needed, look to see the schedule shifted into the autumn, and August similarly may become a 'fallow month' for the comic book industry.
Indeed, that's the phrase I've heard repeatedly over the weekend, but where does it come from? The Bible instructs the earliest farmers to introduce a 'fallow year' into their practices to ensure their ground had opportunities to rejuvenate, to be a sacrificial time, a Sabbath year every seven years, to mirror the Sabbath day, and to encourage trust in God.
From the end of the Middle Ages until the 20th century, Europe's farmers practiced three-field rotation, dividing available lands into three parts. One section was planted in the autumn with rye or winter wheat, followed by spring oats or barley; the second section grew crops such as peas, lentils, or beans; and the third field was left fallow. The three fields were rotated in this manner so that every three years, a field would rest and be fallow.
Recently, the Glastonbury music festival popularised the use of the word outside of agriculture, though revealing the farming background of the organisers. The festival has been held every year since 1981, except for "fallow years" taken mostly at five-year intervals, intended to give the land, local population, and organisers a break.
The coronavirus pandemic may see such phrasing spread even further…