Around about an hour ago, a number of Marvel Comics creators received e-mails from editorial asking them to cease work on the comic book projects they were currently working on.
Bleeding Cool understands that this isn't being announced as a cancellation of projects, but is being sold into creators as a pause. Many other comic book publishers had officially stated that they were changing their schedule of upcoming projects in the light of the current situation. But until now, Marvel had not pulled the trigger.
As it stands, Marvel is pausing work on select titles originally scheduled to go on sale in May and June, until there is clarification on the future of the direct market comic book industry. I understand that longer-term plans may be forthcoming once we get a better idea of the situation.
No cancellations for Marvel – yet.
There are no cancellations here, and reports elsewhere of a third of Marvel's line being halted are exaggerated. I also understand that the policy affects mainly launches and new releases. Marvel Comics seems to believe that this is not a good time to launch new titles, even if they were able to. As a result, there is a pause in the degree of publication for the months of May and June. This will be to re-evaluate printing, distribution and sales at a time when its a lot harder to print or distribute comic books.
UPDATE: We understand that the number of projects on pause is around 15-20% of the line.
What would have been.
Launches for May included Empyre spinoff books for X-Men, Captain America, Ms Marvel, Thor, Squadron Supreme, Black Panther's Wakanda and more. We were also looking forward to the launch of The Union by Paul Grist and Andrea Di Vito.
June was to bring us the launch of a new Non-Stop Spider-Man series from Joe Kelly and Chris Bachalo. As well as the Darkhold event and the new Shang-Chi comic from Gene Luen Yang, Dike Ruan and Philip Tan.
Bleeding Cool understands that there also delays imposed on work that was timed to Marvel Studios movie launches such as Black Widow and Taskmaster, as that movie is currently delayed.
What happens with Marvel next?
Currently, with no sign of shutdowns being lifted and the ComicHub plan on pause, there is no confirmation how any of the currently planned comics from Marvel would have been published or distributed. There was however some comfort in that everything was still chugging along as normal. That has now changed, as whatever else happens, it looks like some of Marvel editorial will be taking a pause too. Though the majority of it will still be continuing as before, for now.