Yesterday, as expected, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a new lockdown for England and anyone else who wants to play along. From Thursday, that means the closure of any non-essential shops, all restaurants and bars except for takeaway and delivery services. Courts and medical centres will remain open, as will schools, colleges and universities. Movement will be restricted as will any social mixing. It's basically like the last big lockdown, with very few amendments. But for comic shops, there's no difference.
So, if you are a comic book reader, the last time you will be able to pick up your regular comic books is Tuesday for DC and Wednesday for everyone else. Might I suggest that you do this? Also if you have a pullbox, that you empty it this week? And see what options your comic book shop might have for delivery in the weeks to come. It will last till at least the first week in December – but could be longer. We are not entirely sure what will be happening to Diamond UK but will be updating as and when we can. It is notable that the likes of Viz Comic, 2000AD, Phoenix Weekly and other titles continued publication through the last shutdown – even if it took months for the US market to get them.
Or a comic shop could do what some others have, and turn themself into a takeaway food and drink place, with benefits. Though that might not be the spirit of the legislation.
Marina Desclavis, who runs Empire Records and Chaos City Comics in St Albans told The Herts Advertiser, "Christmas is the busiest time of the year for retailers, and another lockdown could potentially end us. I'm scared that after working very hard for the last five years, I could lose everything. 2020 has been a huge challenge, and I'm worried about my staff, as they all have families to support. It could be very difficult if not catastrophic for them to lose their jobs." And that even though her businesses' online sales have increased, it will not be enough for them to survive without face-to-face sales due to their high rent payments.
Paul Cornell tweeted out "Please look after your local comic shop during this second lockdown. Set up a mail order account and get your pull list that way. Specialist shops have the smallest margins, and we want all those businesses to still be there in December"
Sarah McIntyre made a personal appeal "This is pretty much what happened to me for the first lockdown; it is TERRIBLE for sales figures and my prospects of more books with publishers. If you could buy these lockdown books, I'd be awfully grateful."
Matt Garvey writes "Ok, guys in the UK we are really gonna have to circle the wagons to really help & support all those locals comic shops out there! They are the life blood of he industry so PLEASE pick up you pull lists before Thursday & arrange (if you can & they can) to get your orders posted! Also, guys just to add to this! IF you don't want your pull list anymore or simply can't afford it, do the honourable thing & let your local comic shop know PLEASE! It's not fair for them to have to hold those comics & absorb those costs if you've no intention of collecting them!"
Frog Bros Comics of Bournemouth tweeted "So, Lockdown 2.0 is on the horizon… and somehow, comic books have not been listed as an essential item. We know, baffling news. But fear not. We will be open as normal until Wednesday 4th November! For those last-minute essential supplies, we will be here Mon-Wed 9am-5:30pm"
Get Ready Comics of Rochester posted on Facebook "Let's do this again – #strongertogether. Time to protect the real heroes & each other. In line with today's government guidelines – for the greater good, we close our doors at 5pm Weds 4th November until the start of December. We can't quite explain the pain of having to do this again, but we also know know there are far worse things in the world right now. Our local & online community means the world to us. A like, follow, share or invite to like our page goes a very long way. Please stay safe, hopefully we'll see you over the coming days. If not, you can find us online."
Good luck folks, I'll be going to Piranha Comics in Kingston On Thames on Tuesday and Wednesday and then… who knows?