On last night's Fatman Beyond podcast, Kevin Smith and Marc Bernadin talked about comics and comic book stores caught in the current global situation. Inspired by the comic book creators doing what they can to help comic book stores out, they called up Jim Lee. Publisher of DC Comics, he is spending his time drawing a sketch a day for 60 days to also raise money for comic stores, and as part of the #Creators4Comics campaign. Kevin and Marc caught him in the middle of a companion piece to his previous Hush Huntress sketch, this time with Deathstroke.
But Jim Lee also talked about DC Comics distribution, something that retailer Brian Hibbs has been directly calling him out on, over the decision to use comic stores to subdistribute across the US and Canada from the end of this month, rather than the shut down Diamond Comic Distributors. First Kevin asked if everyone at DC Comics were just writing about the coronavirus plague in their DC Comics storylines.
Jim Lee replied "Some stories coincidentally in storylines already [Bleedng Cool already mentioned the plotline of Batman #92] but most creators know not to jump on something this big… how do you do it justice without trivialising it or insulting people. Those kind of stories work best when you use it as inspiration for something bigger or a parallel."
He was also asked about the DC Comics titles that are beginning to be distributed again at the end of the month, with a Tuesday, April 28th release date in comic book stores. Those that can get them, that is. Lee "The comics shipping, those are the books that didn't ship on April 1st, we're actually taking a subsection of those. We're not releasing the whole line. It's like the marketplace is on a diet they, haven't eaten for like a month, you can't just give them real food and a tonne of it at once. You've got to slowly release it back into the pipeline. The whole idea is to get some books in to, basically, stress test these new distributors that we've partnered with. We're holding back the big titles like Batman #92 which had over 230,000 copies. We want to wait, hold that for when the most number of eyeballs you know can see it and read it and things like Death Metal, those are likely going to continue to be pushed back until we have more stores up in line. But until then, the stores that are open and have figured out ways to be in business, we want to help them out. We want to give them product to sell, We want to give them the lifeblood that kind of keeps their businesses afloat."
Of course it also means those 230,000 copies of Batman #92 are still in Diamond's warehouses taking up a lot of space. You can hear the whole socially distanced podcast below.