When DC Comics left Diamond Comic Distributors, they kept the policy of Final Order Cut-Off (FOC) dates for retailers to change their orders closer to shipping time. But rather than keep it on Monday night with all the other Diamond titles, they switched it to Sunday nights from Lunar or UCS – or the previous Thursday when there was a holiday weekend. Now it seems that Marvel Comics is following in that stead. As of next week and going forward, all Marvel Comics/Penguin Random House items will have Sunday Final Cut-Off Order dates, rather than Monday. The first will be this Sunday, the 11th of July, with the cut-off being midnight ET, or 9 pm PT, or 5 am the next morning BST. Diamond will continue Monday FOC for non-Marvel/Penguin Random House/DC/Scout titles.
UPDATE: Power Pack fan Ziggy gets in touch to point out that this is a Diamond thing more than a Marvel thing. "It's DIAMOND Marvel FOC that has been moved to Sunday. Stores that order Marvel through PRH still have a Monday FOC. This is so Diamond can get their orders in to PRH by the Monday deadline."
The change is a direct result of Marvel moving exclusive direct market distribution to Penguin Random House, even though Diamond will be sub distributing Marvel titles, and Lunar would like the opportunity to do the same. Final Order Cut-off of FOC is the last ordering deadline before publishers actually commit to print runs for the comics. It's an opportunity for retailers to increase or decrease orders and take advantage of last-minute additions like variant covers or second printings which often get added at the last minute to help such a boost. The changes in direct market comic book distribution, even small ones like these, can ripple out with big changes. Right now, it just means more paperwork and labour on the part of the comic book retailer. But add them all up and there are big changes for the way comic book stores do business in this marketplace. Bleeding Cool will try and keep an eye on all the changes and see if we can find some discernible shape for what 2022 is going to look like.