Bleeding Cool recently published a relatively in-depth look at the current issues regarding the comic book industry and challenges to printing and distribution caused by the pandemic in a number of different ways, from shipping, to paper stock, to haulage to warehousing, to printing itself. We listed a few specific delays hitting DC Comics titles, but we are aware of a very specific sub-set of Marvel Comics that will be suffering delays as a result of the print crisis.
We mentioned that Marvel's Voices: Comunidades #1 had been delayed from the end of October to the second week of November, and it wasn't down to the usual writer/artist/editorial delays but that it will be printed as a squarebound comic book, rather than using staples, because of its size. And those are the Marvel books that are being directly affected when it comes to printing schedules. It is also the reason why Fantastic Four #35 was so delayed, for once it was nothing to do with Dan Slott. Marvel is getting hit like everyone else (aside from, peculiarly, Image Comics, according to them) but especially on over-sized comic books of one description or another.
But in general, understaffed US printers and a shortage of haulage drivers because of the coronavirus, as well as shipping delays from East Asian printers is causing a printing bottleneck in comic books. The manga drought has also seen volumes of popular books with millions of copies in print sell for five times their usual cover price on Amazon and eBay. Look forward to that particular market glitch to start spreading.
However, we never like highlighting a problem without suggesting a solution. If you feel like alleviating the printing stress, especially for backstock, consider putting your bookshelves on eBay, increase the supply of graphic novels in the marketplace, so that the prices reduce all round, and maybe even make a few pennies out of it. Then, when this has all blown over, buy them back again…