Yesterday both DC and Marvel Comics freelancers received e-mails from their respective editors-in-chief, Bob Harras and C.B. Cebulski telling them that it was, basically business as usual. Reassuring them that they should keep creating comics, they would keep getting paid and basically not to worry what other people are saying, but to keep their heads down, during the coronavirus pandemic, unlike some publishers.
But unlike most other comics publishers, Marvel and DC have not talked about reducing their planned publication schedule, or making their titles returnable for comic books stores, or even how they might be distributing their books. Marvel has increased retailer discounts across their line, and DC Comics has lined up some events for kids and livestreams but that's about it. I understand that senior figures at DC Comics have been looking for a printer to replace the now-closed Transcontinental Publishing in Canada, and Marvel's printers remain unaffected by the coronavirus pandemic shutdown. However, Diamond Comic Distributors remains closed to new products, with no sign of fully reopening in the current coronavirus pandemic, and have been making staffers redundant, though their Olive Branch warehouse is still shipping out backlist product.
Marvel, it seems, did make some initial enquiries to stores that are still open enquiring about the possibilities of direct shipping comic books, during the Diamond shutdown, that has now switched to just expressions of being supportive of stores that are still able to open. As we said before, things are changing day to day, and no one really seems to be sure what, if anything, will be happening on the next traditional New Comics Day, April 1st. The significance of that date lost on nobody. As for some kind of Marvel/DC project to help lift folk out of the doldrums? All I can say is… the right people are talking. We'll see.
Bleeding Cool will keep our ears to the ground but, as we said, it's made of shifting sand. You can keep up with the effect of the coronavirus epidemic on the comics industry with this link.