You don’t need me to tell you about the seriousness of COVID-19. It has disrupted almost every facet of everyday life and, unfortunately, comics are not immune to what has been going on. The comic book industry is hurting from this tumultuous time.
To begin with, comic book conventions are cancelled or postponed. Comic book shops were affected next, many of which have closed to customers due to local laws or so they could do their part in flattening the curve. Sadly, some have closed for good.
Being shut to customers is bad for business, but many have adapted to the situation. Savvy stores are offering options for mail order, curbside pick-up, after-hours pick-up, and other options to help you safely get your comic book fix.
But the woes don’t end there. Another issue has arisen for the comic book industry to have to face. Diamond Comic Distributors – the primary distributor of comics, graphic novels, and other merch to comics book stores – has halted shipments of all new products beginning with April 1st. In response, most publishers have delayed comic book releases (in both print and digital) until Diamond can get back to distributing their comics.
It’s not ideal for anyone involved. Based on the state of the world at the moment, it could be months before new content is published again. Like most entertainment industries, new content is the life-blood of the comic book industry and where a lot of the money comes from every week. Without it, comic book creators and publishers’ employees don’t have a job; comic book stores have nothing new to sell, and readers don’t have their favourite comics to read.
So what can you do to help?
Luckily, while shops are not receiving new comics and graphic novels from the distributor, they still have decades of older material available. Even for the most avid readers, there is bound to be plenty that you haven’t read.
These small businesses are the lifeblood of the comic book community and they’re are hurting from the effects of COVID-19. If you’re in a position to do so, get in contact with your local store (either phone, email, or social media) and find out how you can buy some awesome comics from them.
It’s a win-win situation. Comic book stores are supported through your purchase, allowing them to pay staff and rent, and you have comics to read while you’re stuck at home.
You can also ask about gift certificates. This allows for a store to get some upfront cash and you have to choose what you want at a later date. Very handy for when you run out of things to read. They also make great gifts for others.
The comic book industry is in a tough place at the moment. Any purchase you can make is a blessing for comic book stores and will help them ride the wave until things are in a more stable position.
Are you looking for some older comics/graphic novels to add to your list? Over on Twitter, I have put together a list of more than 80 reading recommendations.
Handy for finding your nearest store as well as their contact details.
A great directory which shows which stores are open and what kinds of services they offer during this time.
Marvel has put together a list of all the stores that are still open and what kinds of services they are offering (eg mail order etc.).