Heroes & Villains On The State Of The Comic Book Business As Of Today

Another Wednesday…let’s see what’s going on with comic books. Oh….oh GOD, NO!

When I sit down to write these things I’m doing it with a specific audience in mind: comic book readers. I’m writing it with the assumption that the reader is not getting all their comics news from me (if you are, god help you) and that they’re generally up to speed with the goings-on in the industry. But if you’re just dropping in, welcome and things are NOT GOOD.

It was just announced that Diamond, the company that distributes comic books to retailers everywhere and anywhere, is temporarily ceasing distribution after this week. I understand the reasoning behind this and with the utter insanity of the world right now I’m not surprised.

Michigan, where I live, just issued a Stay Home, Stay Safe order effective 12:01 AM Tuesday which means people are to stay home and all nonessential businesses are to remain closed. If you’ll permit me a moment of levity, I was ready to argue that my Local Comic Shop is an essential business and should remain open until the world actually starts burning…which should be any day now.

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Last week I ranted about supporting your local shop (along with other small businesses) and for good reason. It was because I could feel it deep in my bones that we were/are still in free fall and things most certainly were going to get worse. Most small retailers aren’t equipped to take this kind of sustained hit to their business and if you know any small business owners you also know the precarious tightrope act day-to-day operations can be. Support your people if you can. As always, your first priority is to take care of yourself and those close to you. If you’re currently out of work, now may not be the best time to drop over $100 on one of those DC Absolute Editions.

Some publishers have stepped up and done the right thing for retailers in the last week or so. BOOM! Studios announced a rather robust Retailer Support Program, making their books fully returnable through June along with other initiatives to help retailers. It’s reassuring to see someone doing SOMETHING in these sweaty times.

With all this going on, I’m not sure where this leaves Heroes & Villains… Honestly, I feel like we could be a week away from me warming my hands over one of those oil drum fires while I recite that week’s column to the assembled vermin with digressions about the days of toilet paper, colour TV, and the World Wide Web.

Stability and ritual can lead to feelings of normalcy in these highly abnormal times. It’s widely known that I’ll write about anything with little or no provocation so I intend on doing something with this space while new comics are being delayed.

Check up on your Local Comic Shop, check on your favourite comics creators, check on your favourite indie publisher. There may be ways you can support them (again, if you’re able to) during this ongoing insanity. Did you know that Amazon has delayed some shipments of nonessential items by up to a month? Your LCS may not offer Prime 2-Day shipping but they may be able to get you that Grant Morrison Batman omnibus a hell of a lot quicker than Amazon could.

I’ll be back next week with something resembling a column. Until then, take care of each other…from a reasonable distance, of course.

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