There are people sick and dying on the planet. I am really about to post a blog about halted comic books. I am going to do it. The reason I am going to do it is because it really does have some wider reaching implications.
The Comic Book Industry slings out hundreds of titles every week from dozens of publishers. Now for those of you outside the know of this situation let me see if I can high level the idea for you. Someone gets an idea. Artist or Writer is a bit of a chicken and an egg argument. Sometimes they are already working together. Sometimes napkin sketches get a talented writer to flesh them out. Sometimes scripts are brought to life by a talented writer. In some really cool cases they are one in the same person. Sean Murphy, I love you, man!
Inkers, colorists, letterers, editors, and publishing houses get involved. I am fairly certain that a printer jumps into action at some point along the way. Then the books are packaged and shipped to Diamond Comics for Distribution.
Why Diamond Comics you ask? Well, in North America and Europe they are the one stop shop for distributing comics. You might be surprised to know that a monopoly exists unchallenged in America, but it does. You want comics, you get them from Diamond. I don't know why, but I am sure there is one hell of a story.
Diamond (who is a sister company to Alliance gaming) was founded by Steve Geppi. I did not know this until I went to look up my comic books that would be released (already knowing that there was a hiatus, but having to see it for myself) from Diamond Comics Previews website. Instead of April 1 shipments I found an explanation of a responsible decision from Mr. Geppi. You can read it here.
There have certainly been shipping delays in the past due to weather. These were rarely because of Diamond. This delay though is," until further notice." Those words, in that context, are quite ominous. I must admit it made this whole "Shelter in Place" thing more real to me.
Now, again, I realize that comic books are not vital to life and living. For me they represent a fantastic escape from the real world and from that stress relief. I really genuinely appreciate the writers, artists, inkers (Effing Tracers), letterers, editors, publishers, sales agents, receptionists, shipping clerks, packaging clerks, delivery drivers, and printers that make my comic book adventures possible. I am worried about the livelihood of those folks for the next little while. Few comic book creatives are independently wealthy. That is a good part of the reason that they have their own websites where they sell merchandise and/or offer commissions. While I realize everyone is hurting right now, I will say it is a good time, if you have a few extra bucks, to order something directly from your favorite creators. I would focus on the indy scene myself. They don't all have Kirkman bucks.
Quick disclaimer to that last statement. I have no idea how much Robert Kirkman is worth. I love the man for making it huge with the Walking Dead and working on getting Invincible into an animated series. I hope he is a multimillionaire for his efforts.
The other people who are about to be really hurting are even more near and dear to my heart. The local comic book and game shops really depend on a steady flow of foot traffic to maintain functionality. Their employees depend on operation to keep their cash flowing. With mandatory shut downs these retailers are going to hurt. Some of them may not be able to recover.
Some shops have an online presence through an online story, amazon sales, or ebay. If you can contact them and use one of these methods to still purchase from them please do so. Buy a few graphic novels. Catch up on some back issues. Read some books that you normally pick up.
Now, I will also suggest minding how long we are delayed. I KNOW that comics are still being drawn and written. They are likely queued weeks or even months in advance to the printer. Comics will return. Have no doubt. The question is HOW they will return. I know that issues will not be missed.
Are we going to get a massive dump of comics on the week that everything returns to shipping? That could be a $200 week for me. I would be alright with that so long as Garin and I had some extra time to get it all read before recording our review episode. Are we going to see staggered release to keep biweekly books from dumping 2 or even 4 issues (or more depending on the delay) all at one time? I have no clue. It is certainly interesting to speculate on.
I will follow up with this as I find more stuff online about what publishers are planning on doing. I will also keep an eye on Diamond Comics hoping for the big announcement of their return. Until then I am going to try and get some extra writing done. Social distancing is good for that. I have been voluntarily doing it for years.
One more thought on this whole COVID-19 thing. People are sick. People are scared. People are out of work. People are struggling to eat. People are dying. People are stressed. Right now is the time to stop and reflect on our blessings. It is the time to tip extra if you have it. It is also time to be extra kind. It is time that we all see the best in one another and remember that no matter your race, color, political persuasion, gender, or any other factor that divides us we are all human. We get sick. We die. It happens a lot more quickly than any of us are ready for. It is such a shame that we forget that and are ugly to one another.
Spread love. It is so very needed.
Just make sure you do it from a distance of 6 feet or more away.
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