Will the Comic Book Direct Market Survive COVID-19 shutdowns?

There was a flurry of speculation about the unfavorable impact to comic book shops if comic companies “train” readers to change to digital in the lack of print comics. In particular, when DC looked like they were going to deliver a lot of April 1 comics digitally, including Batman # 92 (a position DC later backed off from).

There has been a remarkable amount of speculation lately about whats going to occur with new comics being put on hold forever due to the fact that of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Comic Shops have not only been shutting their doors due to the fact that of regional “shelter in location” orders, some have actually already been put of business permanently.

We then got the declared “hero” of the direct market, in the kind of a service called ComicHub that would permit readers to buy comics digitally to continue reading that service and then later get the print comic from their regional store when that store reopens and physical comics are readily available once again. This plan is not being accepted by all. Noted San Francisco area retailer Brian Hibbs posted about ComicHub on Facebook:

A survey on a seller forum today has 119 opposed, 17 uncertain, and 5 for “digital very first” releases, EVEN IF IT “comes from a retailer source”.
Beyond the philosophical idiocy of motivating cross channel migration (even passively), the mechanical aspects of it are insane– how could ANYone procedure and handle 4-20 weeks of physical print comics dropping at the same time that would be required to “catch up”?
I can barely earn a profit with my MUCH larger discount rates than what the ComicsHUB strategy uses, and this creates an EXPONENTIAL quantity more of operate in needing to track and arrange such sales, all for what will be a paltry earnings stream.

The more I think about it, the more I understand this “burn it to the ground and just see what regrows from the ashes” viewpoint.

And possibly thats excusable a thing to lose because the big shared narrative has actually been diminished by marketing to consist of great deals of complicated connection, continual reboots, and far too routine mega-events with unneeded tie-ins that are being offered to a really small slice of the overall audience of the superhero commercial complex over the last decade or more.

What would endure is OGNs informing tight stories about the most popular heroes and teams. Or possibly these would come out initially in digital installments and after that be launched as printed collections.

The important things we d be losing in the long term as part of a Direct Market demise is the large/complex shared narrative superhero universes. Whatever comes out the other side of a Direct Market collapse practically certainly would not have 80+ regular monthly titles from each of Marvel & & DC weaving an intricate narrative each month.

People a lot smarter than me have actually observed that if adequate comic stores go out of service the part of the comics industry called the Direct Market will likely collapse as well. This part of the comics market would probably not survive an abrupt transition to a new distribution method (including digital). The keyword there is SUDDEN.

It has actually been mentioned that there are actually 4 segments to the comics market (which can be discussed, however its close enough for this discussion, so roll with it):.

The COVID-19 pandemic may eventually count the comic book direct market as one of its victims. The longer the shutdowns go on, the more little services (which include comic stores) will find themselves not able to remain in business.

Direct Market titles (Marvel/DC/Image/ and so on).
Reserve market things (like Raina Telgemeier/Dav Pilkey).
Manga.
Web comics.

On Facebook (and other locations), I have actually seen a variety of individuals who deserted the super-hero part of the Direct Market long back cheering its death..
” Good Riddance” they shout,.
” I just check out (digital, webcomics, manga, etc.) anymore anyhow!”.

A well planned transition is something, but a damage-control shift produced by the collapse of the existing circulation network coupled with what will likely be a worldwide recession is rather another.

I believe the “big” stories” like Dark Metal, or War of the Realms (or whatever, these are simply 2 current examples that came to mind) would in lots of methods be better if they were informed tightly in a 160-200 page OGN instead of sprawled out over an 8-12 issue mini-series with 30-40+ reasonably pointless tie-in titles. So the “brand-new regular” might result in an even much better way to get cool idea stories out to the fans … and these are often what Hollywood seeks to as IP to base movies on, so that might continue unchanged, with the most popular stories getting adapted to other media.

The Direct Market is currently 70% approximately Marvel/DC. I believe the “other 30%” of the Direct Market could make it through a shift to OGNs and digital a lot easier than the large linked superhero universes of Marvel/DC. Its not that superhero comics would go away entirely, they would simply need to evolve to live within whatever market increases from the ashes.

Viewpoint piece by: Bob Bretall( bob@comicspectrum.com) http://comicspectrum.com/ By Fans who Love Comics For Fans who Love Comics.

Of course, this is all speculation at this moment. What I understand for a reality is that the next a number of months will be extremely fascinating to see and Im eagerly anticipating seeing what comes out the other side of this.

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Noted San Francisco location merchant Brian Hibbs published about ComicHub on Facebook:

The essential word there is SUDDEN.

The Direct Market is currently 70% or so Marvel/DC. Its not that superhero comics would go away completely, they would just require to progress to live within whatever market rises from the ashes.

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