DC Details How Comic Book Retailers Will Be Supported Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

DC Universe Rebirth - Publicity - H 2020
Gary Frank/DC
The 'Batman' and 'Justice League' publisher is making all releases between mid-March and the end of June fully returnable at no cost, and plans to look into adding new distribution methods.

DC has released a statement explaining what the company will do to assist comic book retailers in the wake of the novel coronavirus outbreak that has, to all intents and purposes, shut down the comic book industry.

The statement, sent to retailers Saturday afternoon, explains that all DC periodicals and books with in-store dates between March 18 and June 24 will be fully returnable, with the company covering shipping costs. Additionally, DC is "exploring a multi-distributor model" moving forward "to provide us with the flexibility needed during this crisis to get new content to our readers on an ongoing basis.”

The statement comes at the end of a week during which Diamond Comic Distributors announced that it would not be shipping new product to comic book stores in North America for the foreseeable future, essentially closing down the print comic book market. In response, multiple publishers, including Image Comics, Dark Horse Comics and IDW, told The Hollywood Reporter that they would not be publishing digitally until print releases were available.

DC’s statement follows those from Image, Marvel and other publishers released before Diamond’s own, offering retailer assistance in the form of returnable releases, increased discounts or reworking release schedules so as to not overwhelm afflicted retailers experiencing reduced foot traffic or enforced closures.

Retailers have other options available to them for aid; Lion Forge’s the Forge Fund and Mad Cave Studios’ crowdfunded retailer support fund are also active. Additionally, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund has released a guide to help retailers apply for Coronavirus Distastes Loan Assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The full DC statement as provided to retailers is below.

To Direct Market Retailers:

First, the entire team here at DC hopes that you, your family and your employees are staying safe and healthy during this very tough and precarious time. We know that you have been waiting for DC to comment on the state-of-affairs and to address any measures we will take to help our community lighten the burden of the disruption to our business, and we’ve been working hard on a long-term, solution-focused plan. Here is how we will help:

Periodicals and books with in-store dates between March 18, 2020, and June 24, 2020, will be fully returnable. We’ll even provide credit for your separate return shipping of these items only.

Additionally, because we anticipate that continued disruption to business operations will create regional volatility, DC is exploring a multi-distributor model to provide us with the flexibility needed during this crisis to get new content to our readers on an ongoing basis. In the short-term, we continue to engage in active conversations with Diamond to help us solve the distribution issues that have arisen and hope to get new product to stores that want or need it as soon as possible. We will provide additional information about how we’ll make that happen in the coming days.

Thanks for your patience with us. DC will continue to monitor the situation, continue to speak with you directly, and continue to support you through the days ahead. You are the lifeblood of this industry.

All best,
The DC Team