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In what is undoubtedly the biggest comics announcement in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, Diamond Comics Distributors has told publishers that it will no longer be accepting new product at its warehouses, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed. The move essentially paralyzes a significant part of the comic book industry for the foreseeable future.
Diamond is the exclusive periodical distributor for a number of core publishers in the industry, including Marvel Entertainment, DC, Dark Horse Comics, Image Comics, Boom! Studios and Dynamite Publishing. It also is the world’s largest distributor of English-language comics and graphic novels. As such, the company’s decision to refuse delivery of new product to its warehouses places the Western print comic book industry on hiatus for an undetermined time.
Product already in the warehouses will be delivered to stores through April 1, according to Diamond, although that may change.
The news follows a significant slowdown for the industry, with publishers delaying shipments and retailers forced to close stores as the coronavirus continues to spread. Diamond informed publishers and retailers of its plans on Monday. The news was initially reported by Bleeding Cool, although Diamond did not confirm until retailers had been notified.
There are a number of unanswered questions surrounding the announcement, not least of which is how publishers will respond. Will digital releases be similarly delayed to maintain day-and-date releases in both digital and print, or will publishers allow digital releases as originally scheduled? Expect more on this story in the coming days.
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