Yesterday Dark Horse Comics released a statement from founder Mike Richardson regarding steps the publisher will be taking to support retailers during the Diamond shutdown and the COVID-19 pandemic. What was unclear from that statement was whether the publisher would be releasing products digitally during the interim period where physical comics are unavailable. Today The Beat received a statement clarifying Dark Horse’s digital plans. The short version is, single issues will not be released digitally, but other offerings available through the bookstore market will be:
We will not be releasing any comics digitally that are not also available in print. We still have collections, OGN’s and art books shipping thru our bookstore distributor Penguin Random House (from whom comics retailers can also order). Those respective titles will be made available digitally the same day they are available from retailers.
As the statement points out, direct market retailers who have accounts with distributors other than Diamond will still be able to order graphic novels, collected editions, and art books from them. Bookstores do historically receive those products later than comic shops do, but their digital releases have always coincided with the later bookstore release dates, so it seems there’s no change there.
Dark Horse is just the second publisher to release an official statement regarding single issue comic release this period. Earlier today Archie Comics released a statement announcing that, due to production schedules, new single issues will be available digitally next week, but beyond that they will not be making direct market-specific titles available digitally, delaying release of any of those titles indefinitely.