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After much ‘will they or won’t they,’ the last of the major publishers has finally weighed in officially on what’s happening tomorrow. This morning Marvel Comics announced to retailers that they will not be releasing new single-issue titles digitally this week. The statement from Marvel president Dan Buckley, describes the situation as ‘fluid,’ and says the publisher will provide more long-term details once they become available.

To all our partners in the retailer community,

Thank you for all your notes, discussions, and the absolute resolve we have heard and seen from you over the past weeks. This situation has been challenging for everyone, and the safety and well-being of you, your families, and your communities continue to be at the front of our minds.

As you know, unfortunately there will not be any new print titles available at your shops this week. Marvel will also not be releasing any new comic book titles digitally on April 1. This is a fluid situation with details changing every day, so we appreciate your patience and understanding as we all navigate our way through this. As soon as more information is available, we will outline our longer-term plans and opportunities to support you and the industry.

If you have any questions in the meantime, please continue to reach out and share your feedback. Revised release dates for our April 1 titles will be shared in the coming weeks.

Please stay safe and well.

Dan Buckley
President, Marvel Entertainment

The situation with Marvel has been up in the air since last week when Diamond announced they would not be shipping new products with on-sale dates of April 1st and beyond until further notice. A preview on starwars.com for the forthcoming Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #1 stated that the title would still be available digitally on 4/1, though a source at Marvel later said the site was mistaken without providing further information on Marvel’s digital plans. A look at the ‘Coming Soon from Marvel‘ page on Comixology still shows most of this week’s planned titles as releasing tomorrow (the release date for Doctor Aphra there has been changed to 4/8), and the publisher’s own store page still lists those titles as releasing tomorrow as well.

The statement comes on the heels of DC Comics announcing a similar decision late last night. While no single issues that could be found at your local comic shop will be available for purchase tomorrow, DC will release a limited slate of digital titles, including planned digital-first books like Batman: The Adventure Continues #1, as well as digital collected editions and graphic novels (of which physical copies would still be available to direct market retailers via distributors other than Diamond). The statement contradicts what retailers had been told over the weekend – that new DC titles would be available digitally. The backlash to that announcement, made in the comments of a post on DC’s retailer-only Facebook page, was swift, and clearly made an impression on the decision-makers at DC.

Perhaps this is all just evidence of how ‘fluid’ the situation really is, with decisions being made day-to-day as publishers attempt to navigate the uncertain waters of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. We’ll update as things change, but as of right now, it’s looking like it’s going to be a pretty quiet Wednesday on the new release front.

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Updated to add Marvel’s statement.

(Follow all of the Beat’s coverage of the Coronavirus Pandemic Crisis here.)

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