There’s a running meme on the Internet that encapsulates uncertainty like nothing else: “what were we all talking about before C-19?” The quest to maintain normalcy during the age of social distancing has only acquired more followers; jumping aboard the wagon are our fellow artists and comics creators who are helping people cope with boredom during these harsh times. The Beat will be curating regular roundups of ways you can enjoy some of those distractions, and support the people and shops behind them.

§ Anyone Comics will host a social distance signing with Vita Ayala
Social distancing signing Vita Ayala

The Brooklyn-based local comics shop will be organizing a “social distancing” signing with Livewire (Valiant) and Morbius: The Living Vampire (Marvel) writer Vita Ayala on Thursday, March 26th from 6-7pm via Instagram and Facebook Live.

Those interested in this unique event can log on to Instagram or Facebook, and join a conversation with Ayala! The signing will work through mail orders, but you don’t have to necessarily order one of Ayala’s books to get one signed. The store will include a free signed copy with every order, which you can make by emailing the shop at the following address: [email protected] prior to the Q&A. This is a particularly clever idea as it keeps the comics community in dialogue and communication. Strategies such as these can help shops diversify and stay relevant as Diamond has announced it will cease printing and shipping to shops.

Give this store some love, order an additional Ayala book (especially Morbius, which is phenomenal), and continue reading comics!

§ Eisner, Harvey and British Comic Awards nominee Andi Watson recently shared a 23-page PDF of coloring pages, crafts, baking and making with a pay-as-you-like option so you can attend your Zoom meeting without having a stuffed toy thrown at you.

Watson has worked on multiple stories, most recently the all-ages series Glister. While you’re casually checking out his extensive portfolio, be sure to stop by his store

§ Many stores are offering curbside pickup with precautionary measures for customers who want to avoid potential exposure to coronavirus. Valiant started a thread of such stores on Twitter so go give them a follow. If you are a store owner, just DM these folks to get featured.

§ Writer and artist Sarah Gordon, whose work has been called ‘disturbing,’ is self-published and resilient to the core. She is currently working on Vicious Creatures, a collection of short tales based on the darker side of being human, and crowdfunding its production. If you are into Stranger Things, Harry Potter and Stephen King books, say hello to Gordon.

sarah gordon§ Join a book club! Cape and Cowl Comics in Oakland, CA has started the Never Ending Book Club on Facebook and it’s making us sentimental at some of the titles that some readers are revisiting in times of social distancing: Locke & Key, Sin City: The Big Fat Kill and the recently-released Dragon Hoops (read our interview with writer Gene Luen Yang!)

social distancing

§ Collector’s Paradise Comics is hosting an Image graphic novels sale on their website, in thanks to the publisher for stepping up to support retailers during this crisis.

Check in for more updates this week!