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UPDATED: Newsarama has spoken with a source at Marvel, and it seems that Doctor Aphra #1 is not coming out digitally next week after all – nor is that Comixology list accurate.

According to a source at Marvel , the solicited April 1 Doctor Aphra #1 will not be released April 1 digitally or in print, despite Lucasfilm’s post, as well as the now outdated listings on comiXology and Marvel’s own digital storefront.

The release schedule for all comic books was thrown into disarray earlier this week when the effects of coronavirus led the Direct Market’s leading print distributor, Diamond, to suspend distribution of comics beginning April 1.

Marvel hasn’t made any public facing comments on what they are doing next week when there will be no more new comics shipping. However, I’m hearing that they have “a plan” for moving forward in the Great Pandemic Lockdown, in addition to their announcement of massive discounts for new books. With Diamond no longer shipping books and printing plants closing down, that discount plan may not still be effective.

There has been a great deal of hubbub and anxiety over The Big Two continuing to release comics digitally, and it appears that Marvel will be releasing comics digitally next week. Or first tip off was this blurb for Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #1. 

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Look for Doctor Aphra #1, from writer Alyssa Wong and artist Marika Cresta, with a cover by Valentina Remenar, on digital on Wednesday, April 1. For more on Doctor Aphra, check out StarWars.com’s interview with Alyssa Wong!

But you can actually check out Comixology’s comics coming out next week, and sure enough, there are a lot of Marvel comics there, along with collected editions. But nothing from Image and some other publishers. We’re doing a fuller report on this later today.

I’ll just jump in here and say that while The Big Two shifting to digital is one of the Doomsday Scenarios of the Direct Market, I don’t think a few weeks of digital shipping is going to kill anything if for coronavirus doesn’t anyway. My opinion, FWIW, but I have heard so many “digital will kill comics!” scenarios and there are MORE comics than ever.

Still, this is a serious situation. Yesterday’s a rumor spread that Marvel was also looking to offer direct shipping of comics to stores. I haven’t spoken anyone who confirmed that, however. But my “where there’s smoke there’s fire” sense is tingling on this one.

While “Shelter in place” orders around the country have closed down many non essential businesses, comics shops are still open in some parts of the country. And many more are offering mail order and curbside delivery – even in parts of the country on lockdown it appears lone shop owners are going in and shipping out orders, as Portland’s Books With Pictures is doing. Never say that comics retailers don’t care, because they do. But whether this will continue to be allowed is also unknown – and the $2.2 trillion bailout/relief bill that just passed may offer some help for small businesses.

What we do know for sure: Marvel has posted a resource for fans on their website, called How We Can Support Our Comic Book Shops:

As we all encounter new and uncertain challenges in response to COVID-19 and take extraordinary measures to prioritize the safety and wellbeing of everyone in the industry and beyond, our thoughts are with the entire industry and community we all support.

With the unprecedented shutdown of some of our daily social activities, local small businesses are being hit the hardest, including our comic book retailers.

As we adapt our lives to help curb the spread of COVID-19 and adhere to any governmental orders and health guidelines, there are still many ways to help and support your local comic book shops. Ask your local comic book shop if they offer any of the following:

  • Holding or creating pull lists
  • Curbside pickup
  • Special deliveries
  • Gift cards/certificates

You can also spread the word about your favorite local comic book shop on Yelp or social media.

Below are just a few of the many stores in the comics industry and their offerings. We suggest heading directly to each retailer’s website for more details such as store hours and more. [NOTE: This list will be continuously updated.]

The list is a bit brief, but it includes The Beat’s own retail correspondent, Variant Edition, so it gets a thumbs up from me.

Obviously, this is all a very fluid situation. We’ll continue to update as we get more information.

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6 COMMENTS

  1. i mean, marvel is burning what ever bridges are left with retailers with this…and there were not a lot of bridges left.

  2. Publishers need to keep creating content. Creators need paychecks. I feel for the LCS but they’re gonna be positioned to get help from federal and local assistance programs for small business. Freelance creators prob wont be.

  3. Forget about Marvel’s current crud. This is a good time to get caught up on comics history. Go to Comic Book Plus and read thousands of public domain comics online. FREE.

  4. “Publishers need to keep creating content. Creators need paychecks.”

    And when the Direct Market entirely collapses? How much will creators enjoy getting nothing but digital work?

    Mike

  5. “And when the Direct Market entirely collapses? How much will creators enjoy getting nothing but digital work?”

    The content of “mainstream” comics over the last 35 years has been shaped by the direct market and the tastes of comic shop patrons — i.e., superheroes, superheroes, and more superheroes.

    When — not if, but when — the direct market goes away, I wonder what comics will look like?

Comments are closed.