We’re just going to list all the updates and cancellations here in a daily round-up, since routine actives are being pushed back or cancelled.
• After some confusion yesterday, Diamond has made it clear that Free Comic Books, planned for May 2, will be postponed. Chairman Steve Geppi made the announcement in a statement:
With restaurants and other businesses closing and many areas implementing event restrictions, we know that Free Comic Book Day will be impacted to varying degrees throughout the world. The severity and timing of that impact can’t be predicted with any certainty, but the safety of our retailers and fans is too important to risk. With that in mind, we have made the difficult decision to postpone the event to a date later in the Summer.
To minimize the impact on our primary distribution operations and prioritize the distribution of weekly new comics and restocks, a number of FCBD titles will be included with each regular weekly shipment for the next several weeks. These titles will be invoiced at no charge, as we extend the billing out approximately 90 days, to the first week in August. The books may not be in separate boxes from the rest of the shipment, except when full cases are shipped. We will follow up with more information soon regarding FCBD non-comic merchandise soon. We will also update our consumer-facing pages with this information and provide further information via email and Diamond Daily as it becomes available.
As always, we appreciate your enthusiasm for and support of the comic industry’s best event and look forward to celebrating with you later in the Summer!
While this announcement was inevitable, it does make the timing of some publisher events problematic. Marvel and DC traditionally use their books to kick off a major storyline, and DC’s was to have been the start of the now-revamped 5G/Generation Five storyline.
Of course, that sort of amounts to a “hill of beans’ problem in todays world.
• The Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF) which was to be held in May, has been officially cancelled, not postponed. In a long statement on the TCAF website, organizers explained the decision:
We want to say to the entire comics community: We tried very hard to make this work, as we’re very aware of the financial and career necessity that TCAF has become for many working comic authors. At present, cancellation is the only ethical option.
All TCAF exhibitors will receive refunds for their tables, and they have been sent refund request information.
TCAF is committed to using our media and organizational resources to support all of our exhibitors, including those who had deferred or cancelled, however we can. We’re currently putting together a media plan to promote exhibitors online and through TCAF’s original May dates. We’ll have more information next week.
We are also inviting collaboration and feedback from the comics community, with ideas on how we can work to promote and elevate creators. Online comic con? Hashtag? Store orders? We’re brainstorming internally, and we’re willing to work to build a larger coalition too. We’re heartened by the efforts that have been made by other events and organizers on creators’ behalf, and we want to contribute to and build on that. More details will come on twitter @torontocomics, and on our website at www.torontocomics.com.
The whole staff of the Toronto Comic Arts Festival is sorry to have to cancel this year. It has been an unprecedented time for the comics community. We’ve been humbled by your letters of support, and it was clear to us that creators, publishers, and readers were rooting for TCAF to happen. That makes this harder in so many ways, but it also makes it a lot easier too, knowing you have our back.
In a FAQ appended to the statement it was explained that cancelling the show, rather than postponing it, was necessary because of the long planning for each event.
TCAF is a very complicated event, involving not just the front-facing festival, but a massive shipping and receiving infrastructure, international cooperation, the coordination and rental of multiple venues, and a small army of staff and volunteers. Ramping that up takes about 9 months, each year, and it’s not really something we can press pause on for the next 2-3 months and easily resume. Our best estimate is that from the time quarantining measures are halted, it would take us 5 months to relaunch the festival.
Those with long memories may remember that originally, TCAF was held every other year – so in some ways this is a return to tradition.
• Numerous comics retailers are closing their doors, and Newbury Comics, the chain of music/comics shops, will be closing all their stores until April 4. In a notice sent to customers they noted that they will continue paying their staff, however, which is quite a notable effort – and should be rewarded with added support when the stores open again, Hopefully very soon.