For the fifth week in a row, the presses of Marvel Comics, in both physical and digital, will remain silent.
As reported by Newsarama, Marvel has confirmed that next week Marvel will not be releasing any new comics on any platform or via any distribution method. On the one hand, this isn’t super surprising. The advent of the novel coronavirus ground the direct comic book market to an absolute halt, with physical shopping at local comic book stores now a safety hazard. Diamond Comics, the primary distribution channel for the direct market, has been shut down for the entirety of Marvel’s hiatus, and isn’t looking to open up again until May, which is, frankly, a rather optimistic plan considering the path the pandemic seems to be taking.
But it’s also somewhat surprising that Marvel has yet to leverage any new approach to releasing comics in the face of its primary competitor, DC, doing just that. Recently, DC has announced it will be using two new direct distribution companies, Lunar and UCS, to send out new books to the local stores still open. DC has also been relying on digital comics during this time to keep something new hitting the market.
It’s a legitimate bind that Marvel is in; a lot of consumers still aren’t on board with digital comics, and with, until recently, only one distributor in charge of the entire LCS marketplace, it likely doesn’t seem all that advantageous to seek alternate distribution methods that might affect the company’s relationship with Diamond. But as publishers like Marvel continue to halt publication even through digital channels, it’s creators, who often work as freelancers and get paid only when work is being actively commissioned, who suffer the most.