Comics Lockdown: Publishers react to COVID-19

With news from Marvel, Dark Horse, Humanoids, Vault Comics and more.

Marvel offers some suggestions on how to support local comic shops, along with a list of stores that are still open and what services they provide.

Christina Merkler of Discount Comic Book Service discusses the effect of the Diamond shutdown on the Collected Comics Podcast.

UK comics blogger John Freeman rounds up resources and links, including free comics sites, information on UK stores that sell by mail order, and stuff to keep homebound kids amused, at Down the Tubes.

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Comics Lockdown: The latest on comics and COVID

Featuring news from Valiant, Archie Comics, MICE and more.

As the news that Diamond Comics Distributors is putting shipments on hold as of April 1 reverberated throughout the comics industry, reactions came from many quarters. Here’s a roundup of as many as I could find, with more (I’m sure) tomorrow:

Let’s start with some perspective: At Comichron, John Jackson Miller looks at the history of the comics retail market and offers some hope for the future.

At ICv2, editor, comics market analyst, and former distributor Milton Griepp gives his perspective.

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Comics Lowdown: Standing behind retailers during the coronavirus

Plus: TCAF canceled, BookExpo postponed and more coronavirus news.

As the threat of the coronavirus continues to spread, and federal, state and local governments take action to try and stop it, “shelter in place” and social distancing orders inevitably harm small businesses, like comics retailers. Many retailers around the country have either closed up for a time or have moved to a mail order/”curbside pickup” system. In his weekly newsletter today, writer Cullen Bunn shared some tips for supprtoing your favorite shop during this time:

…SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL COMIC BOOK SHOP as much as you’re able. 

Running a comic book store can be difficult, even in the best of times. Right now, shops are taking a hit. The absolute last thing I want to see—as a reader, a fan, and a creator—is for comic book stores to disappear. It is vital that we all work together to support comic book stores as much as possible and help them get through the coming weeks. When comic book stores suffer, so does the comic book industry. A lot of stores are offering new services during this time of isolation and social-distancing. Some things you can do to help…

  • Inquiring about curbside pickup.
  • Inquiring about mail order or delivery options. 
  • Purchasing any books that are in your pull box.
  • Purchasing gift cards/gift certificates for upcoming birthdays, events, and holidays. 
  • Following your local comic shop on social media for updates on: curtailed hours of operation, events, special accommodations, and cleaning policy. 
  • Tagging your local comic shop on social media & posting photos of the comics you’ve purchased to read during self-quarantine and social distancing.

You can find a comic shop offering “safe services” during the pandemic by using this map from BOOM! Studios.

Image Comics, who issued a letter asking other publishers to help comics retailers during this crisis, also had Alex Cox, Skottie Young and Nate Piekos create a short comic on how fans can support their local shop:

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Comics Lowdown: MoCCA postponed due to coronavirus

Plus: News about WonderCon, Jim Lee, Webtoon, Dark Horse and more!

Events: New York’s MoCCA Arts Festival, originally scheduled for April 4-5, is the latest event to be postponed due to the novel coronavirus, which has now been declared a pandemic.

“While New York is not officially calling for events of large gatherings to be canceled, many have been and we do not know what the next few weeks will entail. We recognize the amount of work and finances our exhibitors put into their tables and are trying to minimize the burden on them,” The Society of Illustrators, who puts on MoCCA every year, said in a statement.

They added, “In the meantime, we have made the decision to move forward and continue to judge the Awards of Excellence. In addition to the cash prize and Wacom tablets for Gold and Silver medalists, the Society will feature the award winners in an exhibition at the onsite Gallery we build at MoCCA Fest.”

A new date for the two-day festival has not been announced. It joins the Emerald City Comic Con, South by Southwest, E3, the London Book Fair and countless other events that have been impacted by COVID-19.

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Comics Lowdown: Chinese government upset by Danish coronavirus cartoon

Plus: Changes at Kodansha, Cullen Bunn goes ‘Rogue’ and whatever happened to Lion Man?

Editorial Cartoons: A cartoon in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, depicting the Chinese flag with the stars replaced by coronaviruses, has, predictably, angered the Chinese government. (Jyllands-Posten is the same paper whose cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad caused an uproar in 2005.) The Chinese Embassy in Copenhagen has demanded an apology, but Jyllands-Posten editor Jacob Nybroe has refused, and the Danish prime minister is backing him up.

The Biz: Restructuring at Kodansha USA means a promotion for Alvin Lu, previously the general manager of Kodansha Advance Media. Publishers Weekly reports that Kodansha’s subsidiaries, including its digital arm Kodansha Advanced Media and the manga and novel publisher Vertical Inc., will be folded into Kodansha USA. Lu will be the CEO, and Ivan Salazar, former public relations and events specialist at ComiXology, has been hired as senior marketing director.

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Comics Lowdown: Con wars, comics in Spanish, new kids’ imprint

Plus: Asterix, Jason Lutes, Derf Backderf, James Romberger and more!

Creator Talk: At The Beat, Matt O’Keefe interviews Chris Eliopoulos about his graphic novels (Cow Boy, Cosmic Commandos), his picture books (Ordinary People Change the World), the difference between comics and book publishing, and how he began his career as a comics letterer—his lettering firm, Virtual Calligraphy, still does a lot of lettering for Marvel.

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Comics Lowdown: Outhungering ‘Hunger Games’

Brian Fies reflects on going through the California fires a second time, Jamal Igle shows how he draws a cover, J. Caleb Mozzocco explains War Bears.

Passings: Coila Davis, longtime editorial cartoonist for the Rockford (Illinois) Register Star, has died at the age of 72.

Freedom of Expression: The nonfiction comics blog Cartoon Movement notes that they are currently blocked in China, Iran, Russia, and Turkey.

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Comics Lowdown: Rio mayor arrives too late to seize ‘Avengers’ comic

Plus: Lynda Barry, ‘Cathy,’ Brian Hibbs and more.

Censorship: The Mayor of Rio de Janeiro, Marcello Crivella, sent a team of law enforcement agents to the International Book Fair in his city to confiscate any and all copies of Avengers: The Children’s Crusade, on the grounds that it shows a same-sex kiss. The mayor was concerned that it was “sexual content for minors” and would lead the children of Rio de Janeiro astray, but the joke was on him: The comic had sold out by the time his officers got there. The festival organizers took him to court and won an injunction against any further seizures or attempts to pull the festival’s permit, but the ruling was partly overturned the next day. “We will always continue to defend the family,” said the mayor, an Evangelical preacher, who apparently found a drawing of a kiss to be a more pressing matter than the fact that 40% of Brazilian children live in poverty.

Late-breaking addendum: Despite Crivello’s admonition that “Books like this need to be wrapped in black sealed plastic with a content warning displayed on the outside,” the daily newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo put the image on its front page.

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Comics Lowdown: Spiegelman withdraws essay after Marvel wanted to remove Trump reference

Plus: Hector Gonzalez Rodriguez III on the El Paso shooting, thieves caught selling comics to their actual owner; and more!

Marvel asked legendary comic creator Art Spiegelman to remove a line from his introduction for a new Golden Age comic collection for being too political. The essay refers to current president of the Unites States Donald Trump as an “Orange Skull.”

“In today’s all too real world, Captain America’s most nefarious villain, the Red Skull, is alive on screen and an Orange Skull haunts America”

The graphic novelist decided to withdraw his entire essay meant for a Folio Society deluxe collection and published it online at the Guardian, fully intact, and added a few paragraphs at the end about his experience with Marvel, being edited, and about how CEO of Marvel Entertainment Ike Perlmutter donated $360,000, the maximum amount allowed, to the “Trump Victory Joint Fundraising Committee.”

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