Comic Book Distribution Ready To Rebound

by Thomas Tuna

It won’t be much longer before horror comic book fans–and all lovers of the four-color fantasy world–will have their favorite titles to read and savor.

The Covid-19 pandemic may have curtailed comic book distribution across the country, but The Hollywood Reporter revealed this week that Diamond Comics Distributors plans to restart shipments for Marvel Comics, DC and other groups to retailers by the end of May.

Diamond reportedly sent a letter to retailers that said, in part, that the company wants to find “that delicate balance between managing health and safety concerns, meeting the demand for product and working with retailers.”

Diamond noted that it has “started the planning process and are having conversations with retailers so we are in a position to restart and scale operations over time.”

Diamond’s last shipment of new comics was back on March 25, with their shutdown following the temporary shuttering of a number of retail outlets.

In a related story, THR said DC Comics has decided to release new issues–including a couple of thriller/horror titles–after surveying more than 2,000 U.S. and Canadian outlets and determining that “many comic book store owners are finding new and creative ways to get books to the fans who want them.”

DC reportedly said it will start its own shipping starting April 28, with a limited number of titles, including The Dreaming No. 20, Daphne Byrne No. 4, the Batman 100-page Giant No. 4 and reprints of Batman No. 89 and Nightwing No. 70.

The Dreaming No. 20, by writer Simon Spurrier and artist Bilquis Evely, is the finale of this comic’s eerie, supernatural (and, sometimes, frightening) Sandman Universe epic. The Dreaming first appeared in the pages of Sandman, and was rebooted in 2018. Two of the locations in The Dreaming are the horror icons, The House of Mystery and The House of Secrets, the homes of longtime creepy hosts Cain and Abel.

Daphne Byrne No. 4–written by best-selling horror author Joe Hill and Laura Marks and illustrated by horror legend Kelley Jones and Dan McDaid–continues the adventures of 14-year-old Daphne in 19th-Century New York City, where she struggles to help her mother against a group of occultists. And while she fights them, she discovers an insidious presence inside her own body, Brother. Brrr!

On the other hand, Marvel reacted to Diamond’s curtailing of shipments by pausing a portion of its popular line. The mega-group declined to say which titles had been temporarily stopped. It’s likely that Marvel will continue to partner with Diamond when the distributor restarts its operation next month.

In any event, fans of horror and super-heroic fantasy can rejoice: Even Covid-19 could not stop comic book mania.

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