At the end of a week with no new Marvel Comics releases at all, sources have confirmed to Polygon that Marvel Comics plans to put a chunk of its publishing line on hold in the months of May and June, due to disruptions in the company’s distribution chain caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
With comic shops around the country shuttered due to shelter-in-place restrictions, Diamond Comic Distributors, the exclusive distributor for the majority of comic book publishers in the US, announced on March 23 that it would cease shipping until further notice. Since then both shops and publishers have scrambled to adjust, with many retailers stridently pushing back against the continuation of digital releases.
Many smaller publishers have stopped production entirely, while DC Comics has said it will pursue alternative distribution models. Marvel’s last statement on the matter was before Diamond’s announcement, on March 20, when it offered deep discounts to retailers who are able to remain open and receive product.
Polygon’s sources have confirmed that Marvel is currently planning to pause about one third of the issues it planned to release in May and June. Given that some of the company’s titles release more than once a month, this amounts to putting a pause on 15 to 20 percent of its total books. This would seem to indicate that either some of those twice-monthly books are included in the pause, or will may simply move to once-monthly. Marvel published around 100 single issues in March.
Sources could not confirm which books will be paused, but have assured Polygon that Marvel will officially outline its long-term plans in the coming weeks, once more information is available — and also that all of Marvel’s talent working on paused titles will be paid for their work to date.