More comic conventions were postponed or cancelled this week, and that was just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to changes in pop culture due to the Coronavirus.
ANOTHER WEEK OF CORONAVIRUS CHANGE
Those of us who hoped the Coronavirus would just be a temporary blip in 2020 have really been disappointed. This is turning out to be something having a major impact on many of us, and that includes the comics industry.
The number of cons that have been rescheduled or cancelled has seriously increased (more than I could list here), and many creators are having to now deal with several con-sized holes in their budgets. Marvel reportedly told artists and others to work from home for now. Frankly, this whole thing has overshadowed the rest of the industry to the point where “real” news, like Steve Orlando writing for the House of Ideas, has failed to grab the attention it deserves.
It’s gotten so bad that it’s even reaching into local comics shops. Many fans are worried that their regular stores will not be opening this Wednesday. Why? Several urban centers have been considering closing small businesses for at least 2-3 weeks. As far as comics go, that’s a disaster! Very few shops can afford to be closed for even a week, much less that long.
ALSO AN OPPORTUNITY?
Of course, every situation like this can present an opportunity for some. If local comics shops are closed, will that be a golden opportunity for sites like ComiXology and Drive Thru Comics to prosper?
For years, people have wondered if digital comics were going to be the wave of the future. If those sites can continue to get new content while stores aren’t open, that could cause a seismic shift in the industry.
Perhaps some folks who “go digital” may never return to their LCS, particularly if this continues for an extended period of time—enough to break that weekly “comics shop habit” so many of us enjoy.
If paper comics become even rarer than they are today, that might raise the prices on back issues tremendously. I know some dealers who already sell older, “vintage” comics for sky high prices. Even those might be low if paper copies turn into increasingly scarce commodities.
SOONER RATHER THAN LATER
Honestly, the longer this Coronavirus situation goes on, the worse it will be for the comics industry, in my opinion. Again, comics are a habitual medium, so if people turn to other interests or avenues of entertainment or storytelling—even what some might consider a small number of them—that could seriously alter or potentially destroy comics as we have known them.
Unless they absolutely have to cancel or reschedule Free Comic Book Day, don’t do it!
If we thought comics were in trouble before, just wait!
easy, when a possibly dire circumstance like this Coronavirus one hits, to focus on the negative. While I’ve worried about what could happen, I still prefer to accentuate the positive.
The best we can do, I believe, is to keep working towards either returning to what we considered “normal” or finding ways to improve what we encounter.
If you can, be sure to support your local comics shop. If you have a subscription, regularly buy what has come in for you. Don’t let your stuff pile up there. If enough fans who have ordered books there do that, it could hurt that store tremendously! Really!
If I get forced to spend more time at home, I could actually catch up on my reading! I have a stack of comics and trades I’ve been dying to get to for months! This could be a good thing as far as that goes!
Also, Emerald City Comic Con, which was to be held this weekend, has rescheduled for late August. This past weekend has seen many creators selling their wares online or at local shows and shops, so that’s good for local and online comics, I think! We’ll see how future conventions deal with the Coronavirus.
Hey, maybe we’ll find ways to improve our industry, make it better than it has been! I think we might all agree that would be the best possible outcome of this whole Coronavirus situation, at least as far as comics go.
No matter what happens, though, please stay safe out there! We need every comics fan we have, okay?