Marvel Orders Pencils Down

Marvel orders pencils down for one third of their artists.

“Marvel Entertainment is immediately “pausing” work on – and the release of – approximately one-third of its May and June comic book issues, a spokesperson confirmed for Newsarama. Marvel’s representative said 15 to 20% of its solicited titles would be affected, as some of them are twice-monthly in May and June.

The decision to pause work on the affected titles, according to the spokesperson, is “to help spread the amount of publishing product over the coming weeks and months.”

Asked when the publisher intends to resume publishing the issues not affected by the pause, the Marvel spokesperson said “as soon as more information is available, we will outline our longer-term plans.”

Well, we all knew this was coming. They released some facing saving missive about “readjustment” but the readjustment is that the traditional retail comics industry is dead.

IDW has told Larry Hama to put down his pencil on GI Joe. This is technically a pity because he is a good artist but given Hama’s sneering at the RaSHists on Twitter it’s pretty much impossible for me to care.

Other news. The alternate distribution system Comic’s Hub was supposed to be the savior of the day. I was in the middle of writing up a takedown on all the reasons that Comic’s Hub would fail… When Comic’s Hub failed.

It was a project borne of desperation and little planning. What works well for Arkhaven isn’t going to work for Marvel and DC because of economies of scale. Direct mail isn’t going to work when you have that much freight to move. You need warehouse space and plenty of it in order to stage them for distribution.

The optimists in the comic book industry finally got in touch with someone aquatinted with math and what he had to say killed the project.

The truth is that comic shops are dead without Diamond and Diamond is out of business. Not officially. Not yet. But it’s out of business. They WITHHELD payment to the publishers. Even if they do get their doors open again, the publishers won’t use Diamond if they can help it.

The publishers had initially said they weren’t going to leave the shops in a lurch by shipping digital before they shipped hard copy but they are about to change course on that. Due to face that their parent companies are sharpening up the ax and looking for things to cut that aren’t making money.

The only shops that are going to survive are the ones that aren’t selling new comics. Collector comic shops IE the vinyl-market is going to be the only market.

This is sad for me.

I liked comic book shops but it was a market that was very sick already for one big reason. And no, it wasn’t just SJWism at the Big Two, (although, god knows that didn’t help). If you want to create comics customers you need to suck in twelve-year-old boys. Back when comics were fighting with reruns of I Love Lucy for that demographic’s attention, comics were definitely in the running. Now, they are competing with YouTube, TikTok, Netflix, HULU, Fortnite and a thousand other games. Comics shifted to serving an established market of late Millenials, Gen Xers and Boomers. This is called, “cornering the market in buggy-whips.”

Sure you will have the market all to yourself but what you won’t have is customers.

8 thoughts on “Marvel Orders Pencils Down

  1. Disney has also announced that all of the Marvel movies have been moved down the release schedule – Black Widow will be out in November, when Eternals was supposed to come out, Eternals will be out early next year instead of Shang-Chi, et al. What impact do you figure this will have?


    1. Black Widow is an interesting one. There were a lot of rumors that Disney was going to debut it on Disney Plus. The fact that they are going with a theatrical in November indicates they’ve given up on D+ as an income generator during the crisis.


  2. There’s still a distributor for Marvel at al.a product, but if they haven’t figured it out I’m not saying anything.

    And even if they figure it out there are too many competitors in the girly-book line, and they won’t go the Guys Read route, where they could make serious bank.

    They could even be fairly DIE in the process if they could give up their storytelling model of screaming at normal boys for having fun wrong.


  3. I followed all of that but the “RaSHists” bit. I don’t recognize the acronym, and Google didn’t help.

    Other than that question, and feeling bad for the proprietors of good comic shops, schadenboners all around! Couldn’t happen to a shittier bunch of people.


      1. Ohh. I googled it, and the first result was an urban dictionary entry for “rational racism”. Your version is much better/more useful.


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