Crisis in Infinite Comics Shops: How the Corona Shutdown is Impacting Retailers Across the Country

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No Comic Book Day

Across the country, small businesses, deemed non-essential, have been shut down. And while some states have not issued such orders due to their lack of cases of the coronavirus COVID-19, may are still feeling the pinch.

In particular, the comic book industry has fallen prey to the insidious domino-effect of reliance on a single lynchpin of the entire distribution system: The distributor, just this side of legal when it comes to being a monopoly, announced it would shut down during the outbreak, leaving comic shops that could remain open in certain states without a flow of new product. More disconcertingly, the distributor later announced that it could no longer pay publishers, citing cash flow problems -- meaning the distributor did not have enough cash on hand to make it through two-weeks of a shutdown -- begging the question how things will shake out when their customers, the comics stores, end up having the same problem.

To find out how retailers are handling the events -- whether dealing with state-mandated shutdowns or just struggling through without a flow of new product -- we invited three retailers to participate in a discussion: Overstreet contributor and WILD STARS creator Michael Tierney, who runs two shops in Little Rock, Arkansas; Dave Dyer, owner of Dyer Straits Productions and Cosmic Comics of Belleville, Illinois; and Uel Carter, co-proprietor of Fantastic Comics in Berkeley, California.

You can see the results of that discussion in the video below.