By Heather Spataro
The drastic amount of businesses that have had to shut down due to COVID-19 it brings about the question: how have comic stores been able to stay afloat?
When COVID hit, it caused many companies to change business practices, and when Diamond Comic Distributors (the biggest comic book distributor in the market) ceased production on March 30, 2020 it could have been the end for comic stores everywhere.
However, it seems that neither COVID nor the distributor shutting down stopped comic book stores from making profit. Internal Correspondence version 2 released graphic novel sales showing that there was actually an increase in comic book sales by 6% in 2020 compared to 2019.
With this in mind, how did comic book stores not only stay afloat during the pandemic but also increase their profit?
Like many businesses during the pandemic, comic book shops have swapped to online purchases and curbside pick up. However, comic book companies have gotten creative in their attempt to stay relevant.
Famous comic book companies such as Detective Comics (DC) and Marvel took to Twitter in order to promote COVID-19 preventatives, with both showcasing their characters taking precautionary measures towards COVID. Such as The Flash washing his hands for 20 seconds, and Batman getting takeout pizza with his Batmobile.
Marvel also showed what each of their heroes were doing at home while stay at home orders were in session. Like Spiderman making croissants and Wolverine doing a puzzle.
Marvel even made a comic series titled “The Vitals” that told real life stories about medical professionals during the pandemic, according to Screenrant.
Another major contribution towards keeping comic book stores open was the multitude of campaigns used. Two of the biggest ones utilized were The Comic Book United Fund and #Creators4Comics.
#Creators4Comics was able to raise over $400,000 dollars to help keep comics shops up and running during COVID. The Comic Book United Fund worked on providing relief efforts for comic stores as well, and also helped out the employees that were affected by the pandemic.
But that still doesn’t explain why the number of comic book sales shot up during COVID. Well, according to The Hollywood Reporter, this drastic increase in comic book purchases is largely due to fans hoping to complete their collections.
Since conventions like Comic Con and other large comic book entertainment events were cancelled due to COVID-19, many fans flocked to purchase missing comics from their sets. Whether it was an in-shop purchase or an online order, comic books were flying off the shelves.
There was also a surge of Marvel and DC fans wanting new stories with their favorite characters due to a shortage of other content. 2020 became the first year in over a decade to not have a Marvel Studios release, and many other movies were pushed back or put into limbo.
While movies became uncertain, fans surged to comic book stories because they carried through.
Covid-19 has shown people many things through its effects on society and now what individuals consider the new norm. However, even though many companies couldn’t counter the new challenges the pandemic brought, the comic book industry was able to thrive.