According to DC, the reason entire lines of their books have been, and will continue to be, released weeks to months later than scheduled is an apparent combination of both printer issues and supply/paper shortages brought on by both port closures and freight delays.
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“DC faces an unprecedented strain on the global supply chain, affecting all of us in the comics industry and beyond,” DC reps said in a statement on the matter provided to Bleeding Cool. “Up to this point, we’ve been able to keep delays and shortages to a minimum, but with recent notifications about covid-related port closures, international and domestic freight delays, workforce shortages, and a severely allocated paper supply, we are unable to continue to manage this situation without disruption…”
They added, “Please know that we are doing everything we can to keep a steady supply of product coming through the system until the supply chain strain begins to ease, but based on current industry feedback, this situation is likely to continue for several more months.”
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Among the titles that will be delayed throughout the comings months are Suicide Squad: Get Joker! #3 which was due out this month and now won’t hit shelves until late January, and Milestone’s reloaded Hardware series, Season One, whose second issue was pushed back from its original August release date to October 12th
(Given that issues #3-5 are each being pushed back a month, this means the fifth issue of Hardware: Season One won’t see a release until January of 2022.)
Static: Season One is experiencing a similar slowdown, with each issue between #4 and #6 all getting pushed back a month or more.
Issue #4 was due on September 28th and is now slotted for November 2nd, with issue #5 following at the end of November.
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As Bleeding Cool reports, “Lots of titles such as Suicide Squad #8, Superman: Son of Kal-El #4, Green Lantern #7, Batman/Catwoman #8, Black Manta #2 have all slipped one or two weeks, while Batman: The Long Halloween Special #1 and Aquaman: The Becoming #2 slipped a week to the 26th of October.”
Remember, Son of Kal-El, Aquaman: The Becoming, and Batman: The Long Halloween Special – a sequel to the original graphic novel – were supposed to be DC’s biggest releases this year.
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While most ongoing books were hit with a slight delay, DC’s prestige-format titles, the omnibuses, and Poster Portfolios were hit the worst due to their “high-end” quality.
“DC Poster Portfolio: Dark Nights: Metal has slipped from the 14th of December to the 8th of March and the DC Poster Portfolio: Jim Lee Vol. 2 from the 21st of December to the 29th of March,” says BC.
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COVID lockdowns brutalized the industry and the direct market last year, exacerb situation was exacerbated by DC and other publishers dropping Diamond as a distributor – a move that proved polarizing even though they aren’t exactly liked by retailers or insiders.
The latest disruption in the supply chain caused by ships being left to sit in the Pacific Ocean doesn’t help, but DC may only be taking advantage of a reliable scapegoat.
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An onus of late and canceled titles goes back years, and the blame usually rested on creators not turning in their work on time.
It’s a problem at Marvel too. Some of their shipments have gone missing lately, and when the books do show up at retailers, odds are they’ll bear some sort of clear physical damage.
Maybe it’s the pandemic, maybe it’s the supply chain, or maybe it’s carelessness you can’t blame on a beer bug.
Do you agree? Opine with your thoughts down below.