Marvel and DC grind to a halt due to coronavirus lockdown

The two major comic book publishers stopped or limited their new releases this week.

Sean Keane Former Senior Writer
Sean knows far too much about Marvel, DC and Star Wars, and poured this knowledge into recaps and explainers on CNET. He also worked on breaking news, with a passion for tech, video game and culture.
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Sean Keane
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Scene from Spider-man: Far from Home

The comic book adventures of Spider-Man and other heroes have been put on hold.

Sony Pictures

Both Marvel and DC have delayed their April 1 comic releases due to the coronavirus outbreak. Following distributor Diamond's decision to stop shipping print comics to retailers last week, the two publishers opted to stop or cut back on their digital releases as well, as previously reported by CNET sister site Comicbook.com.

"As you know, unfortunately there will not be any new print titles available at your shops this week. Marvel will also not be releasing any new comic book titles digitally on April 1," Marvel President Dan Buckley said in a statement to retailers that was shared with CNET.

DC delayed all but three of its April 1 releases until April 29. It didn't immediately respond to a request for further comment.

The lockdown-enforced closure of comic book stores and Diamond's decision to halt shipments put the print side of the industry on pause, and have left Marvel and DC in a tricky position. They could have continued to publish their weekly comics via digital outlets like the Amazon-owned Comixology, but that could've dealt retailers a fatal blow by forcing many readers who prefer physical comics to go digital and cut off one of the publishers' main avenues for sales.

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On the movie side, Marvel's Black Widow was pushed back from its original May 1 release, and DC's Wonder Woman 1984 will come out Aug. 14 instead of June 5 due to the global pandemic.

The new strain of coronavirus , which develops into the illness known as COVID-19, was discovered in Wuhan, China, in late 2019 and has spread worldwide. As of Tuesday morning, it had infected more than 800,000 people and caused over 39,000 deaths globally. 

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