The long drought is broken. Diamond Comic Distributors, which delivers most comics to retailers in North America, announced April 28 on Twitter that it would resume full services on May 20.
Diamond had previously announced in late March that it was halting all deliveries, which left comic shops with no new product, and no way for publishers to distribute.
Well, not really.
Because the comics industry didn’t just grind to a halt back in March. A lot of comics and comics-related activities continued, despite Diamond.
Also, not all comics go through Diamond. Some retailers, like mighty Amazon, have alternative distribution methods. Which means that a lot of new comics — mainly collections and original graphic novels — continue to be available on schedule.
Here, I will mention the explosion of middle-school (MS) and young adult (YA) graphic novels, as exemplified by big players DC Comics and Random House, since there are a lot of kids home from school with nothing to do.
DC has released a plethora of youth-oriented graphic novels recently, including “Zatanna and the House of Secrets” (Feb. 18, featuring a middle-school Zatanna Zatara and her dad), “The Oracle Code” (March 10, starring Barbara Gordon fresh to her wheelchair), Gotham High (April 7, with teenage Bruce Wayne, Selina Kyle and Jack Napier), “Anti/Hero” (April 14, a completely original story about two completely opposite, superpowered, middle-school girls) and “My Video Game Ate My Homework” (April 28, another original story about middle-school kids trapped in a video game). I’ve only read the first two; I enjoyed “Zatanna” well enough, while “Oracle Code” blew me away.
They have four more coming in May and June. The list includes “The Lost Carnival: A Dick Grayson Graphic Novel” (May 5), “Superman Smashes the Klan” (May 12), “Wonder Woman: Tempest Tossed” (June 2) and “You Brought Me the Ocean” (June 9, a “coming out romance” starring Aqualad).
Of the four, the Superman book excites me the most. Based on “Clan of the Fiery Cross” from the “Adventures of Superman” radio show, it is exactly what it sounds like. (Yes, I have the radio shows on cassette. Don’t judge.) The art is more cartoony than I’d prefer, but then again, it’s aimed at a younger audience than me. I’ve read the first chapter, and I’m ready for more. (There’s a trailer on YouTube if you’re interested.)
Random House has also gotten into the MS/YA graphic novel game in a big way. The publisher doesn’t have a comic book company lying around with creations going back to the ’30s to adapt, so all of their GNs are original intellectual property.
I’ve already read “The Runaway Princess” (March 3), and given it a positive review, especially for parents wanting to co-experience the book with an elementary-age child. I have “Aster and the Accidental Magic”(March 3, MS) on deck, which will be followed by “Witchlight” (April 14), “Stepping Stones” (May 5, MS), “Suncatcher” (May 19, YA) and “Kerry and the Knight Forest” (July 7, MS).
Of the group, “Suncatcher” is highest on my list, as it involves rock ‘n’ roll. It features teenage Beatriz, a teen who starts a band, and discovers her grandfather’s soul is trapped in an old guitar. That’s a twist on the age-old trope of a soul being trapped in a sword (See: DC’s Katana).
That’s just two publishers, and just their MS/YA offerings. So you can see that there’s plenty of print material in the pipeline for all ages, if you know where to look. (And I just told you.)