Inside MARVEL’s Reasoning for Measured Release Schedule, Their Plans Afterward

Spider-Man reading comics
Credit: Joe Quesada (Marvel Comics)

Credit: Ron Lim (Marvel Comics)

Seven days after Diamond confirmed plans to resume distribution operations for May 20, Marvel Comics has released amended plans for its releases for the next two months – given the relatively slim schedule (and the complete absence of some titles), people have questions.

We do. Retailers do. And we’re sure you do as well.

The publisher is now beginning to explain its strategy, in an extended letter to retailers sent out Friday afternoon.

“As Diamond continues its efforts to reopen distribution for the retail community, Marvel will be gradually releasing print comics and trade collections on an alternating weekly schedule starting May 27,” the letter reads.

“This balanced short-term schedule will allow everyone – industry partners, comic shops, Marvel, and our fans – to work through an incredible amount of change at every level while providing new product to purchase and giving retailers a clear plan to adjust their weekly [Final Order Cut-Off] orders.”

The revised schedule released earler today listed releases for the weeks of May 27 through July 8,  but as we’re always thinking about “what’s next?” – what will come July 15 and moving forward? Well…

“Starting July 15, Marvel will resume weekly releases for new comic titles and trade collections not previously FOC’d in the most thoughtful way we can, taking in all factors throughout the industry,” the letter continues. “Marvel will release more information on these titles at a later date.”

To try to be clear, ‘FOC’d’ for Diamond/comic book retailers means not having reached it’s ‘Final Order Cut-Off,’ which is the deadline about three weeks before a title is scheduled to be shipped in which retailers can increase or decrease their initial orders. 

In other words, starting July 15 Marvel will resume weekly releases for titles previously solicited and had not yet reached its FOC and then eventually begin soliciting titles that have never been solicited. 

While the schedule for the July 15 titles hasn’t been announced yet, Marvel tells retailers that orders will be due June 15 (so expect the list to come before then, of course).

As expected, the digital release of new Marvel Comics will resume day-and-date with “their respective print release dates” on all upcoming titles.

“We look forward to the industry ramping up operations and retailers returning to business over the next few months,” the letter ended.

Marvel Comics in its communications to retailers and press Friday has not in any way referred to or announced any position on new distributors UCS and Lunar.

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