DC has announced to fans and retailers that it will release the first new comics in over a month on Tuesday, April 28.  According to a post to DC’s retailer forum on Facebook, the company’s survey of over 2000 stores across the U.S. and Canada showed “…that many comic book store owners are finding new and creative ways to get books to the fans who want them.” DC’s releases in late April and May will get to retailers through two new distributors with no digital footprints: Lunar Distribution and UCS Comic Distributors. 

DC has published a release schedule for three weeks of titles, a fraction of the number of titles it would normally release in that period.   “The new schedule is designed to allow each of you to begin ordering a limited amount of DC product at first, and then ease back into the number of books that represents a normal release schedule from DC when your business can accommodate it,” the publisher posted on the DC retailer forum. The titles are:

Tuesday, April 28:
Batman #89 (3rd Printing)
Daphne Byrne #4
The Dreaming #20
Nightwing #70 (2nd Printing)
Batman GIANT #4

Tuesday, May 5:
Batman and the Outsiders #12
DC Super Stars #17 (Facsimile Edition)
The Flash #753
The Green Lantern Season Two #3
Hawkman #23
House of Whispers #20
Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity #4

Tuesday, May 12:
Harley Quinn #72
Justice League #44
Justice League Odyssey #20
Lois Lane #10
Metal Men #6

DC orders through Diamond Comic Distributors for releases planned for release April 1, 18, and 15 have been canceled.  Retailers have been giving until April 21 to order comics from the two new distributors for release April 28. Orders placed after that date are not guaranteed to receive their shipments in time for the release date.    

DC also confirmed what ICv2 reported Monday, that it has been continuing to ship graphic novels to the book channel in April (see “In Chaos, Graphic Novel Business Goes On”). It identified a number of titles that have been previously released and said that retailers should “check with distributors on availability” (the dates listed are book channel release dates):

Tuesday April 21:
Superman: Up in the Sky
Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III
Superman: The Golden Age Vol. 5
Ex Machina Compendium One
Absolute Daytripper
Hellblazer by Garth Ennis Omnibus

Tuesday April 14th
DC Poster Portfolio: The Complete Year of the Villain Portrait Variants
Famous First Edition: New Fun #1
Teen Titans Go! vs. Teen Titans Go! Box Set
Batman Vol. 12: City of Bane Part 1
Green Lantern by Geoff Johns Book Three
New Gods by Gerry Conway

Tuesday April 7th
Batman: Last Knight on Earth HC
Freedom Fighters: Rise of a Nation
Gotham High
Justice League of America: A Celebration of 60 Years
Swamp Thing by Nancy A. Collins Omnibus
Transmetropolitan Book Three
Wonder Woman Vol. 2: Love is a Battlefield

DC has divided up the U.S. and Canada into territories divided between the two new companies.  UCS Comic Distributors has 23 states, skewing east, the District of Columbia, and four provinces Canada. Lunar Distribution has 27 states, skewing west, and five Canadian provinces.  Retailers in other countries are instructed to contact one of the two new distributors or Diamond Comic Distributors.

Retailers who are not available to receive new comics initially will be able to reorder comics from these distributors after the order deadlines.  All titles in this period are returnable, as DC announced last month. Discounts will be the same as they were when ordered from Diamond; credit checks for retailers that had credit from Diamond will be done “expeditiously” by DC, according to the post.

Retailers can also continue to order DC product from Diamond, the post said. “Call your Diamond Comics rep to confirm product availability.”

Diamond released a statement in response to the DC announcement (see "Diamond Plans to Resume Shipping ‘Mid- to Late May’").

This move by DC was foreshadowed in an announcement last month, when the company said it was “…exploring a multi-distributor model to provide us with the flexibility needed during this crisis to get new content to our readers on an ongoing basis” (see “DC Exploring Multi-Distributor Model for Comic Stores”).  And it all began when Diamond Comic Distributors stopped shipping new product beginning with April 1 release dates (see “Diamond Halting Distribution of New Product”).

The Tuesday release dates are notable.  DC told retailers, “We have synced up release dates across all our retail channels.”  Book channel release dates are Tuesdays, so it appears that this is focused more on eventual coordination with the growing part of DC’s business, graphic novels, than it is on periodical comics. 

DC will now resume distribution of digital comics day-and-date with the release dates above. DC Direct Collectibles will resume shipping at a future date.