Comic books are the latest industry to suffer setbacks during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Monday, Diamond Comics Distributors, the country’s largest comic distribution company, announced that it would no longer be shipping copies of comics or accepting new products at its warehouses until further notice.

The move means shops that remain open will not be getting new comics material for the time being.

“The pipeline is off,” said Bret Parks, who owns Ssalefish Comics, which has stores in Winston-Salem and Greensboro, along with a new location in Concord that opened this week.

But he said he understands the reasoning behind it. “I think it just levels the playing field since half of the comic book stores in America already shut down due to executive orders,” he said. “I also imagine the distribution warehouses and printers are closed.”

Parks’ stores and others, such as Acme Comics in Greensboro, have remained open with increased cleaning procedures and are offering customers options including curbside pickup and mail order.

Parks said he plans to stay open for now and also carries other merchandise, including toys, statues and LEGO products that he gets from other distributors, as well as back issues of comics. This week’s new comic titles, the last on the schedule for now, were released early.

“I’m obviously disappointed and worried,” he said.

However, he remains optimistic about the future. “I think that people’s love for comic books will set everything back to normal like a great reboot when things return.”

tclodfelter@wsjournal.com

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@tclodfelterWSJ

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