Panini Comics UK’s Marvel Collector Editions on indefinite hold as lockdown continues

Panini Comics UK Marvel Collector Editions 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic and continued lockdown restrictions across Britain continue to impact publishers large and small, including Panini Comics UK, who have informed fans of their newsstand Marvel Collector Editions they will not resume publishing until the high street returns to normal.

Collectors’ Editions titles such as Deadpool Unleashed, Marvel Legends and Essential X-Men went on hiatus in March and April 2020, although the company continues to publish its graphic novel range, which is still available to buy through a number of online outlets.

As we previously reported,

Much to the dismay of regular readers and subscribers, these were victim to the closure of most WHSmith in the first national lockdown in response to COVID-19, the source of the bulk of their sales.

The publisher’s new DC Comics tie-in title Batman, was also launched in March, but only the first issue was published.

“We won’t be printing any Collectors’ Editions until the high street is back to normal trade,” an editorial spokesperson commented in response to a Marvel fan on its Facebook page.

“Our graphic novels go through different sales channels, which are still viable during lockdown (Amazon etc), so this is the only format we can keep going through these challenging times (we don’t have digital publishing rights).

Panini Comics UK EMPYRE (Marvel GN)
Panini Comics UK continues to publish its Marvel graphic novels, with more sales outlets for the range still available, including this new EMPYRE collection

“We are desperate to get our CEs back on sale, but have no info to release until the future of the pandemic and subsequent lockdown, is clearer – although we have been busy planning the way forward behind the scenes.

“Please bear with us (the editorial team), as it’s been difficult even to just publish these graphic novels when the Panini offices are closed. We hope you stay safe and look forward to better times.”

Spider-Man Magazine - Doctor Who Magazine - Strike-It - January 2021

Doctor Who Magazine, Spider-Man Magazine and Panini’s football magazine Strike-It continued to be published through 2020, despite the logistics of the company’s editorial staff largely working remotely. New issues of all three titles, also available in many supermarkets, which have remained open throughout the crisis, have all been published recently.

“The newstrade is so volatile at present,” noted comic creator and longtime British comics industry observer Lew Stringer, “with magazines folding or going on hiatus (Starburst is in limbo until April). It’s too risky to re-launch the comics that are so dependent on WH Smiths.”

Despite the continued lockdown, there has been some good news for Panini, although not comic related. Licensing.biz reports the company has been “taken aback” by the demand for the new Premier League Official Sticker Collection 2021, that – despite the current lockdown restrictions – has seen sales outperform the success of the 2020 collection.

Premier League Official Sticker Collection 2021

The range has been such a hit at retail that customers in some parts of the country have reported difficulty in getting their hands on the sticker packets, with hot spots for the new collection to be Leeds and Birmingham in particular.

Panini suggests that sales in these areas have been driven by Leeds United and Aston Villa fans who have embraced the collection as the “perfect antidote to lockdown” and not being able to see their teams play in person.

Check out the Panini Comics UK for all their graphic novels, including, if you’re a fan of the new Disney+ series Wandavision, the House of M Ultimate Edition (£15.99 ISBN 9781846535826) and (Vision and the Scarlet Witch £13.99 ISBN 9781846532887)

Spider-Man Magazine #387 is out now, available from supermarkets and from Panini direct

Doctor Who Magazine #560 is out now, available from supermarkets and from Panini direct

Strike It #122 is out now, available from supermarkets and from Panini direct

With thanks to Lew Stringer

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The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.



Categories: British Comics, British Comics - Collections, downthetubes Comics News, downthetubes News, Superhero Comics

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4 replies

  1. Sadly, I think the momentum of the CEs has gone. People like regularity. I suspect most have moved on to other titles (e.g. 2000 AD) or just opted for Marvel Unlimited or US imports.

    It’s a shame Panini don’t have the rights to publish the CEs digitally. I think people would have appreciated the escapism of the CEs during this global health emergency. I had no choice but to cancel direct debits for the CEs, including the new Batman title, as you can’t have money going out when there’s no product to show for it. One cannot afford to support that.

    Will loyal CE readers even care when the CEs return? Will they gain new readers?

    I don’t know why Panini put all their eggs in one basket with WHSmith. Perhaps, long before the pandemic, they should have been considering negotiating with at least two supermarket chains to get the CEs in there, which may have allowed them to continue during the pandemic.

    That’s just my view, as a reader I realise there are behind-the-scenes things that I may not have thought of. That said, 2000 AD has continued despite being very reliant on WHSmith and newsagents.

    • It’s an unfortunate situation, especially in Panini’s 60th year – now celebrated by the special logo (as they did for the 50th) that appeared on the latest DWM. I look forward with interest to see how they reboot the range coming out of this situation.

    • Releasing the CEs digitally would be pointless as the comics are all ready available in there original format. 2000 AD has continued due to high subscribers and isn’t that reliant of newsagents as the CE’s were.

  2. Agree, even if they had the rights, digital CE’s are a non starter. One of the main attractions of the range in the past has been three US issues in print for considerably less than importing the same issues originally.

    Now with there being only two issues per CE, I’m not sure who would pay £4.50 for a digital copy, when that’s about the same price as an introductory month on Marvel Unlimited.

    As well as it being Panini’s 60th, we’ve also just passed the 25th anniversary of the CE range – a shame for both Astonishing Spider-man and Essential X-men to be on hiatus at this time particularly.

    I know the team at Panini will be really up against it for so many reasons when the range does return. It’s given me such a lot of pleasure over the years, and they have always been crafted with passion, that I wish them all the best when the time comes

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