21 Apr 2022 16:44

Marvel to stop selling, prolonging licenses for its comics in Russia

MOSCOW. April 21 (Interfax) - The U.S. company Marvel is suspending cooperation with Russian publishing houses indefinitely starting this coming summer, Ivan Chernyavsky, the owner of the comic book store Chuk i Gik, said.

"Marvel sent its Russian partners a letter yesterday notifying that it is suspending cooperation indefinitely starting this coming summer. Several Russian publishers of Marvel have told me this, I have not seen the text of the letter; different publishers interpret the content of the letter differently, and there is also a probability that there are different editions of it for different partners," Chernyavsky said on his Telegram channel.

"One thing everyone agrees on is that Marvel will stop selling and prolonging licenses to publish its comic books in Russian in mid-summer 2022. Everything that has now been purchased needs to be released in the coming two or three months, after which there will be no new releases or additional copies on Marvel's demand," he said.

The recall of earlier published comics from shelves after the expiration of this deadline is not under consideration, but shipments of existing copies to shops may stop, and their remnants may be disposed of, Chernyavsky said. This is common practice now, he said. "If a contract with a publishing house for a specific book ends, the unsold copies need to be disposed of and evidence needs to be presented to the right holders. Whether Marvel requires doing so in the fall of 2022 with all current publishing inventories remains to be seen," he said.

From a retail perspective, this is a heavy blow to the market, but it is not fatal, as Japanese publishing houses still remain on the Russian market, he said.

"The only surprising thing about this event is that it's happening at the end of April. We have been waiting for this news for so long that we have stopped waiting for it, and now it comes," he said.

Yevgeny Kapyev, general director of the Eksmo publishing house (which owns the Komilfo publishing house, which publishes Marvel comic books), has confirmed that he has received the letter.

"Indeed, we have received such a letter. However, there is no legal possibility to sever the contracts, and we are in the process of negotiations. It is premature to say that Marvel comics will disappear from the shelves of Russian bookstores," Kapyev told Interfax.

The Harry Potter book series by British writer Joanne Rowling became inaccessible to users in the Russian catalogues LitRes and MyBook at the right holder's demand on April 9. According to earlier reports, some foreign authors, including "King of Horror" Stephen King, are refusing to prolong the agreements for the publication of their books in Russia over Russia's actions on the territory of Ukraine.