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Image Comics celebrates retailers with exclusive variant covers

The Oregon-based publisher is releasing four special covers for issues to be sold on ComicsPRO’s Local Comic Shop Day 2020, which will be held on Nov. 25 the day before Thanksgiving.

Exclusive cover of "Ice Cream Man" No. 20 for LCSD 2020. Courtesy of Image Comics

Image Comics is putting its weight behind Local Comic Shop Day 2020, which will be held on Nov. 25 and is sponsored by ComicsPRO. Four Image titles with exclusive covers will be among the event’s offerings, with “Ice Cream Man” No. 20, “Spawn” No. 312, “Monstress: Talk Stories” No. 1 and “Invincible” No. 1 being made available.

The “Ice Cream Man” exclusive is bound to be popular, as the stand-alone 20th issue of the existential horror series comes with a Dr. Seuss’ “Green Eggs and Ham” homage cover. The series is produced by writer W. Maxwell Prince and artist Martín Morazzo. Sellouts at the distributor level are frequent occurrences for “Ice Cream Man” comics.

“Spawn” No. 312 is unique in that its wraparound cover name drops registered comic book shops that are participating in Local Comic Shop Day 2020, instead of the issue’s standard cover, which honors Image co-founder and Spawn creator Todd McFarlane’s past collaborators on the book — going back to its launch in 1992. Like copies of “Ice Cream Man,” McFarlane’s superhero book has had frequent sellouts in recent months, with issue Nos. 308-310 getting new printings.

Exclusive cover of "Spawn" No. 312. Courtesy of Image Comics

“Robert Kirkman, Erik Larsen, Todd McFarlane, Marc Silvestri, Jim Valentino, and all of the amazing creators we work for and with are proud to be part of a marketplace that is both fiercely independent and resoundingly resilient, and this year, with stores everywhere still recovering from the effect a worldwide pandemic has had on their businesses, it's more important than ever to give our retailer partners a lift in whatever way possible,” said Image publisher and chief creative officer Eric Stephenson in a statement. “None of us would be able to do what we do without the support of comics shops, and by continuing to participate in annual events like Local Comic Shop Day, especially with Todd's retailer appreciation variant for ‘Spawn’ No. 312, we hope it's clear that Image Comics supports them as well.”

“Monstress: Talk Stories” No. 1, from scribe Marjorie Liu and artist Sana Takeda, and “Invincible” No. 1, meanwhile, are getting the gold foil treatment in November. Kirkman and Cory Walker collaborated on the first issue of “Invincible,” which launched in 2003.

Exclusive cover of "Monstress: Talk Stories" No. 1. Courtesy of Image Comics

In bringing back “Invincible” with this special printing, Kirkman and Portland, Oregon-based Image hope to introduce a new generation of fans to the series prior to the launch of Amazon Prime’s animated adaptation of the comic, with episodes set to premiere in 2021. The comic ended in 2018 after 144 issues were published — most of which were illustrated by Ryan Ottley.

Liu and Takeda’s offering is the first installment in a two-parter, released between the fifth and sixth arcs of the main “Monstress” series, which is scheduled to restart in January. The epic fantasy, which won an astounding five Eisner Awards in 2018, first went on sale in late 2015.

Exclusive cover of "Invincible" No. 1. Courtesy of Image Comics

ComicsPRO is a volunteer non-profit organization which aims to improve the comic book specialty market for participating retailers. The trade organization, which is dedicated to direct market retailers, is the only one of its kind, according to the organization’s website. Peter Dolan of Main Street Comics in Middletown, New York, is president.

According to Image, retailers who want to have their store name included as part of McFarlane’s exclusive “Spawn” cover have until 5 p.m. PDT Sunday to register for Local Comic Shop Day, if they haven’t already done so.

More information can be found at the Local Comic Shop Day website.



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