As we all know July 4th is our Independence Day and one of the biggest holidays of the year. Now, this day in 2018 will be pegged as one of the biggest comic book release dates of the year thanks to DC and Marvel releasing their long-awaited comics that day.
For DC, Batman #50 (the climax to the Batman/Catwoman wedding story arc) will hit stores and Marvel will be releasing Captain America #1 (the ‘Fresh Start’ relaunch by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Leinil Yu). Image, Dark Horse, IDW Publishing, BOOM!, and Dynamite have all confirmed to Newsarama that they’ll be releasing comic books on July 4, and Diamond will be as well like any other day.
The sad part is, this is not an easy decision for comic stores. Traditionally, comic stores have been closed for the holiday. Editor’s Note Comics of Maine said they would remain closed for the day, despite people wanting their releases.
“In past years the shop has been closed on on the Fourth of July. Having Ta-Nehisi Coates writing Captain America is really exciting, but ultimately I’ll still be closed on July 4,” said owner Zack Bowen. “I’ve tried being open on some holidays in the past, and the sales just weren’t there to justify opening on those days. The shipment will come in on Tuesday, so everything will be ready for sale when I open on Thursday. That book is going to sell really well, and I don’t think taking the holiday off is going to affect sales.”
At the recent ComicsPRO annual meeting, DC’s Senior VP of Sales John Cunningham did an informal poll of the retailers in attendance if the sale date should be a day earlier–Tuesday, July 3rd–or keep with their announced Wednesday, July 4 date. A show of hands said roughly 90% of the retailers were in-favor of the July 4 sale date.
“It’s always unfortunate when a holiday falls on a Wednesday. The majority of the customers who come through here have always been understanding when things like holidays come up,” Bowen said. “It makes me cringe a bit to be closed on a day with major releases, but I have to imagine most customers will have other plans in mind. The vast majority of people getting those books will have them pulled in advance, so there’s no real urgency.”
Ryan Higgins of Comics Conspiracy in Sunnyvale, CA has a different strategy, and that’s remaining open for sales.
“We don’t normally close [for July 4]. Often we’ll have a sale,” Higgins told Newsarama. “Releasing a new Captain America #1 on Fourth of July is a good idea, especially for stores that do big events. I’d assume very few stores will close that day, it’s a Wednesday, after all. One thing about small business, sometimes you have to change up your normal plans or routine to better serve your business.”
For those that buy their comics digitally around the world, or from ComiXology and any other service, the comics will go on sale Wednesday just like any other release day. Dublin’s Big Bang Comics uses the holiday to their advantage even though it’s not their holiday (just like we use St. Patty’s Day right?)
“I think we can use the date to help promote Captain America #1 over here, and it’s cool it’s out July 4, it’s a bit of a hook,” said John Hendrick of Big Bang Comics in Dublin, Ireland. “But it’s going to be massively overshadowed by Batman #50 that’s out the same day, sales and promotion wise for us, hopefully a lot of those Batman customers try this new Cap series too.”
So it looks like we’ll have to keep a close eye on what’s happening July 4th and you will have to keep an ear out if your local shop is open that day. Or, you know, chomp at the bit and wait for them to open the next day.