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The US pandemic-hit independent comic book stores yesterday received a sales boost during the Free Comic Book Day which is usually celebrated around the globe.

For the second consecutive year in its 20-year history, the event didn’t happen on the traditional date, the first week of May, as the pandemic pushed its organisers to transform Free Comic Book Day into Free Comic Book Summer, with different free titles released over nine weeks in July and August. This year, the event was delayed to Saturday, August 14th.

Though stores across North America handed out special Free Comic Book Day editions of books from a range of publishers, including Marvel and DC, for free, local shops in many US states made big returns on the sales of older issues. A reader in Missouri’s city of Cape Girardeau spent $5,000 on the copies of the first series of The Fantastic 4 comics released in 2011.

Customers who skipped the newer comics went for vintage copies because their value jumped over the years due to the transition from print to broadcast.

“I think it’s the movies, then you’ve got the tv shows and they have really been getting people interested in comic books again,” said Andrew Johnson, owner of Comix strip.

Comics on display at the event, regularly drawing 1.5 million readers in 60 countries, included 51 titles such as Archie, Blade Runner, Avengers, The Amazing Spider-Man man, Street Fighter, The Tick, Sonic the Hedgehog, Judge Dredd, Star Wars and The Last Kids on Earth. Some comic book writers and artists also held signings at stores around the US.