Every August 1st, social media lights up to celebrate one of The greatest heroes of comics: the amazing, spectacular, ultimate, and from time to time sensational Spider-Man. This happens because August 1st is “Spider-Man Day,” a celebration of the character’s debut in August 1962 Amazing imagination #fifteen. But why are we celebrating it specifically on August 1st?
Although Amazing imagination # 15 iconic cover The comic itself probably wasn’t the first time it was published to unsuspecting readers – without knowledge of its moment in history or as an afterthought It is deeply silly for Peter Parker just to shout his hidden identity so in public – on August 1st Marvel’s own site Searching the archives reveals that the edition was first published on August 10, 1962, according to Spidey’s own publishing house. Amazing imagination # 15 didn’t come out that day either.
Indeed, it may have been over Shelves at this point – and people had read the heroic origins of the amazing Spider-Man a while before. As Brian Cronin wrote for CBR a few years agoThe story of the comic book cover dates from that time Amazing imagination # 15 that hit shelves has a very different connotation than the monthly issues that are released today.
Back in the golden and silver age of comics – and, as Cronin wrote, well into the 90s, before the mainstream publisher withdrew to the USA Direct market Distribution to comic shops – Comics were mainly sold at kiosks in addition to newspapers and magazines. That meant they were also following the same distribution practices as these magazines: they would come into a newsstand and be available for a few weeks or months, and then any remaining copies would be returned to the publisher and replaced with new inventory.
To indicate when an issue should be returned to the retailer, the cover date was for retailers, not regular readers: to let them know what month it was time to accept that issue out Shelves, not when to put it on She. Most magazines, including comics, had a three month stay before covering these topics. Which means a comic like Amazing imagination # 15 with a cover date in August 1962 could have appeared on shelves in the United States Can. According to the copyright information for the problem on the inside of Amazing imagination # 15, it was supposed to have a cover date for September – which means it would actually have been closer to June, appropriately with other copyrights for the edition with a publication date of June 5, 1962.
All of this began in the decades that followed Amazing imagination The release of # 15 when Marvel and DC began to rely more on sales directly through comic book stores would post issues earlier than kiosks could, and have higher sales than the usual 2-3 month cycle. As Cronin explored, this relationship evolved into what would become known as the direct market – which we still see major comic book publishers dealing with, giving or taking mostly with monthly releases today occasional global pandemic Shake things up – led, to cover the dates at Marvel, which were revised in the late 1980s, giving them only a two month window instead of three.
These days, Marvel doesn’t even write cover dates in its comics. At a time when the direct market is pretty much the only major option for monthly publications, and more important than ever in digital tech, the rotating shelves of general stores and newsagents don’t really matter to their comics (although there are still publishers out there, who do so are spreading Marvel stories in these markets, like Digest Releases from Archie Comics). But even with the cover dates lost in time and their original meaning that is not needed for a long time, from an archival point of view, it’s funny how to party the permanent nature of creations that have stood the test of time – they still have a semblance of weight, albeit without their original context.
Why did we choose August 1st as Spider-Man Day when its groundbreaking origins hit shelves months earlier? This is most likely because given the vagueness of old comic book covers, it’s the easiest option. But maybe we should just accept and give this vagueness Spider Man and his amazing friends (throughout the entire Spider Verse) celebrated for a whole month. You’re worth it!
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