Store-specific variant covers have become a common thing in comic books, but a group of stores are doing something unique with their upcoming Defenders #4 variant: donating the entire run to the U.S. Military.
The entire 3,000 copy print run of a store-specific variant to Defenders #4 by Gabrielle Dell'Otto is being donated to Operation Gratitude, which sends care packages to members of the U.S. Armed Forces. This is being done by Frankie's Comics and a group known as the Variant Collective (consisting of the Comic Mint, Sad Lemon, 7ate9, Amorphous Ink, and Golden Apple.)
Founded in 2003, Operation Gratitude sends out over 250,000 care packages each year to to th active military, as well as veterans and first responders. Each package is filled with food, hygiene products, hand-made items, personal letters of support, and now comic books.
The retailers have ordered a second, "virgin" variant of this Defender #4 cover which will be sold. "Virgin" variants has the cover art, but normally does not include any logo, lettering, advertising, or barcode.
“We’re obviously not making any money at that price even if we sell out,” said Kevin Fields of Frankie's Comics. “But this release isn’t about that. We just wanted to do something cool for our soldiers and the collecting community. I wish we could have announced this on July 4th, as that was the impetus for the idea, but it took longer than we thought to find a charity that would actually put the books in the hands of the troops. There are a lot of charities out there that claim to do it, but when you read the fine print, that’s not what they actually do. We’re so happy to be working with Operation Gratitude on this, as we know that our military men and women will have these in their hands soon.”