Brian Michael Bendis is sending a thank-you gift to comics retailers who ordered the first issue of his Joy Operations with either the main or the variant cover: A special retailer variant with art by Andrea Sorrentino. Joy Operations is Bendis’s first new title since he moved his creator-owned work to Dark Horse (see “Bendis Moving Creator-Owned Titles to Dark Horse”).

In an e-mail to retailers, Bendis explains that he worked in a comic shop before he became a comics creator, and he thinks of that experience, and how it informed his comics, every day. “I experienced all of the triumphs and frustrations you face every day, and it was on my mind while we were putting together our new line of Jinxworld books at Dark Horse . . . starting with Joy Operations!” he wrote. “In fact, part of the reason I moved my company to Dark Horse was because it looked like they were really focusing their energy and care into the direct market. That’s how I wanted these new books to be experienced and now here we are.”

The special variant is Bendis’s way of thanking retailers for their support, and he also offered to help in other ways. “If you need anything from me—let’s say there’s a special event for the store, or a special customer who deserves a surprise—please feel free to reach out to me via social media,” he wrote. “I won’t be making any public appearances anytime soon, but I will help out in any other way.”

Retailers who ordered Joy Operations #1 with either cover A, by co-creator Stephen Byrne, or cover B, by David Mack, and who have opted in to receive promotional materials, will receive one copy of the special retailer thank-you cover per storefront.