WATCHMEN sales rankings

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Oh, okay. Here is ONE LINK about WATCHMEN, but it has to do with the comic — PSYCHE. John Jackson Miller looks at the original sales rankings of the miniseries:

Watchmen is one of the most reprinted comics series in history — but where did Watchmen rank at the time it came out? There are challenges in answering that question. First, many competing comics still had heavy newsstand sales and sold subscriptions, whereas Watchmen was a limited series principally targeting the direct market. Second, its sales were spread out across a variety of direct-market distributors that did not report their sales. Only the sales of one of the larger ones, Capital City Distribution, are known to The Comics Chronicles — but those original orders are known exactly from internal records, as is the ranking of each issue at Capital that month, versus other titles.


The numbers will surprise you. Also surprising (although not to faithful readers of this blog), the chart reminds us that only ONE issue of WATCHMEN shipped late. That was the last one and it was all of a month late, a break planned by Moore and Gibbons.

Comments

  1. Alan Coil says:

    “Also surprising (although not to faithful readers of this blog,) the chart reminds us that only ONE issue of Watchmen shipped late, and that was the last one and it was all of a month late, a break planned by Moore and Gibbons. ”

    Yeah, I’ve been trying to fight that “it was late” thing for years, seldom getting any traction. Myth is stronger than truth.

  2. matthew says:

    Really, that’s a myth? I was collecting the issues in high school, and I remember quite a long wait for #12. Although, maybe it just felt like forever at the time.

  3. MBunge says:

    WATCHMEN is probably the all time example of the collected edition outstripping meager serialized sales. Of course, too many people have taken that example to heart and fogotten that…

    1. They’re not Moore and Gibbons.

    2. There’s still a heck of a lot of money to be made in serialized entertainment.

    Mike

  4. “Yeah, I’ve been trying to fight that “it was late” thing for years, seldom getting any traction. Myth is stronger than truth.”

    I’m wondering whether the collapse of Glenwood Distributors was related to some people thinking the book was late — if there were a bunch of shops that had to scramble to get their orders filled elsewhere. The timing is right.

  5. Define “late”. Did it ship later that month? There was a longer break between issues 10 and 11, as I recall from the shop I was working in at the time.

  6. Glenn, you’re absolutely right. I hit the stacks and confirmed that, yes, it was #11 that got delayed twice. I list the announced ship-to-distributor dates here:

    http://blog.comichron.com/2009/03/when-watchmen-hit-stands-best-guess.html

    and it works out like this:

    #10 • February 10, 1987
    #11 • (First scheduling) March 17, 1987
    (Second rescheduling) April 28, 1987
    (Final rescheduling) May 19, 1987
    #12 • June 2, 1987

    Those dates are the announced “ship to distributor” dates, but I believe that they’re pretty close to the direct-market on-sale date (which was always weeks before the announced “on-sale date,” which was really the newsstand date). I found in my old collection manifest a record of having bought one of the Watchmen issues four days after the announced ship date — proving nothing so much as what a freakish child I was then. (And, evidently, now, in actually finding a need to consult it!)

  7. I just got into this comic book after I learned of the movie. It is really good. I am glad they reprinted them.

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