THE WALKING DEAD #100 is the Best-Selling Comic Book Issue of the 21st Century

We just got word from Image Comics that Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard’s The Walking Dead #100 sold out its print run of over 375,000 initial orders in its first day. That’s the most since 1997’s The Darkness #11 (also from Image Comics), but that was a whole different millennium and a whole different market.

383,612

That’s what a rabid fan base, a celebrated TV series and over a dozen crazy covers gets you in today’s market. Still, a monstrous success for an indie comics.

Here’s what Kirkman had to say about the milestone:

“The Walking Dead continues to greatly exceed all my expectations in all forms. I am especially excited for what this means for comics as an industry, that this is an independent comic hitting that number. The future of comics couldn’t be brighter as more and more readers are embracing new ideas in a big way.”

And Image Publisher Eric Stephenson:

“This is a remarkable achievement. It’s extremely uncommon, if not flat-out rare, for a comic book to see a sustained increase in sales following its first issue, but The Walking Dead steadily climbed up and up since its launch in 2003, and we couldn’t be more proud of Robert, Charlie and the whole Walking Dead team.”

Big congratulations to Kirkman, Adlard and Image Comics.

Comments

  1. That’s a lot of nuts…fans

  2. I wonder how many of these are actually selling at the retailer level. When I went to my LCS on Friday, there were about 40 copies of each cover still in stock. I did see people buying Walking Dead trades though. Nevertheless, this is a well-earned accomplishment for The Walking Dead team. I’m definitely looking forward to the next hundred issues.

    • Thats exactly what I was just wondering and mentioned to my friend earlier who’s obsessed with Walking Dead,there were about 30-40 copies of each cover at my lcs too when I grabbed my pull,I came back a cpl days later to trade in a bunch of figures towards an a cpl omnibus’s and a Destroyer statue and noticed a lot of did sell but wonder how many didn’t and were sold online.I love it too and a big congratulations to these guys for reaching such success from an indie comic and I like that Kirkman mentioned a brighter future for comics as readers are embracing new ideas in a big way. Good stuff for the comics world in any case!

    • Agreed. At least 30 of each cover just sitting there. Soon to be in a quarter bin near you….

    • 1) Statements like this seem a little cynical.
      2) And hyperbolic. If your numbers are accurate, there are 1050 unsold copies of Walking Dead #100 at your two stores alone. Seems pretty unlikely.

    • It’s not cynical; it’s called actually using the information in front of you. For example, no one thinks that there were actually 8 million copies of 1991’s X-Men #1; we know that there were five different covers and there were collectors out there. With Walking Dead #100 we know that the different covers were HIGHLY incentivized, leading LCS’s to purchase in bulk so as to get different versions of the covers. The sales figures are still VERY impressive, but there obviously are going to be a lot of unsold copies, and a lot of copies going to individual purchasers who are only going to actually read one of the copies. This is just informed opinion, not cynicism. I couldn’t be HAPPIER for what Kirkman has accomplished!

    • @JonSamuelson, I agree with the rest of the guys on this one. I bet we are all collectively happy for Kirkman, but it seems like an announcement on orders vs actually sold. I was happy to see the majority of the issues sold out at my LCS, but at comic con there were a plenty, and at a jacked up price mind you.

  3. Awesome! Now hurry up and chuck out that Compendium Vol. 2, I’m dying to know what happens to Rick and his son! 0_o

    • It’s coming in October, I believe. I am excited cuz I then I will be caught up enough to wait for the regular trades or even go wacky and get single issues.

  4. Long Live Comic Books!

  5. I like to picture Paul sitting in a newsroom live on the air and putting his hand to his ear as he says ” We’re just now receiving news of the walking dead….wait, correction…a comic book named the walking dead. Let’s go live to Conor who is on site.”

  6. So does that 383,612 number include both digital & print copies? Either way it’s impressive as fuck.

    • Paul Montgomery Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      Nothing about digital in the press release. Just “initial orders.”

    • So “initial orders” probably means that the figure is all print. Very impressive.

      The direct market is far from dead and print remains the format of choice for nearly everyone.

      Still, for what it’s worth I’m pretty sure I’ve heard about certain children’s digital comics selling over 400,000. Can’t remember the properties in question, but I know that earlier this year I heard something about a Lego comic selling (or maybe “selling”, if it was free) through the roof digitally.

  7. Very exciting in a lot of ways…

    Yet I can’t help but feel a little dirty.

    Still, congrats to Kirkman, Adlard, and Moo—Oh….oh shit….No.

  8. that’s ‘lot ah haggis!

    • i think it’s great that an indie book holds this distinction. SUCK IT BIG 2! (I’m just playin’ big 2, ya know i love ya!)
      with all this revenue i think kirkman can afford a better diet, lay off the happy meals already. salads taste good! 😉

  9. Thank you DC for producing comics that make us want to buy creator owned books,

    • It is cool to see an indie getting the numbers of the big 2

    • What? I don’t get it.

      3.99 double shipping Marvel is the company I hate. Are you one of those folks still angry about the new 52 or something?

      And why can’t somebody enjoy DC books as well as creator owned books and all the cool stuff Image, IDW, Dark Horse, Avatar, etc, is doing?

  10. Very cool. Kirkman is the man, now lets get Invincible these kinda numbers, how do we do it? A viral video? Musical?

  11. Very good news indeed for the comic book industry ! Normally I buy Walking Dead in trades, but number 100, I had to have at least one copy of that in comic form 🙂 I will not read it before it comes out in trade, but I’m glad I have it 🙂
    Great stories however, I love almost all things Kirkman is doing and I hope he will be here for a long time. Together with Vaughan he is one of the best. Image is really giving us some great comics, which I hope will be remembered forever.

  12. The Darkness 11? Why had that been so popular?

  13. filippod filippod (@filippodee) says:

    That’s a fantastic figure, which adds yet another reason to celebrate 100 issues of the Walking Dead.

    Yet I wonder how many readers are behind that number, given the 13 covers. I’m looking forward to seeing the numbers for #101 and #102, hoping to be pleasantly surprised.

  14. When Walking Dead #50 hit the crazy numbers that it did Kirkman was quick to tell people not to take it as too big of a deal because it was mostly due to the variant covers. Weird to see him now taking these inflated numbers due to variant covers as a sign of a bright future for the industry.

    • I am sure the publisher at the time they hit 50 was like “shhh, come on man, you dont need to go around saying crazy things like that! No need to point out the obvious! *wink* Now lets go back to counting our moneys.” Regardless, good for them! I picked up my copy.

    • or perhaps at time Kirkman wasnt an Image partner or an evangelist for creator owned work. Back then he was just about making comics (for Image AND Marvel), now he is about spreading the word!

  15. Couldn’t have happened to a more interesting guy. Congratulations.

  16. This is a rare occurance. I would love to see other independent comic books reach these kind of sales. There is so much potential in this industry.
    Congratulations to the whole Walking Dead team. This goes to show that with a good story, dedicated creaters, and a little bit of luck indie comics can be successful.

  17. This is great news. I knew it would do well but those numbers are pretty impressive.

    COngratulations to the Mighty Beard. I’m proud to say I’ve been here since #1.

  18. i see this as being an amazing thing for the industry and creators in general. Kirkman just proved that you don’t have to be Marvel or DC, or have 75 yr old characters to kick ass and build a franchise. I mean….he’s trailblazing here and clearing a path for the next generation of creators to follow.

    really awesome news.

  19. Qhile this is an amazing achievement, it’s a bit misleading. 383,612 was across 8 regular covers (even more if you count the high priced chromium and all the retailer incentives) dividing that by 8 is an average of about 48,000 a cover. Walking Dead usually sells just north of 50,000 copies a month. While I doubt fans will buy all of them, many will, and many will buy a few. I don’t read Walking Dead and I almost bought the Quitely one and the chromium one (if it wasnt &9.99 i would have) though the Darkness issue it beat had multiple covers, and really every big book has several incentive covers.

    This figure is also first printing initial orders, not multiple printings, which shows there was strong retailer support up front more so than consumer support. Justice League apparently sold over 400,000 copies (unknown how much of that was digital) and the Obama Spider-man sold in excess of 500,000 copies.

    its still an amazing achievement. imagine how much the reboot of Walking Dead that features a younger (perhaps unmarried?) Rick vs the Obamazombie (Zombama?) will sell…

  20. The comic has had its up and downs, but still amazingly written, which is why people keep coming back. I thought my comic buying days were over until I picked up the hardback collected TWD back several years ago. It just got me back into the medium. And now there’s Before Watchmen, life is gooooood….

  21. And it was only 8th in pulls here the week it came out? I just think there is something about this that’s a little bit fishy.

    But congrats, I would love it if comics sold more and more, and we had more folks share in our love of the medium.

    • The sales number includes all the covers so if you add all those pulls up it moves up to #3 on the pull list for that week.

      Also, our pull list page is only indicative of what people who come here buy, not the market as a whole.

  22. Glad I got my copy of it. And I got the McFarlane one, whose art i’ve always liked.