It appears May's record performance for sales in the Direct Market of comic shops won't be the end of the surprising news coming out of the retail space this year.
After a report on Bleeding Cool surmised that Image Comics' July release of "The Walking Dead" #100 could top 300,000 copies, CBR News spoke with an insider who cited 330,000 as a number closer to what final orders will reflect. That number would, in fact, make the comic not only the best-selling issue of the year but the best-selling initially ordered issue for the past several years. The last comic to make such numbers in its first month on the shelves was Marvel's "Amazing Spider-Man" #583 (the Obama inauguration issue) which had reported initial orders over 350,000 copies. In more recent memory, DC's "Justice League" #1 reached nearly 300,000 print copies sold, though its initial orders were still under 200,000.
Today, CBR spoke with representatives from both Image and creator Robert Kirkman's Skybound Entertainment, and while neither could comment on the final orders for the issue, it was made clear that the final tally for the book would include all of the nine variant covers released to celebrate the milestone. Eight of those variant come with their own ordering code through Diamond Comic Distributors, though the ninth cover -- a special black and white wraparound by series artist Charlie Adlard -- is a 1:200 variant. An additional version of the issue which comes with a Chromium cover will chart separately as it costs $9.99 as opposed to the $3.99 price for the standard versions.
How many readers the 330,000 copies will account for is something only retailers will know for sure, though the number is certainly a reflection of "The Walking Dead's" status as perhaps the comic sales juggernaut of the past five years if not the past decade. Recent estimates place the monthly series over 50,000 copies in sales each month, and the collected trade paperbacks of the book continue to top all reported sales charts both inside and outside the Direct Market.
Stay tuned to CBR News for more on "The Walking Dead" #100.