Image Comics has revealed today that next month’s The Walking Dead #163 has received pre-orders from Diamond Comic Distributors’ partner comic book stores in excess of 730,000. Excluding Loot Crate style subscription box services, the publisher boasts that this marks “the Direct Market’s highest ordered comic in nearly 20 years.”
Comic book companies like Marvel and DC rarely reveal full sales figures, so it’s hard to know how this instalment of The Walking Dead compares with other bestselling titles, but it’s obviously unlikely that Image would make false claims. Of course, it helps that the issue is going to retail for only 25¢ instead of the usual $2.99.
Here’s what writer Robert Kirkman had to say about this special issue of the long-running series:
“The Direct Market helped make The Walking Dead, Invincible, and Outcast the successful series they are today, and acknowledging that support is a big part of our agenda as Image turns 25 this year. Comic book stores have made it easier for us to accomplish everything we’ve done since our last anniversary, so giving back just makes sense, even though it means we’re not making a dime off these books. As with most of our decisions at Image, we’re looking instead at the long-term benefits of getting more readers into stores and more of the world’s best creator-owned comics into those readers’ hands.”
Given the popularity of The Walking Dead TV series, this does seem like a smart way to bring in new readers to comic book stores, especially as issue #163 kicks off a new arc titled “Conquered.”
Little is known about what we should expect from the storyline, though it looks set to cover the aftermath of the recent “Whisperer War.” For readers who may have lapsed on the series or even for complete newcomers, this new issue of The Walking Dead should be well worth checking out.