Image has announced that with 730,000 copies ordered, February’s THE WALKING DEAD #163 is the Direct Market’s highest ordered comic in nearly 20 years, a feat achieved, they note, without the aid of a subscription box such as Loot Crate.

Now let’s add the asterisks.

TWD163Although not a Loot Crate comic, TWD #163 does have a 25¢ cover price, as part of a 25¢ initiative from Image and Skybound, Kirkman’s imprint. Other comics in the promotion include INVINCIBLE #133 and OUTCAST #25. It’s all part of the big Image Day promotion. The issues cost retailers 10¢ to order, but there are also incentive variant covers.

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Image compares the numbers to Batman: The 10-Cent Adventure from January 2002, one of the first low priced incentive comics. Image calls this promotion “a definitive and quantifiable move to pay it forward to retailers who have long supported growing the creator-owned readership.”

“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,” explained Kirkman. “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.

“Don’t get me wrong,” he continued, “Charlie Adlard, Stefano Gaudiano, Cliff Rathburn, and Rus Wooton are all being compensated as usual for their contributions to THE WALKING DEAD #163, but neither myself nor Image will profit off this issue. 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.”

Eric Stephenson, Publisher at Image Comics, added: “When we first began discussing how to celebrate our 25th anniversary, one of the first ideas that came up was offering some of our best titles at 25¢ in an effort to reach as many readers as possible. We knew we’d be selling the books at a loss—no matter how high the orders—but our number one goal is always to get books in front of as many readers as possible, and the best way to do that is by giving comic book stores something they can quite literally put in people’s hands for pocket change.”

The issue also kicks off a new storyline, and introduces a new character. I haven’t read the print version in a while, so please don’t tell me it’s a baddie who makes Negan look like the thieves from Home Alone.

THE WALKING DEAD #163 will be available in stores on Wednesday, February 1st—just in time for fans to celebrate “Image Day”.

INVINCIBLE #133 (Diamond Code DEC160639) will be available in stores on Wednesday, February 15th. Final order cutoff is Monday, January 23rd.

OUTCAST BY KIRKMAN & AZACETA #25 (Diamond Code DEC160664) will be available in stores on Wednesday, February 22nd. The final order cutoff for comics retailers is Monday, January 30th.

THE WALKING DEAD #164 (Diamond Code DEC160746) will hit stores on Wednesday, February 15th. Final order cutoff for comics retailers is Monday, January 23rd.

7 COMMENTS

  1. “…neither myself nor Image will profit off this issue.”

    And neither will comic shops.

    Numbers are probably so high also because of the quantities needed for stores to get variant covers.

  2. Unless that 730,000 is the North American figure, it might or might not eclipse the Batman one, which was 702,126 in North American preorders (not final orders; those weren’t released back then).

    But we’re likely not to find out as comics below $1 are not listed in the Top 300s any more, in part because of the ten-cent book and other previous promotional pricing efforts. You won’t see the 25-cent Red Sonja #0 in tomorrow’s December listings.

  3. Neat! Hopefully it hooks some new readers in for “The Walking Dead” and hopefully for many other books that customers pick up while in the store. A rising tide lifts all ships in the comic book industry.

  4. “The issues cost retailers 10¢ to order,”

    For pendants sake, no, that is not correct. They cost at least 11.25 cents for anyone, and probably closer to 12.5 cents (rounded up to 13) for the average account. Some accounts are surely paying 15 cents each.

    Figure shipping alone is something between 2 and 3 cents a copy.

    This is better than the original deal (YAY! Kirkman Did Right!!) where it was announced at 25 cents net cost — therefore retailers lost money selling these.

    -B

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