Just for the record, we received a little note from Dave Gibbons saying that as far as his recollection goes, only the LAST issue of Watchmen shipped late and it still hit the schedule they had given DC Comics. Before that, it shipped monthly. We’re going with Dave on this one, so watch out how you play that WATCHMEN card….it may just be a joker!

UPDATE: We’ve had a private communication with ANOTHER member of the Watchmen creative team who confirms that only the last issue shipped late. Combined with Brian Hibbs’ indicia evidence from the comment section, we think this provides solid, solid evidence, that WATCHMEN, the late great comic, the one that everyone uses as a shining example of a book being late but good, wasn’t really all that late by today’s standards. One issue, one month late.

We suspect that the memories of lateness may be because it was just so damned good you were standing at the comics shop peeing your pants in anticipation waiting for it. BECAUSE IT WAS SO GOOD YOU JUST DIDN’T WANT TO WAIT.

So, to all you latenicks out there, if you really want to use WATCHMEN as an example of the schedule you can keep… KNOCK YOURSELF OUT!


  1. I’m pretty sure that there were a couple late issues past #8 or so, but nothing more than a few weeks as memory serves. Of course, I’m old and forget things easily…

  2. Each time someone plays the Watchmen card, I’m reminded of Camelot 3000, where the last issue shipped a full year after scheduled. It didn’t affect a full line, but more people have read Barr & Bolland’s magnum opus in trade than waited that year, or even know it was ever delayed.

  3. I was working at a comic shop when Watchmen was coming out, and I clearly recall that a few issues were late, not just the last one. Though, I don’t know if they were late, like, solicited for a date and then shipping late, or if they just skipped solicits. We didn’t all read the order catalogs back then.

  4. Bullshit. Several issues shipped late, especially near the end of the run. (I vividly recall reding each one as I was driving home from the comics store, but I can steer with my knees, so no biggie.)

  5. I recall going to the comics shop towards the end of the series and more than once feeling a wave of horrible depression as books didn’t arrive on the promised day. Maybe it was just issue 12 delayed more than one week, I don’t remember the details. But reading The Watchmen in serial format is one of the more emotionally involving events in my pathetic geek life.

  6. Issue #1 was September 1986, issue #12 was October 1987, according to comics.org.

    It is likely that comics.org is reporting what the indicia says, and that the indicia may or may not be correct, but that jibes more or less with my memory — 12 issues in something like 14 months.

    (I didn’t open until ’89, so I can consult my personal records, sorry!)


  7. Those must be the indicia dates, Brian. I remember reading the first couple of issues of WATCHMEN in singles before summer break of my first year in college (85-86). Toldja I’m old.

  8. The indicia of my Graphitti HC says “(C) 1986, 1987, originally published in 12 issues in magazine form 1986-1987”, so colon-pee, or something, Matt.

    The only thing I am not sure about is how the indicia worked then — I seem to recall it was forward dated by 2 months, so Watchmen woulda started in August 86 then?


  9. ‘Course, even if Dave Gibbons’ recollection is spot on, it doesn’t invalidate the comment that started all this: Adam’s contention that “not all 12 issues of WATCHMEN came out on time.”

    Just sayin’.

  10. And of course Frank Miller’s DARK KNIGHT RETURNS had some late issues, although one of them wasn’t his fault. I think it was issue three where DC said Frank was running late when actually he’d turned in the art but DC misplaced half the issue inside their own offices (!) for 2 weeks, before the art had been photographed. I heard that from Frank Miller himself at the time because he resented being blamed for being late when he wasn’t. But then DC had to say something, and admitting that someone on their staff had temporarily lost the art wouldn’t have sounded too swift.

  11. Heidi, correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t Denis Kitchen say that the late, great Will Eisner never once missed a deadline in his career? If I was habitually late in any aspect of my job, I wouldn’t be around for long. For one thing, I sure won’t be buying any more Kevin Smith penned tales as I’m not sure if I’ll be interested 15 months later when his story wraps up. Just my two pennies worth….

  12. Oh jesus christ Heidi, get over the fact that they used Watchmen as an example about late books. They aren’t trying to make it sound like both are on the same quality levels or anything. All they are trying to do is counter the people who like to say that late books didn’t happen in the past. They just used some of the more revered books from the 80’s as an example. If they used Captain Carrot’s zoo crew or something stupid like that, the comparison wouldn’t have the same impact as saying “hey btw, Dark Knight was late too”.

    Just ……get……over…..it!

  13. Here’s what I remember about Watchmen shipping:

    — Issue #1 came out in June ’86, I think within a week (or maybe the same week?) as Byrne’s Man of Steel #1.

    — The old Amazing Heroes Preview Special noted that the last few issues would be on an every-5-week schedule. I believe the first issue of this new schedule was #10. Therefore, the issues could have come out “on time,” strictly speaking, and still have been more than a month apart.

    — I want to say the last issue came out in August ’87, because I started college that month and I was still working a summer job the Friday I bought it.

    Just for whatever it’s worth….

  14. “They aren’t trying to make it sound like both are on the same quality levels or anything. All they are trying to do is counter the people who like to say that late books didn’t happen in the past.”

    Aren’t they to a degree though? The main reason Watchmen and Dark Knight are being tossed around is to argue that the creative vision is consistant throughout the series and there won’t be an drop off in quality of the work by bringing in a fill-in artist. While I can’t fault them for wanting to maintain consistancy through the run of the limited series, I would agree with the argument that the use of the “Watchmen Card” is disingenuous since both Watchmen and Dark Knight were self-contained stories set outside DC’s regular universe/continuity. MCW on the other hand is so plugged in to the regular Marvel U it’s throwing off the schedule of other books. (I also have to question the “Book Trade Card” that’s been tossed around as well. While COIE and the original Secret Wars trades are still in print, I would argue they are not the evergreen sales powerhouse that Watchmen and Dark Knight are.)

  15. Wasn’t there also the rumor (or is it fact) that the last Watchmen was re-scripted at the last minute (not by Moore) and that was the cause of the long delay?