First it was 200K, then 250K, then 300k…now the NY Times reports that 900,000 more copies of WATCHMEN have been printed since the trailer debuted. Thus there will be about one million copies of WATCHMEN in print this year. Last year, about 100,000 copies were sold.


  1. how cool is this??? even though the trailer doesnt tell anything to the untrained civilians, it’s got folks wanting to know what the big deal is. this also hints at more of whats to come. i think levit’s was dead on with his assessment of how it will impact the business of publishing, marketing and selling graphic novels from here on out.

    so, are ya ready for a new warp speed? buckle up and put your helmets on kids, this ride has a few more surprises in store!

  2. [Video clip of Slim Pickens a-hoopin’ an’ a-hollerin’ as he rides the atomic bomb to perdition]

    Man. First of all… 100,000 copies in one year? That’s major for ANY title. Let alone a GRAPHIC NOVEL. A graphic novel that’s been in print for TWENTY YEARS.

    I think what is driving this is that non-comicbook people saw Dark Knight with their comicbook-reading friends, saw an incredible trailer, and asked their friends, “What is that all about?” And their friends replied, “That’s the greatest graphic novel ever written, and you have to read it.”

    Watchmen is currently #36 on, the lowest since the trailer hit. From now until April, retailers everywhere have to bring their A Game everyday. People are going to read Watchmen, then read it again to see how the pieces fit together, then they are going to come back and say, “Okay, I’ve read a great graphic novel. What other great stuff do you have that I don’t know about?” That’s when the retailer asks, “What do you like to read?” and then goes to the shelves and starts hand selling.

    Myself, I suggest the second GN people read is “Understanding Comics”.

    You know what? Watchmen could suck as bad as “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen”, and I wouldn’t be disappointed. Because, personally, as a comicbook acolyte, it’s all about Seducing the Innocent. I want EVERYONE to read comics. Don’t care what kind, what form, if it’s three panels in a newspaper or ten volumes. READ COMICS!

    Tears of joy, folks… dreams are coming true…

  3. I was trying to do some of the math. In (very) broad strokes: If tickets sales average 10 bucks a pop, let’s say 40 million people have seen the Dark Knight (discounting repeat business, etc.). In order to move the million copies of Watchmen, that means 3% of those people were impressed enough to go out and pick up the book. That’s pretty impressive.

  4. On the Bendis Board Rich Johnston said Moore is forgoing even print money for Watchmen. I sent him an email asking him to go into more detail. Hopefully it will be in LITG soon.

  5. Moore isn’t making a dime off Watchmen anymore. It all stopped with the whole V for Vendetta thing, when Moore asked to have his name taken off of all his work that wasn’t originally intended to be held by DC this long (eg. Swamp Thing, Superman, Killing Joke, etc.)

    The whole thing is just wrong and disgusting. The scope of the original contract was never intended to go this far. By right, Watchmen should have reverted back to Moore and Gibbons.

  6. “Myself, I suggest the second GN people read is “Understanding Comics”.

    How about —

    100 BULLETS?
    Cooke & Brubaker’s CATWOMAN?

  7. Kenny:

    Source? As I understood it Moore was still taking DC’s dirty money f/ books– after all, his name’s still on all the works in question.

  8. Bill C. & Torsten:

    Alternatively, if you wanted to push even FARTHER afield of funny capes, you could also suggest –

    CAGES – Dave McKean
    THE HUNTING PARTY – Bilal, Christensen
    SIGNAL TO NOISE – Gaiman, McKean
    PALESTINE – Joe Sacco
    THE BALLAD OF HALO JONES – Moore, Gibson
    FINDER (any volume of) – Carla Speed McNeil
    LOVE & ROCKETS (any volume of) – Los Bros. Hernandez

    (And, because there hasn’t been nearly enough press about it on The Beat:)

  9. Torsten Adair said:

    “I think what is driving this is that non-comicbook people saw Dark Knight with their comicbook-reading friends, saw an incredible trailer…”

    I agree, but I think it also helped that Dark Knight was so good, and that Watchmen has been mentioned often in the last two years as being one of the best comic book stories.

  10. rev’D,

    That’s how I recall it from Lying in the Gutters circa the V for Vendetta kerfuffle. Moore wanted his name off the books and kept sending the checks back, but DC kept refusing to take it off. This was all reported by Rich Johnson; look it up.

    But I’m not trying to pretend like I know anything special. I’m an electrical engineer by day, the *last* place I’d ever want to work is in comics. I couldn’t afford the pay cut!

  11. No Clarence, not flooding the market…trying to satisfy demand. My LCS is fairly small, and normally only sells 1 or 2 copies of Watchmen every month. He has sold every copy he has ordered since the Dark Knight movie came out. He got 3 more copies this Wednesday that could have been sold over the previous weekend if he had had them in stock. In essence, he has sold a year’s worth of Watchmen in the last 3 weeks.

  12. Let’s hope they all sell.

    Todd: Well, then I guess they’d either throw it away, give it away, or take it to a used book store that accepts books for credit. They’d still have bought it, though, so the sell-through would still be good.

    Now that I mention it, I wonder how many people who bought a copy of The Da Vinci Code still have it.

  13. One of the local comic stores I frequent said they’d sold as many copies of Watchmen this July as they normally sell in a year.

    So yeah, someone’s buying ’em.

  14. Understanding Comics is one graphic novel EVERYONE should read. After that, like I said, it’s a matter of asking the reader what she or he likes to read. There’s so much good stuff out there, it’s so easy to find something. I could spend hours talking about good stuff. And when I’m with graphic novels, I’ll show you the comicstrip collections,and after that, the various nonfiction GNs scattered throughout the store.
    Now that I think about it, third recommendation would be American Born Chinese. Then Maus. My favorite? The Cowboy Wally Show.
    Part of the sales are from having it placed on bestseller lists. Prime sales space, discounted, ordered to fill space. The store I worked at, we tried to keep 20 copies in stock. Permanent display on the graphic novel table. Myself recommending it to anyone who stopped to look at graphic novels (including a presidential candidate).

  15. Bilal’s Hunting Party is one of the greatest things i have ever read.. probably only exceeded in excellence by yslaire’s sambre saga, but i don’t know if there is an english translation to it..

    I was going to suggest Maus too, but Torsten beat me to it. It is a sure hit and a great book too. Another one is the Sandman series, which have changed the perceptions towards the graphic novels and comics all together and created a great interest towards the medium in every single non-comic reading person that i know who has tried it. I have been constantly surprised by how very unexpected people of various kinds love this book, especially the women.

  16. I see what you’re saying regarding UNDERSTANDING COMICS, (and I’m a fan) but I think the perception would be that you were handing them a text book…

    With MINISTRY OF SPACE you could pitch it to Scifi fans as FROM THE EARTH TO THE MOON meets an alt. history where Britain made it to space first …

    With 100 BULLETS you could hand it to the folks reading Tom Clancy or the Bourne novels. Ditto QUEEN & COUNTRY.

  17. Moore did ask DC to take his name off, but they have refused. He is not taking any money from them.

    If we’re recommending must reads, I would include:

    EPILEPTIC by David B
    NAUSICAA by Miyazaki
    FROM HELL by Moore
    NEW FRONTIER by Cooke

  18. it’s so odd that no action’s been taken against DC since they just simply refuse to honor Moore’s requests. I wonder what the deal is. Besides the obvious.

  19. As for action, I don’t know of any Moore could take. They are only required to live up to the letter of the contract and no one disputes that they’ve done that.

    I understand that screenwriters can have their names taken off their works, but their union contract doesn’t apply to publishing.

  20. wonderful!

    by the by, Kevin Smith saw WATCHMEN and labeled it “fucking astounding.”

    he says:

    [I saw “Watchmen.” It’s fucking astounding. The Non-Disclosure Agreement I signed prevents me from saying much, but I can spout the following with complete joygasmic enthusiasm: Snyder and Co. have pulled it off.

    Remember that feeling of watching “Sin City” on the big screen and being blown away by what a faithful translation of the source material it was, in terms of both content and visuals? Triple that, and you’ll come close to watching “Watchmen.” Even Alan Moore might be surprised at how close the movie is to the book. March can’t come soon enough.

    –Kevin Smith]

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