Posted by: Brian Hibbs on April 25, 2013
Usually, I don’t really mind when Rich Johnston gets something wrong — usually it is future news, he’s playing telephone, and publishers don’t want to co-operate with him. He’s going to get shit wrong, c’est la vie.
But history? That’s important to get right!
This morning, Rich opened a story like so: “Today, the final issue of Before Watchmen: Comedian is published, a couple of months late. Which is about how late the very original final issue of Watchmen was.”
WATCHMEN was not (especially) late — certainly not monthS!
Travel back to 1986, and comics really just weren’t late at all — in fact, they had ship WEEKS that, without fail, comics shipped in. If the comic was going to be late? FILL-IN ISSUE. So I get why people who were there might FEEL that WATCHMEN was very late, because every other comic book around it shipped with clockwork precision.
Thanks to the Awesome John Jackson Miller, we can back things up with actual facts. To wit:
|#1 book that month
at Capital City Distribution
|Watchmen #1||Sep-86||May 13||34,100||5th||Classic X-Men #1|
|Watchmen #2||Oct-86||Jun 20||38,350||10th||The Man of Steel #1|
|Watchmen #3||Nov-86||Jul 8||38,000||10th||The Man of Steel #3|
|Watchmen #4||Dec-86||Aug 12||40,500||8th||The Man of Steel #5|
|Watchmen #5||Jan-87||Sep 9||33,150||11th||Superman Vol. 2 #1|
|Watchmen #6||Feb-87||Oct 14||32,700||15th||Superman Vol. 2 #2|
|Watchmen #7||Mar-87||Nov 11||30,150||Prob. Uncanny X-Men #215|
|Watchmen #8||Apr-87||Dec 9||28,150||Prob. Uncanny X-Men #216|
|Watchmen #9||May-87||Jan 13||28,150||15th||Uncanny X-Men #217|
|Watchmen #10||Jul-87||Feb 10||26,850||13th||Uncanny X-Men #218|
|Watchmen #11||Aug-87||May 19||28,300||13th||Punisher #1|
|Watchmen #12 (canc.)||Oct-87||31,900||9th||Uncanny X-Men #220|
|Watchmen #12 (res.)||Oct-87||Jun 23||34,150||6th||Uncanny X-Men #221|
See? WATCHMEN shipped 12 issues in 13 months.
I get that 1986 is a long time ago, but let’s give perfect fucking credit to WATCHMEN, one of the most intricate and clockwork of comics, one of the highest standards of comics craft and storytelling, AND IT (mostly) SHIPPED ON TIME. Certainly, it DID ship on time according to DC’s revised schedule.
Now, Frank Miller’s DARK KNIGHT RETURNS? Yeah, that one was months late in the end. (#3 and #4 were very late), and also CAMELOT 3000 which, as I recall, end up 13 months late in the end. Then there are things like SONIC DISRUPTORS where we’re STILL waiting (some of us!) for the last four issues to ship.
But WATCHMEN #12? On-freakin’-time.
So I say to you: Shame on you, Rich Johnston, shame!