The Walking Dead is now one of the biggest horror entertainment properties, with a comic series, TV show, video games, toys, and more products being released every month. It wasn't always that way, though, and it has taken The Walking Dead 10 years to get it to where it is today. During C2E2, Image Comics' Eric Stephenson spoke to retailers and talked about the rise of The Walking Dead's sales figures:
"We launched The Walking Dead almost 10 years, in October 2003. When we got our initial orders from Diamond – which totaled a mere 7,300 copies – The Walking Dead came in dead last out of the half dozen new titles we launched that month.
It was beaten by Cursed #1, Battle of the Planets: Manga #1, Sword of Dracula #1, Something Wicked #1, and Realm of the Claw #1. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I was actually working at Image back then and aside from the Dracula book and the Battle of the Planets book, I don’t even the vaguest recollection of what those other books were about.
And I don’t say that because they were necessarily bad, but because they’re not around anymore. Robert Kirkman and The Walking Dead, like the best creators and the best new ideas, made it a point to stick.
The first issue may not have set the sales charts on fire, but after hitting its all time low with issue #2 – which I’ll share with you now came in at around 5,400 – orders started to climb with #3. Issue five orders beat out issue one’s and we haven’t looked back from there.
Issue #96 will be in stores next week, and when we set the print run for the issues, it was our best selling issue of The Walking Dead to date. Before I left to head out here, I learned The Walking Dead #97 was on track not only to break that record, but to be the first issue to sell over 40,000 copies."