Over 700,000 copies of The Walking Dead #163 have been ordered in a record breaking first run print ahead of the 25th anniversary of Image.
The Walking Dead #163 will debut February 1st and will commemorate Image’s 25th anniversary. As part of the celebration, the special 40-page comic will sell for 25 cents and will pick up after the conclusion of the Whisperer War.
It makes perfect sense that a special edition of The Walking Dead #163 would command an initial order of 700,000+ copies, an order that is the highest order for Image in 20 years. The Walking Dead has long been Image’s bread and butter title, with Invincible and Outcast sharing in the spotlight.
These discounted commemorative covers are designed to appeal to longtime readers as well as attract new readers who can pick up an issue for a quarter. That’s the premise behind Free Comic Book Day, which is the first Saturday in May. Special free editions of popular titles, along with free zero issues, are handed out to seasoned fans and newcomers to the comic book genre.
The Walking Dead’s creator Robert Kirkman celebrates Image’s 25th birthday in his comments in the Image press release: “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. 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: Charlie Adlard, Stefano Gaudiano, Cliff Rathburn, and Rus Wooten 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.”
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The Walking Dead #163 hits stores on February 1st.