Rich Johnston & WATCHMEN

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.ย  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:

Cover Date Ship Date Capital City Orders C.C. Rank #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!