The Walking Dead #103 was No. 9 on Diamond Comic Distributors' list of comics sold to the direct market in October, marking the rare breakthrough into the Top 10 by an independent title. The question, though, is why.
Sure, the landmark 100th issue of the acclaimed horror series by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard landed atop the sales chart in July with a record-breaking 335,000 copies, propelled by a whopping 13 variant covers, but Issue 103 had just one variant (Chris Giarrusso‘s adorable homage to the first issue).
While there are no sales estimates yet for The Walking Dead #103, we can look to the two previous issues for some comparison: August's Issue 101 landed at No. 31 with an estimated 51,732 copies, followed in September by Issue 102 at No. 24 with 53,337 copies. Considering that ICv2 is reporting periodical sales increased 7.4 percent in October over the same month in 2011, we can safely say The Walking Dead #103 sold ... significantly more than those two previous issues. Again, though, why?
It was billed as "a new beginning for The Walking Dead," and "a perfect jumping-on point," so perhaps we're seeing the television effect that's kept the collections at the top of the bookstore charts spilling into the single issues (the first volume, originally released in 2006, is a perennial bestseller). It's certainly possible that, with AMC's hit adaptation returning for its third season in October, viewers who had already consumed the trade paperbacks (and the retailers who sell them) took Image Comics at its word and jumped on the monthly series with Issue 103, pushing sales to somewhere well north of 53,000.
Next week, we should have a solid sales estimate, and with it a better idea of the title's trajectory.