In Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ classic graphic novel Watchmen, a common repeating detail is graffiti that asks “Who Watches the Watchmen?”
The answer to this question? Thousands and thousands of people – Watchmen jumped to the top of Amazon.com’s bestseller list after the trailer for the film premiered in front of “The Dark Knight”. Even three weeks after the movie’s release, Watchmen is number 9 on the mega-store’s bestseller list. And DC isn’t expecting sales to slow down anytime soon as we roll towards the movie’s release in March 2009, having just shipped over 300,000 more copies of the book, as well as working on a reprint of the “Absolute” edition of the title. In ordering for the store, I’ve noticed that wholesalers Bookstream, Ingram, and Baker & Taylor are all (a) low on the title and (b) ordering many more copies.
Now, Watchmen is by no means a sales slouch, and ranks highly both as a backlist title and especially as a perennial bestseller among graphic novels. Nevertheless, I can’t help but be excited by this sales boost. Often, the source material for a movie sees an increase in sales as the movie approaches release. However, its a little more rare that the source material is a phenomenal, well-written classic. Hopefully many people take the advice of Ann over at BooksOnTheNightstand and read the book before seeing the film. History has shown that comic sales see no real increase with the release of comic movies, and that is a trend I would like to see change 0 especially as graphic novels get more creative talent every year.
Fun related note – Sure, people bought the comic after seeing the trailer. But I was even more surprised to see that “The Beginning is the End is the Beginning” (the Smashing Pumpkins track in the trailer) jumped to the most popular song on iTunes. I doubt it got that kind of jump after appearing in the “Batman and Robin” trailer.