With DOOMSDAY CLOCK Delays, Revisiting WATCHMEN's Delays In the 1980s

Watchmen
Credit: Dave Gibbons (DC Comics)
Credit: Dave Gibbons (DC Comics)

Last week, DC announced Doomsday Clock would undergo some delays and schedule changes - which is, of course, part of the DNA of of the original Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons monthly comic book series its based on.

Watchmen #1 debuted on shelves the second week of March in 1986. Specific release dates from back then are unclear, but Capital City Distribution (via ComicChron) has it shipping to retailers on March 13.

While now probably best remembered as a graphic novel collection, there was an unplanned two-month delay before Watchmen #2 was shipped out on June 20. That three-month gap seemed to help Moore and Gibbons get back on schedule, however. Watchmen #3 through #10 shipped on the second week of every month from July through February 1987.

Credit: Dave Gibbons (DC Comics)

But delays returned with Watchmen #11, which missed its solicited March 1987 release to eventually ship out two months later on May 19, 1987.

The mounting delays led DC to cancel the original Watchmen #12 solicitation and resolicit it later for an eventual June 23 release.

So why were the issues late?

According to the late Len Wein, who was the series' primary editor, Watchmen was launched prematurely due to budgetary concerns.

“I told Paul Levitz, who was the editorial coordinator at the time, we needed six issues finished before we scheduled the book," Wein told CBR in 2008. "As I told him would happen, you hit a point where it took more than a month to produce the book. You started having the gap. I can’t completely complain. There are budgetary problems. You have so much material you need to produce a year. You’ve got budgets to work through. So, I’m sure Paul felt this book needs to be on the schedule to make the money for the company to return its budget.”

The concern over money was also shown with Watchmen's single issue cover price - $1.50, twice what DC's regular books like the newly-launched Man of Steel was ($.75).

However, DC was quick to collect the series into the better-known graphic novel just three months after #12 went on sale.

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