The indie smash hit's victory in the month of July has been tainted by accusations of cheating and illegal doping.
Diamond Comics released its top ten comics for July 2012, revealing that The Walking Dead #100 topped every single other comic last month. Almost immediately, doping accusations began to emerge from the Marvel/DC camps, leading Diamond to investigate claims that the Image book had somehow illegally enhanced its sales via performance enhancing drugs.
"There's simply no way that some black and white zombie book could defeat five titles dedicated to openly urinating on Alan Moore's legacy," said one fictional, unnamed source from DC.
"I can't see how a comic that makes constant permanent changes to the cast and makes bold plot choices could beat two installments of heroes pounding the tar out of each other for very poorly thought out reasons," added a Marvel source. "For crying out loud, we're actively ruining our own characters! That's worth at least 70,000 sales!"
Image, the publisher of The Walking Dead, immediately struck out at detractors. "Had this been another reboot or mindless event, fanboys would be gushing about how their company was on top," said Image publisher Eric Stephenson in a press release. "But since it's about a book that doesn't feature mild homoeroticism, it must be cheating." However, Stephenson did note that the publisher would comply with Diamond's investigation.
The title's sales were boosted by nine alternate covers, a tactic used by both Marvel and DC in the past. However, both companies dismissed the idea that such a gimmick would cause a massive jump in sales. "I know an artificial boost in sales from a sales gimmick," said a Marvel source. "That's not a sales gimmick, it's cheating. Plain and simple."
Already comparisons are beginning to emerge between Robert Kirkman and Ye Shiwen, the Chinese swimmer who's under similar scrutiny at the Summer Olympics. Shiwen is a teenaged Chinese girl, while Kirkman is the largest landholder (both in terms of girth and holdings) in the state of Kentucky. One swims, while the other writes for the comic book industry's third largest publisher. The similarities are hard to ignore.
In the mean time, The Walking Dead stands victorious in what's potentially a historic achievement for a non-superhero, non-Big Two comic book. Whether that record will stand will ultimately be decided by Diamond.
On an unrelated note, DC beat out Marvel in terms of market share, causing fans of both companies to yell at each other briefly before realizing that no one's opinion had changed from the previous month. Tea was served and light conversation between the two fangroups turned to more pleasant subjects, like the impending collapse of the Eurozone.