As we first informed you, Keanu Reeves' BRZRKR #1 with Matt Kindt and Ron Garney is the highest ordered comic book in comic shops in almost 30 years at 625,000+ copies. And just yesterday, 134,000 new first printings of BRZRKR #1 arrived in comic shops in the form of two foil covers already causing quite a stir courtesy of. But first on Monday night, retailers finalized their orders for BRZRKR #2 and delivered to publisher Boom Studios their second-highest ordered comic book from comic shops in the history of the company.
As we understand it, orders for BRZRKR #2 came in at almost 148,000 copies, which not only makes it one of the biggest releases in April, but puts it neck-and-neck with creator-owned rival Image's biggest launches – last year's megahit Crossover by Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw and Scott Snyder and Tony Daniel's Nocterra. Even more noteworthy is that BRZRKR #2 fetched those orders without Crossover's 50 retailer-exclusive variant covers, BRZRKR #1's 36 exclusives, or Nocterra's more modest 18 store exclusives. By comparison, Boom made no retailer exclusives available for BRZRKR #2 (in addition to no 1-in-500 or 1-in-1000 incentives), meaning that these impressive sales numbers reflect how quickly retailers are selling through their copies of issue #1.
The question that now begs asking is – will 148,000 copies of BRZRKR #2 be enough? Or is it possible that BRZRKR #2 will become a hot chase issue due to demand outpacing supply?
In normal circumstances, the answer would be a resounding "No," but these are far from normal circumstances. The first wrinkle is that Boom's first look partner Netflix announced on Monday morning that they were putting BRZRKR into development as not only a feature film, but also a follow-up anime series. Both the movie and anime will, of course, star John Wick himself. That announcement did break before the FOC period closed for BRZRKR #2, but many retailers were not able to adjust their orders due to busy days at their stores. I'm hearing that chatter amongst retailers is that the Netflix announcement caused a flurry of sales for issue #1 at the beginning of the week. I'm also hearing that a third printing for BRZRKR #1 is imminent after the second printing's allocation.
The second wrinkle was the reveal of Boom's "surprise incentive" just six hours before FOC closed on Monday. The surprise was spoiled by some retailers receiving copies of BRZRKR #1 foil covers early on Monday and discovering a promotional card inserted in every copy. The card revealed a surprise promotion that retailers would be receiving free copies of Boom's other gigantic hit series, Something Is Killing The Children #1 by James Tynion IV and Werther Dell'Edera. Further, that fans could secure a copy of this eighth printing on April 28th by purchasing BRZRKR #2 along with showing their local comic shop their proof-of-purchase for BRZRKR #1. After being discovered, this information was leaked onto several key collector and speculator sites and chat groups causing Boom to scramble to respond to retailer confusion and complaints. As I understand it, the chats in private message boards have been quite active along with emails and direct messages flying back and forth between retailers and Boom. More details on this soon, but in the meantime, retailers now know there is an additional reason for fans and collectors to pick up BRZRKR #2 on April 28th.
Beyond that, we expect that this promotion will not only cause some retailers to scramble for second and third printings of BRZRKR #2, but have to re-examine their already significant orders on Something Is Killing The Children collections and the return of Something Is Killing The Children in May with issue #16, start of the "Origin of Erica Slaughter" arc. One thing is certain, BRZRKR looks like it will be in the spotlight for some time to come.