This coming Wednesday sees the release of the two full foil covers for BRZRKR #1 by Keanu Reeves, Matt Kindt, and Ron Garney, which at over 615,000 copies is the highest ordered series in almost 30 years.
But with fresh first printings arriving Wednesday, why did Boom rush to a second print? Not only did reorder demand wiped out the other covers at Diamond, but now the second print has sold out ahead of release – and will be allocated. This second print with cover art by series artist Garney also happens to be a full foil, requiring additional production time. We understand that Boom had to set a print run prior to finalizing orders and that retailers orders well exceeded their estimates… which means that allocations will occur. How severe is the allocation? I am hearing that the orders for this second printing – despite the arrival Wednesday of more first printings – came in at 300% of the print run. And while the second printing won't arrive in stores until April 7th, it seems safe to say that Boom will likely offer up a third printing to try and meet demand before then.
At the same time, retailers will have to finalize their orders for BRZRKR #2 this coming Monday, March 22nd before they see how many of the foil first issues they sell, even though issue #2 will not be in stores until April 28th. The longer than normal lead time allows for the foil covers on issue #2 (yes, there are two of those as well) to arrive in comic shops at the same time as the regular covers. With an incomplete picture of their sales on the first issue, how will retailers place their orders?
Plus while BRZRKR #2 sports covers by Rafael Grampá, Rafael Albuquerque, and John Paul Leon, it only has a 1-in-50, 1-in-100, 1-in-150, and 1-in-250 not the 1-in-500 and signed 1-in-1000 incentives on issue #1 that drove many retailers to place massive orders. On the other hand, Keanu Reeves has brought many new customers into comic shops, and even dropped by Golden Apple Comics himself recently… so retailers have to guess how many of those new customers will return for issue #2.
My understanding is that Boom still has a couple of surprises in store for retailers and fans on BRZRKR. The first has to be the mysterious, free "Boom Studios Surprise Incentive" tied to every three copies of BRZRKR #2 a retailer orders. What the "Surprise Incentive" is remains to be seen. How will Boom top the Magic: The Gathering ashcan they sent a couple weeks ago? Or the Something Is Killing the Children bandana mask they gave out at New York Comic-Con? Or the advance reader editions of Once & Future #1 they handed out to retailers in San Diego? Whatever it is, it's going to be rare as there will be one for every three copies of BRZRKR #2…
Will retailers use the safety net of returnability to ensure they have plenty of copies on store shelves? Or will they order more conservatively and potentially be caught shorthanded? And in either case, with the massive orders on issue #1, BRZRKR #2 could outsell creator-owned rival Image's biggest recent titles like Geoff Johns and Gary Frank's launch of Geiger or last month's hit from Scott Snyder and Tony Daniel's Nocterra or even 2020's smash hit Crossover by Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw? Even if retailers ordered less than half of what they did on issue #1, it would do so handily.
And lastly, what will happen when the seemingly inevitable movie announcement breaks for BRZRKR? If Key Collector is to be believed, it could happen at any moment…
BRZRKR #2 is up on FOC this coming Monday, March 22nd, while BRZRKR #1 foil covers release this coming Wednesday, March 24th and the BRZRKR #1 second printing is out on Wednesday, April 7th… if you can find a copy.