As we informed you last week, Keanu Reeves' record-setting BRZRKR #1, with co-writer Matt Kindt and artist Ron Garney, has gone to a fourth printing featuring a brand new cover by Rafael Grampa. It's also a full foil cover, just like the second and third printings, but this time publisher Boom Studios has opted for a later release date so they can fill retailers' orders in full. In part because of retailer complaints about the delays of previous foils, Boom set a print run in advance of retailer orders so they could deliver the printings in stores quickly.
And that's why the second printing, which features the first cover art by series artist Garney and arrived in stores last Wednesday, continues to tear up eBay with prices still hitting $100 and even as high as $125 last week… which makes this sale at $52 last week a bargain. Looking at the flurry of sales in the last week, which may been helped by Key Collector designating the second print their "Key of the Week", it appears to be settling out at an average price of closer to $75. As we shared with you earlier, despite a sizable print run Boom had to allocate retailers down to 33% of their orders and that's certainly the key driver for fans and collectors scrambling to complete their collections.
Meanwhile, that's what makes the third printing with cover art by Once & Future artist Dan Mora even more interesting in some ways… because Boom announced a 10,000 copy print run ahead of FOC to try and assuage retailer fears of allocation, but it appears to have had the opposite effect. Instead of ordering what they needed for their customers, some retailers increased their orders dramatically to try and get what they wanted. This resulted in Boom having to allocate down to approximately 14% of the ordered copies. The question is – what will drive collector and speculator behavior more? A lower print run as is the case with the second printing? Or a higher allocation of orders as is the case with the third printing?
Which brings us to the fourth printing, which retailers finalized their orders for yesterday. As we mentioned earlier, Boom opted this time to not print the book in advance and instead let retailers finalize their orders first which they did to the tune of almost 24,000 copies. By our count, that brings the total sales of BRZRKR #1 to somewhere in the neighborhood of 660,000 copies. And it means that fans won't be able to get their hands on the fourth printing until over a month from now on May 19th. It also means that BRZRKR keeps getting bigger and bigger with each subsequent printing, which is practically unheard of in the market if you are any series other than James Tynion IV and Werther Dell'Edera's Something Is Killing The Children or Kieron Gillen and Dan Mora's Once & Future.
Meanwhile, Boom's full foil program continues to heat up the market, originating with their Local Comic Shop Day editions, most notably Something Is Killing the Children #1, and increasing orders on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It's likely to heat up the upcoming The Many Deaths of Laila Starr #1 next, which has already gone back for a second printing before release, so watch for aftermarket prices on the foil variants (including the 1:50 and 1:100 "Death Foils" we brought to your attention previously).
You'd think the market has more than enough copies of BRZRKR, but we're hearing that BRZRKR #2 is also heading for a sell out ahead of its release on April 28th. What will the second printing orders for that second printing look like? Will Boom run into the same allocation issues they did on issue #1? We will, of course, keep you informed as the whole industry continues to go BRZRK.