As we brought to your attention previously, Boom Studios is doing everything they can to make Keanu Reeves' BRZRKR with co-writer Matt Kindt and artist Ron Garney not just their biggest creator-owned launch ever, but their biggest launch in the history of the company period. That's right, bigger than Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #1 by Radiant Black creator Kyle Higgins (and future architect of the Image shared superhero universe), which outsold every comic book published by Marvel in March 2016. And perhaps bigger than Image's megahit Crossover byDonny Cates and Geoff Shaw, which was the highest-selling creator-owned title since Danger Girl in 1998.
That seems much more likely thanks to the recently announced 1-in-1000 autographed incentive. With copies already being listed for presale on eBay for between $2,400 to $3,600 while copies of other variants and retailer exclusives are selling at premiums including a sale of the Rafael Grampa 1-in-100 incentive at $189, a virgin Jay Anacleto retailer exclusive at $100, and a set of retailer exclusive variants by Diego Galindo selling for a staggering $600, it's clear that BRZRKR has connected with collectors and speculators well ahead of its February 24th release. Perhaps they are counting on some of the 14,571 fans who generated almost $1.5 million dollars in pre-orders for the collected editions of BRZRKR on Kickstarter being interested in the comic books as well?
We're also hearing that a number of retailers ordering the 1-in-1000 variant cover by Jonboy Meyers are planning on keeping the comic autographed by Reeves for their personal collections. Will that mean even bigger orders for Boom? Or even fewer available copies of the must-have variant for diehard Keanu-stans driving back issue sales to truly ludicrous heights?
We have another week to go before FOC for BRZRKR, but as we understand it, orders are already well into the six-figures for the first issue. The danger, of course, with any title that sells into comic shops at this level is whether or not it will sell through once it's on shelves. Boom has insulated retailers by making the entire series returnable, so retailers can take a big swing with no real risk.
Still, one might think that Boom is almost pushing too hard. But perhaps this newly revealed 1-in-25 (and 1-in-100) variant cover by Lee Bermejo gives us some clue as to why Boom, and retailers, think the potential audience for BRZRKR is larger yet.
Imagine if you will, three claws popping out of the fists of BRZRKR on this cover and it becomes clear – BRZRKR is Keanu Reeves as Wolverine. We know that Keanu is a longtime comic book fan having spent many hours at LA's famous Golden Apple Comics and professed that Frank Miller's Wolverine limited series was a seminal book for him personally. In fact, last summer Reeves admitted in an interview with Sirius XM that "I've always wanted to play Wolverine." This led to speculation that Keanu was in talks with Disney and Marvel to take on the character in their future X-Men franchise plans, which they acquired back from Fox. But what if Keanu wasn't talking about Marvel at all? What if a BRZRKR film is the way that Reeves intends to "play Wolverine"?
We know that Reeves can carry a film franchise or multiple ones like The Matrix and John Wick, and with Boom's new first look with Netflix, BRZRKR is sure to be hotly contested in Hollywood the minute that executives can make offers. And if that's the case, how much will the first appearance of BRZRKR be worth to collectors and fans?
An even more pressing question that retailers will be asking themselves over the next week, is how many Keanu Reeves fans do they have in their stores? How many more Wolverine fans do they have? And beyond that, how many new readers will need copies of BRZRKR in their collection thanks to the pre-awareness created by the record-breaking Kickstarter pre-order campaign?
We'll know in about a week's time as BRZRKR #1 FOCs on Monday, February 1st, but we expect Boom still has a few more reveals up their sleeve before orders are finalized.