Last month, we asked how retailers would order BRZRKR #3 given all of the momentum and variables surrounding the series created and co-written by Keanu Reeves with Matt Kindt and artist Ron Garney. Well, it appears that retailers are still trying to figure out their levels for the best-selling comic in comic stores in nearly 30 years.
As we understand it, the third issue FOC'd with orders higher than the second issue, which was already estimated to be the highest ordered comic in April by Comichron, and we confirmed as having sold 148,000 copies (and also showing . And while BRZRKR #3 won't be outselling Todd McFarlane's Spawn Universe #1, it outpaces every other Image launch in recent memory (even Skybound X when it really shouldn't). Not only does this indicate that retailers are selling through better than they expected, but possibly that they are trying to avoid having to go back for second prints. The third issue released in stores last week, and reorder activity has been brisk even though publisher Boom Studios increased their overrun to accommodate. Have Boom and retailers figured out their levels for BRZRKR? Or will another printing be required for this issue as well? And despite the one retailer offering a lot of 432 copies of BRZRKR #1, I'm also hearing that now that the final tally is back, the return rate for BRZRKR #1 is unprecedentedly low, particularly for a book that was ordered at the levels it was, and a fraction of the industry's average return rate for big hits over the last year. Whether this is because retailers who sold through the copies they ordered are betting on the long term value of the first comic character created by Keanu or Netflix making the BRZRKR movie and anime series they have in development, or simply because they're grateful for all of the money Neo and Boom brought into their stores this year… the bottom line is not many copies of BRZRKR #1 came back, which must have lowered blood pressure at Boom HQ considerably. And while as I understand it, Boom still has a bigger launch yet to be announced for this year, they're hoping BRZRKR's heat translates to robust orders for their next original launch from another Hollywood insider, albeit not quite on the level of John Wick himself.
Up for Final Order Cutoff, this coming Monday is Dark Blood #1 by LaToya Morgan, a screenwriter with geek cred on TV series like The Walking Dead and Into The Badlands. She's currently in an overall deal with Warner Brothers developing a series called Duster with J.J. Abrams. She also spearheaded AMC's inclusion initiative that resulted in Rob Guillory getting his Image comic Farmhand into development. Boom seems to think Morgan and Dark Blood, along with series artist Walt Barna have some serious potential because they paid to place it and Bitch Planet's Valentine De Landro's striking cover on their one Previews catalog cover for the year. More on that before the end of the week, but for now, Boom can continue basking in BRZRKR continuing to defy the odds.