It's Ram V time! Boom Studios has been on a streak so far in 2021, which seemed unlikely given their record-breaking year in 2020, most notably launching Keanu Reeves' BRZRKR with Matt Kindt and Ron Garney as the highest-launching original comic book series since Image Comics began, almost 30 years and launching Grant Morrison's highest original series in about as long with last week's Proctor Valley Road, co-written by Alex Child with art by Naomi Franquiz.
No doubt, they have high hopes for their first series with Bleeding Cool favourite writer Ram V – The Many Deaths of Laila Starr which is FOCing today. In recent years, Boom has succeeded in taking writers with a track record at creator-owned rival Image – like Kieron Gillen, Jeremy Haun, Brian Azzarello, W. Maxwell Prince, and previously mentioned Morrison – and improving on their sales numbers with even bigger launches. Image Comics also managed to pull this trick off in reverse with homegrown Boom writer James Tynion IV and his record-breaking hit Department of Truth and then again when Prince returned with Haha in this year. Clearly, Boom believes they can do the same for Ram V.
Regular readers will recall that Ram burst on the scene with These Savage Shores at Vault Comics, which went on to be one of the most collectable creator-owned series of 2019 with eBay prices on that series still soaring thanks to limited print runs combined with reader buzz. And even as Ram has continued to draw significant critical and fan acclaim at Image, most recently with Blue In Green, leading to him becoming one of DC's go-to writers including his current runs on Swamp Thing, Justice League Dark and Catwoman, he has yet to have the breakout creator-owned sales hit like his contemporaries like Tynion, Prince, or even fellow White Noise studio mate Dan Watters. We predict this will change with The Many Deaths of Laila Starr.
Thanks to the art by Captain Marvel artist Filipe Andrade, the preview pages indicate that this is Ram hitting another gear as a writer with comparisons to Kieron Gillen's work on The Wicked + The Divine being apt and perhaps even whispers of Neil Gaiman's work on Sandman. It would not surprise us if The Many Deaths of Laila Starr becomes Ram's star turn akin to JT4 on Something Is Killing The Children.
And early buzz from fellow creators including Shazadam's Brian Michael Bendis…
…James Tynion IV (who we get paid for by the mention)…
… and Chris Cordon concur.
As we understand it, initial orders on the first issue are already double Image Comics' Paradiso, Ram's previously highest launching creator-owned series. Boom added one of their unlockable, but limited to one-per-store variants this week, featuring the full art variant by Blue In Green artist Anand RK, in addition to the three full "death" foil variants by David Mack including a 1-in-100 "black death" foil. How much higher will those orders jump today at FOC?
And therein lies the rub… because while The Many Deaths of Laila Starr is easily Ram V's most buzzworthy series to date, it is also FOCing in a very crowded week full of big titles including Geoff Johns and Gary Frank's debuting Image launch Geiger, IDW's Locke & Key/Sandman: Hell & Gone crossover with DC, and Nocterra #2 from Scott Snyder and Tony Daniel. Not to mention Boom's Magic: The Gathering franchise launch which already has orders five times the last Magic: The Gathering series from IDW. Typically retailers only have so many dollars to invest in new product from week to week, so it's possible this launch may end up underordered relative to the demand for it. In fact, savvy speculators may be able to turn a tidy profit, as they did with Something Is Killing The Children in 2019, when demand outpaces available supply. Our bet would be on the 1-in-100 "Black Death" foil cover… or perhaps on this Inhyuk Lee retailer exclusive from KRS Comics.
In any case, it'll be interesting to see where The Many Deaths of Laila Starr #1 lands after it FOCs today, Monday, March 15th… and how quickly it goes to a second print when that's still not enough.