- The comic book industry is experiencing a trend of celebrities collaborating with comic book writers and artists, and this has the potential to revitalize the industry.
- The success of independent titles like Keanu Reeves’ “BRZRKR” demonstrates that celebrity involvement can attract new readers.
- Celebrity-created comic books not only bring attention to the profession of comic book writing but also offer a unique and different perspective.
The comic book industry has had several trends and gimmicks throughout the years, with some of them being more effective than others. Nowadays, there’s more focus on characters spawned by comics than ever, but the actual source material isn’t selling nearly as much as it can.
A growing trend in the comic book industry is for celebrities to work alongside comic book writers and artists to create wholly new intellectual properties. This might sound like a superficial gimmick, but it’s already proven to have a lot of potential. As this trope grows, it might even see the industry as a whole regain some of its former glory.
Tom Hardy is the Latest Celebrity to Produce a Comic
Actor Tom Hardy is no stranger to comic book characters, as he notably portrays Eddie Brock in Sony’s Venom movie series. He co-wrote the second entry,Venom: Let There Be Carnage, and previously played Bane in The Dark Knight Rises. Now, he’s making his first foray into the comic book industry proper with the upcoming book Arcbound, a series that he co-created with Scott Snyder, who is well-known for his creator owned works such as American Vampire and The Wake as well as his extensive runs on DC’s Batman and Justice League series.
Snyder is definitely one of the most prominent “superstar” writers of the past decade, and his name brings a certain amount of acclaim and reverence in and of itself. When combined with that of a Hollywood celebrity such as Tom Hardy, the result can definitely become a major success. After all, he earned himself a lucrative deal with Amazon writing comics, and he’s continued to have success even beyond mainstream comic books at DC. Success still isn’t necessarily guaranteed for Hardy, Snyder, and Arcbound, but there’s already one celebrity-driven independent title that proves its potential.
Keanu Reeves’ BZRKR is an Indie Comic Hit
Launching in 2021, the comic book BRZRKR from Keanu Reeves, Matt Kindt and Ron Garney was a completely original title with no ties to a pre-existing property. Although the main character physically resembles Reeves, it’s not based on any of his previous roles. Thus, the unmitigated success that it saw upon release took many in the industry by storm, especially since it was published by independent company Boom! Studios. The company is mainly known for its successful Power Rangers comic books, but BRZRKR put even those to shame.
The first issue of the series sold over 600,000 copies, reaching heights that no other comic book had in decades. Again, this was without the push of a major company or the appearance of mainstream comic book characters. Most importantly, the story was actually well-received, which is why adaptations in both live-action and animation have already been announced.
Matt Kindt’s previous works with companies such as Valiant Entertainment were also successful, but did not attain the heights that BRZRKR has reached. The same goes for Ron Garney, who’s never been the most mainstream name in comics. Even with credentials involving works such as the film I Am Legend, he’s not exactly an instant draw in the industry. Thus, the immense sales can be attributed to the celebrity status of Keanu Reeves and the novelty of him working on a comic book. This opens doors for the industry as a whole, and broadens the scope of the kinds of books that get adapted.
Celebrities Can Make Comic Book Writing Into a Lucrative Endeavor
It is somewhat commonly known that comic book writing is not the easiest way to attain wealth. It’s also not a career path that is easy to become involved in, namely because so few truly know much about it. On the other hand, a comic book that touts the fact that it’s written by a major celebrity certainly draws attention to the profession. This can bring about a stronger diversity of creators in an industry that’s now more than ever looking for the next generation of superstar artists and writers.
Likewise, the existence and success of books such as BRZRKR and Count Crowley (created by The Suicide Squad and Oppenheimer actor David Dastmalchian) shows the ingrained marketing of celebrity created comic books. While it’s arguable that these titles thrive more off the celebrity association than their own content, it’s inarguable that some of them achieve sales that even mainstream books from Marvel and DC can usually only dream of. Thus, these celebrities and their books are a key way to bring in new readers who might not otherwise pay attention to the industry. By seeing that names such as Keanu Reeves have comics, they might venture to shops or online retailers out of curiosity. This will expose them to a wide range of monthly titles, trades and graphic novels that they would not have ordinarily seen.
This is the type of growth that the industry needs to stay competitive against the dramatically increasing market space of manga and international comics. As noted, BRZRKR is also poised to receive a live-action adaptation. This project might switch things up from what most people associate with comic book movies. Instead of there being superhero fatigue among similar movies with the same tone, audiences would likely come to see how unique and different the source material can be thanks to the involvement of unexpected creatives that they recognize from an entirely different medium.
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