- 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 shows that celebrity involvement can attract new readers.
- Celebrity-created comics not only bring attention to the comic writing profession, but also offer a unique and different perspective.
The comic book industry has had several trends and gimmicks over the years, some of which have been more effective than others. There’s more focus on comic book characters than ever these days, but the actual source material doesn’t sell as much as it could.
A growing trend in the comics industry is for celebrities to work alongside comic writers and artists to create entirely new intellectual properties. This may sound like a superficial gimmick, but it has already been proven to have great potential. With the rise of this trope, the industry as a whole may even regain some of its former glory.
Tom Hardy is the latest celebrity to produce a comic book
Actor Tom Hardy is no stranger to comic book characters as he most notably portrayed Eddie Brock in the Sony film Poison film series. He co-wrote the second record,Venom: Let There Be Carnageand previously played Bane in The Dark Knight: Resurgence. Now he’s making his first foray into the comics industry with the upcoming book Arcbounda series he co-created with Scott Snyder, who is well known for his own work as American Vampire and The awakening as well as his extensive appearances in DC Batman and League of Justice series.
Snyder is definitely one of the most famous “superstar” writers of the last decade, and his name alone carries a certain amount of recognition and reverence. When combined with that of a Hollywood celebrity like Tom Hardy, the result can definitely turn into a big success. After all, he earned himself a lucrative deal with Amazon to write comics, and he went on to have success even beyond the mainstream DC comics. Success isn’t necessarily guaranteed for Hardy, Snyder and Arcboundbut there’s already one celebrity-focused indie title proving its potential.
Keanu Reeves’ BZRKR is an independent comic
Released in 2021, the comic BRZRKR by Keanu Reeves, Matt Kind and Ron Garney was a completely original title with no ties to any pre-existing property. Although the main character physically resembles Reeves, this is not based on any of his previous roles. Thus, the unmitigated success it saw upon its release took many in the industry by storm, especially since it was published by independent company Boom! Studio. The company is mostly known for its success Power Rangers comics, but BRZRKR put even these to shame.
The first issue of the series sold over 600,000 copies, reaching heights that no other comic had in decades. Again, this was without the pressure of a major company or the appearance of major comic book characters. Most importantly, the story was actually well-received, which is why both live-action and animated adaptations have already been announced.
Matt Kind’s previous works with companies such as Valiant Entertainment were also successful, but did not reach the heights that BRZRKR reached The same goes for Ron Garney, who has never been the most mainstream name in comics. Even with the credentials including works like the movie I Am Legend, he doesn’t exactly have instant appeal in the industry. Thus, the huge sales can be attributed to Keanu Reeves’ celebrity status and the news that he is working on a comic book. This opens doors for the industry as a whole and expands the range of types of books being adapted.
Celebrities can turn comic book writing into a lucrative venture
It’s somewhat common knowledge that writing comics isn’t the easiest way to get rich. It’s also not an easy career to get into, namely because so few really know much about it. On the other hand, a comic that touts the fact that it’s written by a major celebrity certainly draws attention to the profession. This could lead to a greater diversity of creators in an industry that is 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 Earl of Crawley (created by The Suicide Squad and Oppenheimer actor David Dastmalchian) shows the entrenched marketing of celebrity-created comics. While it’s arguable that these titles thrive more on the celebrity association than their own content, it’s undeniable that some of them achieve sales that even mainstream Marvel and DC books can usually only dream of. Thus, these celebrities and their books are a key way to attract new readers who might not otherwise pay attention to the industry. When they see that names like Keanu Reeves have comics, they may venture into stores or online retailers out of curiosity. This will expose them to a wide range of monthly titles, deals, and graphic novels that they wouldn’t normally see.
This is the type of growth the industry needs to remain competitive against the dramatically growing manga and international comic market space. As noted, BRZRKR is also set to get a live-action adaptation. This project could change things from what most people associate with comic book movies. Instead of having superhero fatigue among similar films with the same tone, audiences are likely to see how unique and different the source material can be thanks to the involvement of unexpected creators who recognize from a completely different background.