Keanu Reeves & BOOM! Studios Win SDCC by Bringing Comics to Hall H

The San Diego Comic-Con International made its big return this month. More than 130,000 people from around the world gathered in and around the city’s convention center to celebrate their favorite fandoms, many drawn from the pages of comics. Though comics have inspired the movies and shows that have taken over pop culture, it’s never actually the comics themselves that get the biggest buzz at conventions like this one — until this year, that is.

Now that SDCC 2022 is over, many fans are talking about which company “won” the show. On the one hand, it makes sense that the extremely expensive and lucrative movies and streaming shows would take the spotlight since there are such large audiences for these projects. On the other hand, when events like SDCC have the word “comic” in their names, it’s always a bit of a shame to see the actual comics get completely overshadowed. While many fans say that Marvel Studios “won” this year’s edition of SDCC, I would argue that it was indeed BOOM! Studios to accomplish something historic: putting comics back at the heart of Hall H. All it took was a little help from one of the world’s greatest actors.

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SDCC’s biggest news always comes from Hall H, a huge space that can seat more than 6,000 fans. This fan-favorite location is where the biggest studios, networks, and celebrities release announcements, debut trailers, and new information in the hopes of excite and excite people the hit of the convention. Many fans camp out and wait for hours for a chance to make it into the crowded space and check out presentations from Marvel Studios, Warner Bros. and more. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson gave an electrifying performance as Black Adam. Cast and Director of Shazam! wrath of the gods showed up with a debut trailer. Marvel Studios unveiled a host of new projects from Phase 5 and 6 and exciting footage from multiple films. Casts from upcoming shows like The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, The Sandmanand star trek gathered on stage to talk about their roles and upcoming stories.

Keanu Reeves is one of the most famous and beloved actors out there. The Matrix, speed, point break, John Wick, Bill & Ted’s excellent adventure — The list goes on and on. He did not appear as an actor for a panel in Hall H at the SDCC this year. No, he joined as a comic co-writer for the BRZRKR: The Immortal Saga Continues panel. Having Reeves alone can easily fill the 6,000+ seats in Hall H, but he was joined onstage by his co-writer Matt Kindt, artist Ron Garney, BOOM! Editor-in-Chief Matt Gagnon, Editor-in-Chief Eric Harburn, BOOM! Studios President of Development Stephen Christy and Mattson Tomlin, the screenwriter behind the upcoming BRZRKR Motion pictures.

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While Reeves and updates about BRZRKR Going beyond the pages of the comics were the big draws. Having comic creators and industry professionals share the stage for such a massive audience is a huge win for the comics industry. The packed audience was treated to a chat about the comic making process and a look at upcoming issues. Reeves and Kindt delved into the origins of the series and its development, while the rest of the team weighed in on the ongoing process of working on the comic and expanding the universe into other forms of media. Each person in the audience also received a poster of Garney’s art and clear instructions on how to start reading BRZRKR.

On a stage where comic book characters are often celebrated without ever seeing the actual comic art or hearing from the people who make the comics that BRZRKR Panel was a step in the right direction. We should see more of this at major conventions.

It’s great that so many people enjoy comic book movies and series, but every once in a while it’s nice to see that the actual source material gets the spotlight for a while. While it’s unrealistic to expect other publishers to show comics in Hall H without having a big name with them, Warner Bros. and Marvel Studios may be able to take a few small steps to improve the source material – and its creators – more to show admiration for future presentations. Imagine Zachary Levi telling the audience what his favorite is Shazam Story is, and then fans are encouraged to purchase it at their local comic book store or digital retailer. What if Kevin Feige told comic book fans what to read before phases 5 and 6 if they wanted to get even more excited about the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe? After all, none of this would exist without the comics and creators. It’s refreshing to see how a comic used to be celebrated in Hall H before it exploded in other media.

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Look, it’s clear this panel would never have made it to Hall H if Reeves hadn’t been on board, but let’s give credit where it’s due. They focused on the comics and had true comics industry professionals sharing the stage in the largest presentation space SDCC has to offer. If this presentation inspired even one person to read a comic for the very first time, then I would consider this panel the thing that SDCC “won”. People will always be interested in the future of Marvel and DC characters on the big screen, but this focus on the comics in SDCC’s largest room deserves more credit.

When asked about the history of comics in Hall H, this was what Comic-Con said: “There were panels in Hall H that focused on series of comic book titles, but to our recollection we can’t recall an earlier dedicated panel in Hall H is reminiscent of a single comic book title.” As such, BOOM! Studios BRZRKR Panel is a historic achievement. Hopefully it will inspire other publishers, studios, and networks to find ways to celebrate the very thing that serves as the basis for their multimillion-dollar projects: comics. Well done BOOM! Studios.

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