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Tuesday, July 21, 2020 

Keanu Reeves believes ultra-violence makes the best story for a comic

USA Today interviewed actor Keanu Reeves, who's written his first comic with Matt Kindt titled "BRZRKR" (the letters make me think of the Subaru BRZ, a rebadged model of the Toyota GT86), and it's marketed - wouldn't you know it - on being most jarringly violent:
Illustrated by Alessandro Vitti, the action-packed and hyperviolent “BRZRKR” centers on a warrior who looks a lot like a certain beloved actor and has walked a blood-soaked path across the world for centuries. In present day, the Berzerker performs dangerous jobs for the U.S. government in exchange for the truth about his existence.

Last year, Reeves met with Boom! about creating material for live-action vehicles, and he pitched them on “this character who was born 80,000 years ago, half man, his father's a war god. It's a little fantasy in reality,” Reeves says. “I had this image in my head of a guy fighting through the ages because of his father's compulsion to violence,” but with the pathos of a man “trapped and trying to figure it out.”

[...] Reeves brings creativity to “the action and the backstory of the characters," Kindt says, "and he's been open to me inserting my fascination for history, conspiracies and espionage into the mix along with a fragmented narrative structure.”
But as highlighted above, he also brings quite a bit of bloody mayhem, the reported sense of humor notwithstanding. And this all grew out of a proposal to produce comics as a wellspring for film adaptations, which has become yet another serious problem with how comics are produced these days.
As far as the ultraviolence goes, Reeves and Kindt share in the brutality.

“It's like, ‘Yeah, I think it would be fun just to see him punch through someone's chest or pull out a rib or rip an arm off,’” Reeves says. The Berzerker “can heal to a certain extent, so it's fun to have these kinds of outrageous consequences and still have the character kind of moving forward.”

The guy drawing those fight scenes loves them, too: They “really gave me the sense that I was on a Hollywood movie set,” says Vitti, who rewatched Reeves’ “John Wick” movie trilogy “for research purposes and inspiration.”
John Wick 3 did have its share of alarmingly violent moments too. And where else did they draw inspiration from?
“You're going to camp, so there's like ‘Richie Rich’ around and then you get a little older and your mom's boyfriend has ‘Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers’ and some alternative comics," Reeves says. "You get into ‘Ghost Rider’ and you start reading Frank Miller’s 'Dark Knight,’ and your mind is blown."
This is testimony to the sad influence Frank Miller's 1986 GN's had for so many years. I'm sorry, but this only convinces me further why DKR was an unfortunate moment in comics history. And above all, what Reeves is preparing with Boom Studios now is just another example of Hollywood's obsession with violence that's become far too influential, and needs to change. I wish I could say I'm flattered Reeves wants to give comics writing a try. But his visions for what makes suitable entertainment only make me feel discouraged.

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  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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