Wednesday, October 22, 2014

CRIMINAL Returns This January!

Image Comics released its January solicitations yesterday, and -- as we had hoped -- they included the big project that Ed Brubaker mentioned in the latest issue of The Fade Out, the "secret thing" he and Sean Phillips are doing for January.

In short, CRIMINAL is back in January, not only with the new trade paperback of "Coward" but with an all-new, extra-long one-shot -- the first new material in more than three years, as "The Last of the Innocent" concluded in October, 2011.


JANUARY 28 / 48 PAGES / FC / M / $4.99

To celebrate the return of CRIMINAL to print, BRUBAKER & PHILLIPS return to their award-winning title for the first time in years for a 48-page special sure the thrill their readers, old and new alike!

It's 1976, and Teeg Lawless is doing 30 days in county jail with a price on his head, his only safe company from the savagery a beat-up old comic magazine his dead cellmate left behind. It's CRIMINAL like you've never seen it before, with a comic within the comic and all those slick ‘70s thrills!

"Brubaker and Phillips are the gold standard of the crime graphic novel." – Warren Ellis
The "savagery" suggests a sword-and-sorcery comic like Marvel's Savage Sword of Conan, which began publication in 1974.  We'll see Sean Phillips' take on the genre with an over-sized magazine variant.


JANUARY 28 / 48 PAGES / FC / M / $5.99

As an added bonus—and due to the overwhelmingly positive response to the magazine-size variant of THE FADE OUT—the CRIMINAL SPECIAL EDITION will also be released in a Savage Edition, a variant in the style of magazine-size comics of the ‘70s!

Through Twitter, Brubaker confirmed that, as with The Fade Out movie magazine variant, this variant's print run will be limited to the amount ordered in advance, so to those who missed out the first time, Brubaker writes, "please tell your stores if you want the CRIMINAL magazine variant."


Image Comics followed up the solicitations with a press release focusing on the series that is "so good, it's CRIMINAL."
"We've been planning the return of CRIMINAL for the past year, and I couldn't let the launch go by without returning to our underworld for a new story," said Brubaker. "With FATALE and THE FADE OUT, we've been hearing from a lot of new readers, so it couldn't be a better time to get the thing we're most known for back on the shelves."
In addition to focusing on the one-shot, the press release also formally announces that Image is reprinting the series "in beautifully designed new editions, beginning in January."  As Brubaker mentioned in The Fade Out #2, the six trade paperbacks will be released "one-per-month, from January to June."


I personally couldn't be more thrilled with the news.  It's just a one-shot and not a full-fledged series, but as Thomas Sowell has observed, there are no solutions, only trade-offs.  As with the 8-page Batman Black and White short stories or especially the triptych of single-issue stories that comprised "The Dead and the Dying," a story that is strictly limited by page count offers a quite different experience than sprawling epics like Fatale and The Fade Out.

Criminal is Brubaker's only work listed in the January solicitations; missing is The Fade Out with Phillips and Velvet with Steve Epting.  As we reported earlier, they're taking a "short break" between story arcs:  neither book was listed in December, either, but since both books seem to be running a little behind, I wouldn't be surprised to see The Fade Out #4 and Velvet #10 released that month or even later.

Ed Brubaker confirms that The Fade Out will return in February, as the hiatus was only to focus on the Criminal one-shot -- and after that?

Criminal will return.
The Criminal 48-page one-shot retails for $4.99, the magazine-sized Savage Edition for $5.99, and the "Coward" trade paperback for $14.99 -- the same price as the original collection from Marvel's Icon imprint.

All three books are scheduled to reach stores on January 28th.

That's just 98 days away, not that we're counting.

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Friday, October 17, 2014

Bullets: The Fade Out's Second 2nd Printing, An Appearance, An Interview, and More.

We'll begin this crisp autumn weekend with a quick rundown of the latest news in the seedy world of Brubaker and Phillips.

Second printing for The Fade Out #2.  At the beginning of last week's New York Comic Con, Image Comics announced that The Fade Out #2 is one of three comic books to become an immediate sellout at the distributor level, resulting in the books being "fast-tracked to second printings in order to meet customer demand."
“I'm stunned,” said Brubaker upon hearing of THE FADE OUT’s sellout. “Our numbers went up and we still sold out. It's amazing to see such a fantastic response to such a labor of love from me and Sean and Bettie."
I haven't seen the cover art for the second printing, which I assume will be distinct from the first printing; we'll post the image as soon as we find it.

The second printing of The Fade Out #2 will reach stores on November 5th, the same day that issue #3 is scheduled to be released.

Postcards of Good Omens with Sean Phillips at Lakes.  As we announced in August, this weekend finds Sean Phillips attending the Lakes International Comics Art Festival in Kendal, England. His artwork is featured in a small exhibition at the Baba Ganoush Cafe, and the official program is now online.

This week, Phillips relayed on Twitter that he won't be bringing any books to sign -- his books should be available at vendors on-site -- but he is bringing the postcard featured above.

Phillips has been commissioned to draw some artwork for BBC Radio 4's adaptation of Good Omens, a humorous 1990 novel by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman.  The first released artwork is being printed on postcards that will be given away at the festival.

• Ed Brubaker Interviewed on The Treatment Podcast.  On Wednesday, Santa Monica's KCRW posted a thirty-minute interview with Ed Brubaker on their podcast, The Treatment.

Listeners will discover how The Sopranos led to Sleeper, that Brubaker has an older brother -- now an attorney -- whose well-written papers he sometimes resubmitted in school, and how quickly the sometimes foul-mouthed writer forgets that his interview will have to be bleeped for broadcast.

• Ed Brubaker Month at Sound on Sight.  Finally, the film-savvy pop-culture site Sound On Sight has declared October "Ed Brubaker Month," and there are already two essays quite worth reading:  a spotlight review of The Fade Out #2 and an examination of the unparalleled team of Brubaker and Phillips,

Dan Black's assessment of their body of work is worth quoting.
Each a master of their own craft, together they form one of the most distinct storytelling voices in all of comics. When I go to my local comics shop and flip through my pull list, the inevitable Phillips/Brubaker book just feels different in my hands. It’s like it came from another time, now out of print but still pristine and new. Maybe that’s because most of their books carry the weight of the past, histories on top of histories ploughing into the present.
He's right, their collaborative efforts are often better even than books that involve only one or the other.

Their work continues to reach new readers, and beyond assuring fans that we should get more books -- hopefully for years and years to come -- it's great to see that art this stellar is finding an audience.

There may be hope for the popular culture after all.

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Thursday, October 02, 2014

Big News Coming for Criminal Fans...

This week's new issue of The Fade Out is simply fantastic, with especially striking colors from Elizabeth Breitweiser, and we're not the only ones to notice.  Comic Book Round Up has already listed 17 uniformly positive and often glowing reviews.

As much as we're  enjoying the tale that's enfolding before our eyes, we would be remiss not to mention the first rumblings of big news down the road for Brubaker and Phillips.

In the extensive back pages of The Fade Out #2, Ed Brubaker mentions the new editions of Criminal, in  a brief comment that's worth printing in full, following the first new edition's cover art, which we first mentioned two weeks ago.

...speaking of [our] backlist, we heard from a lot of new readers this time, so if you're one of those, please check out our other books.  We have a lot of work in print, and we're just about to begin rereleasing the CRIMINAL books through IMAGE.  In fact, here's the cover (with our new design) for the first one, which will be out in January.
We'll be putting them out one-per-month, from January to June, and we'll have even more CRIMINAL news soon.  (I want to tell you now, I just can't yet.)
To summarize:
  • New editions of Criminal  are coming early next year, published by Image rather than Marvel's Icon imprint, with new cover art for all six volumes, to be released monthly beginning this January,
  • There's even more Criminal news coming soon.
  • As we covered two weeks back, Brubaker announced that he and Phillips are taking a break between arcs on both The Fade Out and Brubaker's spy comic Velvet, because "Me and Sean have a secret thing coming in January."
We don't know more than that, but it's not hard to begin connecting dots.

We can't wait -- and if you're a Criminal fan who didn't read this news first in The Fade Out #2, what are you doing?  Go down to your local comic shop and get caught up on the tawdry tale in Tinseltown, without delay!

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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Fade Out #2: Preview Today, In Stores Tomorrow.

The second issue in Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips' Golden-Age Hollywood noir is almost out, and we see that a three-page preview has just been posted at All-Comic, Comic Book Resources, and Comicosity, the latter of which lists the book in this week's Hot Five.

The dramatis personae continues to grow for what Brubaker promises to be a sprawling story.  The first issue began with a hangover from a wild party, and this issue begins with more serious consequences from that night, the funeral for the coulda-been starlet known as Valeria Sommers.

The Fade Out #2 is in stores tomorrow.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Final Fatale Collection, The Fade Out Reprint, and a Movie for Peg Entwhistle.

On sale today is the fifth and final trade paperback collection for Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips horror-noir epic, Fatale.  This edition of "Curse the Demon" is probably the last release for the series until we see the second deluxe hardcover collection; early last week, Brubaker confirmed that the hardcover is not yet "on the schedule."

Also in stores today is the second printing of The Fade Out #1, the latest series from Brubaker and Phillips.  Brubaker just got his copies of issue #2, which he relays is in stores next week.

The most interesting news concerns a Hollywood actress who died nearly 80 years ago.  The bonus essay in The Fade Out #1 was "The Lonesome Death of Peg Entwistle," by Devin Faraci, about an obscure actress who committed suicide in 1932:  she leaped off the "H" in the famous Hollywoodland sign, a month prior to her only appearance in film, in a movie called Thirteen Women.

Last Wednesday, the LA Times ran a story about a hundred people gathering in the neighborhood of Beachwood Village, on the anniversary of her suicide.  Just two days later, Deadline exclusively reported on plans to bring her story to the big screen, with Tony Kaye, the director of American History X, writing and planning on directing the film.

If the film does get made, they could get Sean Phillips to create the poster, basing it on the haunting artwork he created for the essay.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Gotham and the Big Apple This Week; Books Coming in January.

I almost missed it because it was rush-solicited, but today sees the release of a $1.00 special-edition reprint of the first full issue of Gotham Central, by Ed Brubaker, Greg Rucka, and Michael Lark.  The release coincides the debut of the FOX series Gotham, whose series premiere is this Monday, September 22nd; the comic book's cover is evidently branded with an ad for the new series.

We mentioned that, when the series was first announced last year, Brubaker and Rucka had no inside information.  It's become clear that the series is more like the Smallville TV series than the critically acclaimed comic series Gotham Central, except that a young Jim Gordon is the central character rather than a young Bruce Wayne.  I suspect that a series more closely modeled on Gotham Central would have been a lot more interesting.

Gotham Central focused on the Major Crimes Unit in Gotham, when Gordon was retired and even Bullock was off the force.  Batman wasn't a main character, but his presence in the city was still felt in almost every issue, primarily because the MCU resented his probably necessary interference.  And there was serious dramatic tension because -- even though the nature of DC's serialized universe made it a given that Batman would save the day and the major criminal would be captured but not killed -- you were never certain that these detectives and police officers would make it to the next shift.  Sometimes, they didn't.

I'm probably not going to watch the show, but I'm glad to see any publicity for Gotham Central, the series that kick-started my love of Brubaker's writing.  The complete 40-issue series has been collected in four volumes, in hardcover and trade paperback.


This Friday sees the premiere of Liam Neeson's latest thriller, A Walk Among the Tombstones, based on the novel by Lawrence Block, his tenth book about the New York private eye, Matthew Scudder.  Hard Case Crime has released the movie-tie in mass-market paperback of the book, and we have confirmed that, despite its movie poster cover, it is a true, numbered Hard Case Crime book, complete with the familiar yellow ribbon on the white spine.

This is the first time the novel has been in bookstores in nearly twenty years, and it's already on the top of my reading list for the week.  Brubaker and Phillips have something of a history with the crime imprint, as Criminal and Hard Case Crime advertised for each other in their books' back pages.  I'd like to see them work on a prose novel for HCC, but that's a subject for another time.


Finally, the commenter Hobo Keith just drew our attention to a few Amazon listings for books by Brubaker and Phillips, for books coming out very early next year.  Amazon has the first volume of The Fade Out scheduled for release on January 27th, 2015, and they have the same date listed for Image Comics' re-release of the first volume of Criminal, the first of presumably six "strikingly-designed new editions."

"Coward" is one of my favorite stories, and I'm still hoping we'll see a sequel.  With this new edition and a film adaptation in the works, perhaps "Coward's Way Out" isn't too far off.

We'll post more information about these trade paperbacks as it becomes available.  In the meantime, we genuinely appreciate the heads-up from Hobo Keith.

And these books might not be the only big releases from Brubaker and Phillips in January.  Just yesterday, Ed Brubaker tweeted to explain why both The Fade Out and Velvet are missing from Image's December solicitations: he's taking a break between  arcs for a secret project with Sean Phillips.

We can't wait.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Velvet #7 On Sale Today, with a Preview Online.

A very busy week offline is forcing me to keep things short and sweet, but the latest issue of Ed Brubaker's espionage comic with Steve Epting is out today:  Comic Book Resources posted a three-page preview of Velvet #7, and I've already seen two positive reviews, with Unleash the Fanboy giving the issue an 8 out ten, and Comic Vine awarding a perfect five-star review.

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