Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Bullets: The Noir Series, The Collected Hellblazer, and The Fade Out.

• Brubaker's Play, to be Rebroadcast. This weekend's production of The Noir Series was quite enjoyable, with Ed Brubaker's "Air Conditioned Rooms" being a real highlight.  The four-play anthology provided a good mix of suspense, black comedy and even vaudevillian humor, and if the streaming simulcast was a little rough around the edges, the hiccups added to the effect of watching a new take on Playhouse 90 and the other dramatic anthologies from television's early years.

The Heretick Theatre Lab relays that the The Noir Series will be rebroadcast, and we'll try to pass along the details once they're made available.



• Phillips' Hellblazer, Being Reprinted.  In the meantime, we would be remiss not to follow up on the latest from Sean Phillips:  new collections of early work on Vertigo's Hellblazer.  Phillips was the primary artist for 37 issues initially with writer Eddie Campbell around the end of 1994 and primarily with writer Paul Jenkins.

We first reported the news in March, but after twenty years, the first 13 issues of his run was collected and published just last month in trade paperback, as Hellblazer Volume 9: Critical Mass.

The next 11 issues are due on February 11th, in Hellblazer Volume 10: In the Line of Fire.

On Halloween, appropriately enough, Sean Phillips posted some in-progress work of the new cover art he's creating for this upcoming volume.  What began with digital sketches, he finished as an 18-inch painting; he writes that is "the first Hellblazer cover I've painted since 1998."



• The Fade Out #3, Out Today with a Preview Online. Finally, the latest issue of The Fade Out is in stores today, preceded by a six-page preview posted Monday at Comic Book Resources and Comicosity.   An early review by Flickering Myth confirms what the preview suggests, that we're getting a closer look at the story's larger cast of twisted and broken characters.

It's a good time to be fans of both creators: alongside Brubaker's new work in a different medium and Sean Phillips' new collections of his early work for DC's Vertigo line, we're continuing to get regular doses of the unique alchemy of Brubaker and Phillips together.

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Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Brubaker's Air Conditioned Rooms, On Stage and Online This Weekend!

Today sees the publication of the second printing for The Fade Out #2.  I haven't been able to find the cover art for this edition, so I'm not sure how it varies from the first printing, and it appears that issue #3 has been rescheduled to next week.

UPDATE, 11/7:  Going from a listing on the online secondary market, it appears that the second printing's cover uses a black-and-white version of Sean Phillips' artwork, combined with the bloody/inky red logo for The Fade Out.  Republished below, the monochrome approach makes the cover seem more like a still from an old horror movie, even if it's a bit less striking than the quasi-photo negative used for the debut issue's second printing.



This week's other big release is the latest issue in Ed Brubaker's retro spy comic.  Velvet #8 is in stores today, and Comic Book Resources has a three-page preview.

Even bigger news is what I believe to be Ed Brubaker's debut as a playwright, with a play that can be seen in person and on the web.



Teased in September and announced in early October, Brubaker's play is part of a live theater experience that will be filmed in HD, mixed in real time, and streamed online.

"The Noir Series" is a live production by the new Heretick Theater Lab. The Culture Mom blogs that the series is comprised of four thematically linked, interactive plays, and a news story published today at the Clyde Fitch Report elaborates that the series is being performed in Schkapf Theatre, a 67-seat black box theater in Los Angeles.

Heretick Lab explains, "We’re going to put on a play and film it, then we’re going to present it to you in your living rooms. Sure it’s crazy talk, and dreams will most likely be crushed, but that’s LA, that’s theatre - that’s Noir."

Along with "Air Conditioned Rooms" by Ed Brubaker, the series features plays from the Captain America screenwriter Stephen McFeely, filmmaker John Hindman, and a comedy partnership called the Burglars of Hamm.

On Twitter, Brubaker confirms that the series is "one event [produced] four times over a weekend," so you can catch all four plays in a single showing, with evening shows on Friday and Saturday, November 7th and 8th, and matinees on Saturday and Sunday, the 8th and 9th.

Opening night concludes with a Q&A in the lobby, with Brubaker in attendance, but this first show is already sold-out in person.

Patrons online can still watch any single performance for $7.99 or all four performances for $20.

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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.




CRIMINAL SPECIAL EDITION (ONE-SHOT)
story: ED BRUBAKER
art: SEAN PHILLIPS & ELIZABETH BREITWEISER
cover: SEAN PHILLIPS

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

CRIMINAL COMES TO IMAGE!
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.



CRIMINAL SAVAGE EDITION MAGAZINE-SIZE VARIANT
story: ED BRUBAKER
art: SEAN PHILLIPS & ELIZABETH BREITWEISER
cover: SEAN PHILLIPS

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

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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