Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Brubaker/Phillips: Partial Reprint of Gotham Noir and Newly Found Inventory of Criminal Deluxe Hardcovers.

Yesterday Image Comics released its December solicitations, and we see that nothing is scheduled from Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips:  we'll apparently have to wait until the January solicits, at the earliest, to get more info on the partial cover art we mentioned in our last post, which seems to show Dylan being institutionalized.

We still have a couple things to cover today.

Just last week ComicList published a press release announcing a "free new, promotional comic BATMAN IN NOIR ALLEY from Turner Classic Movies and DC."

The comic promotes a new "programming franchise" from the always great TCM. Noir Alley features a different noir classic each Sunday at 10 am ET and is hosted by Eddie Muller, founder and president of the Film Noir Foundation.

This promotional comic includes cover art by Dan Panosian, a new 14-page story by Stuart Moore and Valentine De Landro, and a 14-page excerpt of Batman: Gotham Noir by Brubaker and Phillips.

Gotham Noir was the team's second collaboration and the first featuring artwork entirely by Sean Phillips.  It was originally printed as a prestige-format Elseworlds comic in 2001, then reprinted in 2011, and it's well worth checking out -- but as someone who already has Gotham Noir, I'm just as interested in the other, all-new Batman story.

In a separate press release announcing the comic -- and a 360-degree experience and a 7-episode digital feature -- TCM gives a few more details:
The free comic book follows Batman and [TCM host Eddie] Muller on the trail to solve a case after the famed Moroccan Raptor goes missing from the Gotham City Museum. Written by Stuart Moore and cover art by Dan Panosian, the comic is available in select comic-book stores nationwide starting today and will also be available in DC’s booth at NY Comic-Con in October. [emphasis mine]

Batman In Noir Alley is in stores today, but supplies are presumably limited for the free book.

The other bit of news is about Criminal, more specifically its two deluxe hardcover editions.  In August, we relayed some info about new listings for the books found on Amazon: Sean Phillips explained online that the listings are for old stock that was found in a warehouse.

These two books were included in ComicList's rundown of Image's new releases for the week of September 6th, albeit without verification from Diamond Comic Distributors.  Since then, more info has been relayed in a CBR forum thread, after one forum member reached out to retailers and publishers.

The retailer InStockTrades is quoted as writing, "These items are not new printings. These are copies of the old printings that were recently found and have been transferred to Image from Marvel. The books say Icon on the spine and on the inside of the books it says Marvel. The only difference is that Image added a sticker to the back of the book to cover up the Marvel ISBN and to show an Image ISBN. Please let us know if you have any other questions."
Image Comics was asked whether there are plans for true reprints of the deluxe editions, and they replied, "We don't currently have a release date for that Criminal edition, but keep an eye out on the website for any updates. Thank you!"
Between the two volumes, the books collect all the Criminal stories that Brubaker and Phillips released while the title was being published through Marvel's Icon imprint.

Volume 1 collects the following:
  • Coward
  • Lawless
  • The Dead and the Dying
  • "No One Rides for Free", the short-story "emission" from Liberty Comics #1
  • "Caught in the Undertow," the prose story from the very first issue
And Volume 2 rounds out the work before the team's big move to Image.
  • Bad Night
  • The Sinners
  • The Last of the Innocent
  • "21st Century Noir," the short-story "emission" from Dark Horse's Noir: A Collection of Crime Comics
Both books have a complete set of cover artwork, lots of artwork that Phillips created for the bonus essays, and some behind-the-scenes features.

Personally, we'd like to see truly new printings, perhaps ones that make some very minor changes to how the oversized hardcovers present the material.  We wonder just how much new stock was discovered, and -- between the two one-shots (collected in Wrong Time, Wrong Place) and the upcoming "novella" -- we wonder how much material would be needed for a third volume.

While we think it would definitely be overkill to buy a second copy of these books just for the Image ISBN sticker, we have long considered these editions to be must-have books for Criminal fans.

...and we greatly appreciate the heads-up from Kevin Sels, who pointed us to the CBR forums!

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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Bullets: Undertow Podcast on KOBK #11, Preview of KOBK #12, and Much More!

Lots happening today:  the latest episode of The Undertow Podcast was just published, with a lengthy look at Kill Or Be Killed #11, and Image Comics has released a suspense-filled three-page preview of issue #12, which reaches stores tomorrow.

We have more details on both in a quite lengthy post below, along with a few other items.

Undertow Podcast on KOBK and Kirbyesque Craziness.  Robert and I very recently recorded our thoughts on issue #11, the first chapter in the series' third arc and an apparent turning point in Dylan's effort to leave behind his new career in vigilante justice.

With its reprise of the series' opening flash-forward and a renewed focus on whether Dylan is delusional or truly demon-possessed, the issue seemed to be a kind of response to the discussions we've had in earlier episodes -- just as it was awfully eerie to read that Rex was a family man who liked reruns of Perry Mason.  The creators probably don't listen in, but it's still gratifying to see that our close look at the book is paying off down the road.

As always, episodes of The Undertow Podcast are available on iTunes and at Podbean.  We hope everyone enjoys listening as much as we do making this show, and if you do, we'd appreciate your spreading the word, especially with an iTunes review.

And if Ed, Sean, and/or Bettie do listen in... hi, y'all! We hope ya like the show.

In addition to discussing KOBK, I heartily recommended Strange Science Fantasy, a 2010 mini-series by Scott Morse and IDW.  Marvel and DC are both commemorating the 100th anniversary of the birth of "King Kirby," and I can think of no better book to recommend than this one, which honors Kirby with entirely new tales.

I stumbled across the series when it was first published in monthly issues.  I was immediately struck by the cover art, which we're including above.  The covers sum up the book quite nicely:  loose artwork and bombastic narration telling almost primal stories of heroism.  Each issue tells a complete story, which is why it was so much fun to read the serialized issues, but readers will discover a work that is greater than the sum of its individual chapters.

I quoted at-length from two articles that give a good introduction to the work, CBR's 2010 interview with the creator and a 2011 review at Full Stop, by a reader who is frustrated by the melodrama of modern comics and their sprawling continuity.

Those who like this book might also enjoy other works by Morse, including the crime story Volcanic Revolver, the boxing tale in Southpaw, and the autobiographical Tiger! Tiger! Tiger!  I still find that Strange Science Fantasy is the most complete, most satisfying work I've read by Scott Morse.

I can't imagine that the book will be to everyone's taste, but those who are intrigued by the premise and especially the cover art should definitely give it a shot.

Updates on Sean Phillips Projects: Femme Fatale Beer and The Spirit of Eisner Newspaper.  In the podcast, we mention a few recent developments on Sean Phillips' side projects, and we should definitely make note of them here.

In our last blog post, we relayed news about that mysterious Rita Hayworth artwork that the artist had previously teased:  Sean Phillips has created four can designs for Femme Fatale beer, a Herzog Kolsch style beer to be brewed by North Brewing Co. and sold at Tall Boys Beer Market in Leeds, England, commemorating OK Comics' 15th birthday with a party toward the end of next week's Thought Bubble Comic Art Festival.

In addition to the beer, the announcement noted the sale of "a small quantity of limited edition prints, based on the Sean Phillips beer can designs. They will be signed, framed and ready to display."

On Twitter, OK Comics has since provided more info on these prints, including a photo of the framed artwork, which we're reposting above.  The signed and framed print will sell for 20 pounds, and while they anticipate the store will sell out quickly, Jared promises that the store will stock the item until the supply runs out.

For those of us unable to visit the festival next week, even better news came from Sean Phillips himself, tweeting his own announcement about new prints launching at Thought Bubble in Leeds.  As before, the prints are of the artist's favorite femme fatales, but -- going by the photo he posted, shown above -- there's a separate print for each actress, and the artwork is unadorned by the beer can layout.

In that tweet and elaborating on Instagram, Phillips relays that leftover prints will be available after the festival, in his online store at Big Cartel.

The other big news is for another big festival in England -- the Lakes International Comic Art Festival in mid-October.  In May, we noted the announcement of the festival's Spirit of Eisner newspaper comic, which Phillips is coordinating and which will include a one-page story by Brubaker and Phillips; in August, we highlighted preview art from the Brubaker/Phillips contribution and hints at creators not mentioned in the original press release.

Since then, Sean Phillips has pinned a tweet with the apparent cover art of the newspaper broadsheet comic, shown above -- and he's given followers on social media previews of more artists' contributions, including Jason Latour and Bryan Hitch (drawing a story written by Jonathan Ross).

It looks like Phillips' rendition of the Will Eisner's celebrated masked hero is in the upper right corner, and the previously seen signed drawing by Michael Cho is in the bottom right corner.

The comic is part of a celebration of Eisner's centenary: Will Eisner was born in Brooklyn in March, 1917; Jack Kirby was born less than six months later, across the East River in Manhattan.  The festival's page for the nearly month-long "Spirit of Eisner" art exhibition describes the comic as "a 12-page broadsheet newspaper with 10 self-contained stories," and Cho is not listed as one of the contributors.

On Twitter, Phillips describes the book as "twelve massive pages of awesome Spirit stories," and the twelve images on the cover seems to come from 12 quite distinctive works.  We wonder if the final book is a little bigger than originally advertised.

According to the official site, "The newspaper will be on sale at the festival with proceeds towards LICAF’s Artists’ Development Fund."  We're still hoping the comic will also be available for purchase online.

• More Details on the Criminal Graphic Novella.  Another item briefly covered in the podcast is the Criminal graphic novella that was first announced in June.  In the back pages of KOBK #11, Ed Brubaker gave readers a little more information.
  • Sean Phillips is confirmed as the book's artist, and he'll work on the title alongside drawing the monthly issues of Kill Or Be Killed
  • The book's publication should be in 2018, most likely in the summer or fall.
  • The format will be similar to the recent adaptation, from Dark Horse Comics, of Neil Gaiman's short story How to Talk to Girls at Parties.
  • The story's central character is from the first Criminal tale, "Coward," but not Leo or Gnarly. 
We confirmed that the Gaiman adaptation, by Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá, is a traditional comic of sequential artwork.  It is not a book of illustrated prose, like Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess' Stardust.

Personally, I wonder if the upcoming book's protagonist might be Genuine Jen Waters, the old friend of Leo and Tracy who now works as a cop in the Internal Affairs Department, a pariah among both her old friends and her current coworkers.

• Kill Or Be Killed Allusions and Illustrations.  Finally, we come back to Kill Or Be Killed, beginning with the movie mentioned in today's online preview.  It would be easy enough for curious readers to track down the movie title online, but we recognized it fairly quickly as The Edge, whose trailer is embedded above.  Wikipedia notes that the 1997 thriller, starring Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin, is also one of the last film appearances for the trained Kodiak Bart the Bear, who naturally enough has his own entry.

That preview isn't the only hint of things to come:  as we also noted in the podcast, Sean Phillips has been posting a detail of a piece of artwork in several stages of development -- here, here, and presumably completed here -- and we're reposting the latest version below.

We can't help but notice the familiar row of fangs in the upper right corner, and we suspect that this is another piece of artwork from Dylan's disturbed dad.

If that image weren't eerie enough, in his Instagram feed and reposted in Twitter, Sean Phillips has provided previews -- here, here, and just today here -- of an impasto-style painting, what is now undoubtedly an upcoming cover to Kill Or Be Killed, possibly issue #15 kicking off a new arc or perhaps a new cover for the third arc's trade collection.

We're wrapping this overlong post with that last preview, posted without commentary.

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Friday, August 25, 2017

Bullets: November Solicits, Postcards and Beer Cans, and More!

We saw a very cool tweet from Sean Phillips today:

Wikipedia's featured article for today, August 25th, is the entry on The Fade Out, Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips' award-winning noir set in the Golden Age of Hollywood.  Debuting three years ago this month, The Fade Out has proven to be one of the team's best books, one which we must revisit soon.

The Wikipedia article is exemplary, placed by the editors in the top 0.1% of the site's pages, and it sets the table for our lengthy post of news items.

Kill Or Be Killed #14, Scheduled for November.  Image Comics released its November solicitations on Tuesday, and it includes another issue of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips' ongoing vigilante series. 
"The shocking conclusion of the third arc of BRUBAKER & PHILLIPS’ bestselling series! Dylan's war against the Russian mob hits a fever pitch, as the demon returns from the shadows."
Since this wraps the third arc, this issue presumably includes the last of Sean Phillips' interlocking covers, which will form the collage shown above.

The issue is scheduled for a November 29th release -- the week after Thanksgiving -- and we would expect December to be a "skip month" for the series, allowing the next arc to debut in the new year.  The third trade paperback collection might still be released just in time for Christmas, but prior releases suggest that Kill Or Be Killed Volume 3 will reach stores the same day as issue #15.

...and, looking even further ahead, our guess is that these first 14 issues will eventually comprise the first deluxe hardcover collection of the series, with a page count similar to the deluxe editions of The Fade Out (12 issues), Fatale (two volumes, collecting 10 issues & 14 issues), and Velvet (15 issues).

Inspector Rebus Turns 30, with Postcards by Sean Phillips.  We completely missed this last time, but Tripwire magazine's creator and editor-in-chief Joel Meadows published an interview with Sean Phillips on the artwork he created for the 30th anniversary of Ian Rankin's Inspector Rebus.

The Scottish novelist recently released the 22nd full-length novel for the Edinburgh detective, and Entertainment Weekly briefly interviewed Rankin about this latest entry in the popular, bestselling series -- and how he became a murder suspect researching the first Rebus novel. 

From Meadows' interview, we learn that Sean Phillips and Ian Rankin are friends: Phillips has read all the Rebus books and is a fan of a few British crime writers, "especially Ian, Denise Mina and Mark Billingham," and Rankin happened to have purchased a few issues of Kill Or Be Killed the day after Phillips took this assignment.

Sean used ink on paper to create the black-and-white artwork, keeping the title character in shadows and a trench coat.  Ian Rankin had final approval, but he and Orion Publishing approved all ten pieces without recommending any changes.  The artwork is featured in a slideshow at Tripewire's website, linking to a single Imgur page with all ten images, and we've posted four of our favorite images above.

It's been difficult to find more details about where exactly these postcards are being made available, but a search of the Orion Publishers' website produces only one hit for "Sean Phillips," a three-book hardcover box set.  Amazon's listing for the Rebus Anniversary box set notes that the package "also includes 10 limited edition postcards," and these are almost certainly what Phillips produced.

It appears the Rebus Anniversary set was released earlier this month.

From top: Lauren Bacall, Rita Hayworth, Veronica Lake, & Gene Tierney
• Femme Fatale Beer, with Can Designs by Sean Phillips.  Some quite surprising news came out Wednesday, revealing the purpose for that lovely Rita Hayworth artwork we noticed in July.

OK Comics in Leeds, England, is celebrating its 15th birthday with a party on the night of September 23rd -- the same weekend as the Thought Bubble Comic Art Festival, taking place just a short walk from OK Comics' city centre location.

The store is launching a beer for the occasion, brewed by North Brewing Co and available for purchase that entire weekend at Tallboys Beer Market, next door to the city centre OK Comics.  You can see both the comic shop and the beer market below, in the quite picturesque photo OK Comics recently tweeted.

Evidently named Femme Fatale beer and based on North Brewing's Herzog brand of Kolsch-style German ale, the beer features four different can designs from Sean Phillips, "based on his favourite Femme Fatales."

On Twitter, Sean Phillips identified his four subjects for us:  Lauren Bacall, Rita Hayworth, Veronica Lake, and Gene Tierney.

Above, we've posting a collage of the process for the image of Rita Hayworth in the title role of the 1946 noir Gilda.  The images Phillips tweeted include an in-progress drawing, the completed inks, the completed, colored artwork, the can layout incorporating the pencils, the nearly finalized beer can label, and the finished design,

Lauren Becall was also featured in that "inks" tweet above and in a subsequent detail of the final image, and Phillips also posted the in-progress art of an earlier drawing of Gene Tierney -- in-progress details of the inkwork, shading, and coloring -- which we're reposting below.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect about this announcement can be found among the details for the shop's birthday party, in the event's Facebook page:
- Sean Phillips PrintsWe'll have a small quantity of limited edition prints, based on the Sean Phillips beer can designs. They will be signed, framed and ready to display.
It is not clear whether the beer or the artwork will be available elsewhere, either for purchase within the UK or for international orders.

And, although he is not included in the list of creators participating in the party's signing event, Sean Phillips is officially listed as a featured guest at Thought Bubble.

• Recommended Reading on Donald Westlake, Robert Mitchum, and Elvis Presley.  Finally, we'd like to highlight a few online essays that might interest our readers.

First, thanks to the official Twitter account of Hard Case Crime, we see that the Los Angeles Review of Books has published a lengthy essay on Donald Westlake, the "writer's writer's writer."

As Richard Stark, Westlake created Parker, the consummate professional thief whose novels were adapted by Darwyn Cooke in four killer graphic novels.  Hard Case Crime has already published (or reprinted) six of his novels with a seventh novel, a comic caper, already scheduled for next year.  Most recently, the imprint released the never-before-published Forever and a Death, based on a treatment of a James Bond film that was never produced -- and thereby hangs a tale and another interesting article.

Next up, the incomparable Mark Steyn recently published an essay on the classic noir Out of the Past, whose star Robert Mitchum was born 100 years ago this month.  The film itself turns sixty later this year, and in the back pages of this month's Kill Or Be Killed, Ed Brubaker named it his personal favorite noir and possibly his favorite film of all time, with "one of the greatest endings in the history of film."

Long-time readers might remember that Brubaker himself wrote a bonus essay about the movie in one of the very first issues of Criminal -- issue #2, I believe.  We're reposting Sean Phillips' artwork for the essay above, and the essay's another good reason to dig through our back issues.

Finally, Mark Steyn has also been commemorating the fortieth anniversary of the death of Elvis Presley.  One quite long piece stands out above all the rest, the most recent "Song of the Week" essay on one of the most beautiful songs of all time, the quiet "Love Me Tender,"

One doesn't have to read his Twitter feed long to realize that Sean Phillips isn't politically simpatico with the conservative pundit, but Steyn's apolitical writing on culture -- and especially music -- is worth everyone's time.

I also know that, like U2's Larry Mullen Jr and my own departed mother, Sean Phillips is a hu-u-uge Elvis fan, and I couldn't recommend Steyn's essay more highly to him and any other fans.

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Wednesday, August 09, 2017

New This Week: Kill Or Be Killed and the Undertow Podcast!

Almost exactly a year after its debut on August 3rd, 2016, Kill Or Be Killed continues with two new releases, both out today:  the Volume 2 trade paperback collects issues 5-10, and issue 11 continues the crime series by Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips, and Elizabeth Breitweiser.

Image Comics has released a three-page preview of the new issue, and the story comes full circle to the opening scene, reusing the layout of some memorable key panels, as shown below.

KOBK #1 page 2, #11 preview page 2

In his first-person narration, Dylan directly addresses some questions we've been expressing in our podcast, and -- on the subject -- episode 15 of The Undertow Podcast delves into the previous issue to find that it raises more questions than it answers.

The episode was just released a few hours ago, and we think the discussion might be a good way to transition from the series' second arc to the brand-new issue.  As usual, Robert and I enjoyed discussing the comic -- and we recommend a couple movies on the way -- and the podcast can be found at iTunes and on Podbean.


Finally, from social media, we see that there are a couple special offers of Kill Or Be Killed being made available through a few retailers in the British Isles.

OK Comics in Leeds, England, is offering, with copies of the KOBK Volume 2 trade collection, an exclusive mini-print drawn and signed by Sean Phillips.  From a photo of the monochromatic print, shown above, it seems the print is limited to 50 copies; the store has announced that they received more orders for the book than for any other title, ever, and that they can no longer take any additional pre-orders.  They're selling the remaining copies on-site, starting today.

And Dublin's Big Bang Comics is selling a variant of the KOBK Volume 2 TPB with both an exclusive cover -- with the cover art from issue 8 rather than issue 5 -- and the exclusive bookplate shown below, signed by Brubaker & Phillips and featuring the enigmatic watercolor that the artist showed fans in July.

Big Bang Comics is selling the variant/bookplate combo online through eBay.  We see from the photos and description that they're doing so in association with Forbidden Planet London, which has a parallel listing on its ownn website.

Having previously purchased comics from the UK, we can confirm that American readers can often have books shipped internationally (if not always), but personally we're most interested in the next chapter of this twisted vigilante series.

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Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Bullets: Undertow Podcast on A.D. After Death, Spirit Preview Art, New Inventory and a New Vertigo Collection, and Much More!

New releases for Kill Or Be Killed are just around the corner -- issue #11 and the Volume 2 trade paperback are both due on August 11th, and Sean Phillips has already tweeted a photo of the comp copies he's received -- but we'll kick off the month with quite a few items of interest.

• Undertow Podcast Bonus Review of A.D. After Death. In lieu of our usual segment of monthly recommendations, Robert and I recorded a bonus episode of The Undertow Podcast to discuss a previous recommendation:  A.D. After Death, a combined comic book and illustrated prose novel written by Scott Snyder with art by Jeff Lemire.

A hardcover collection of the three-issue mini-series was released at the end of June, our podcast discussion recently came out, and I couldn't sum up both any better than Robert did in the description for episode 14:
"Great sci-fi, with a touch of crime, and gorgeous watercolors made this a fun to book to read and break down."
As always, The Undertow Podcast is available at iTunes and on Podbean.

• Preview Art of Brubaker and Phillips' The Spirit.  As we reported in May, Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips are contributing a one-page story to The Spirit of Eisner, a 12-page newspaper-sized comic honoring The Spirit, on the centenary of the birth of its extraordinary creator.

Phillips is also coordinating the publication of this comic, to be released by the Lakes International Comic Art Festival in October, and in subsequent tweets he's treated fans to previews of eight different pages.  In addition to a signed drawing by Michael Cho and the distinctive cartoony style of Sergio Aragonés, we see a panel crediting Chris Samnee, who was not listed in the March press release.

Perhaps even more exciting for Brubaker and Phillips fans, the artist has announced that he's finally underway with their contribution to the project, and he has posted more than a dozen preview photos, from thumbnails and photo reference, to digital pencils subsequently transferred to paper and inked.  Over the weekend, Phillips tweeted that he has completed the inks and will do his own color work for this story (confirming his role as colorist on Twitter), and he's posted a partial preview of the vibrant neon colors with some completed lettering.

We've seen quite a bit of the first few panels -- including photos of the artist holding up the single page, in pencils and again in partial inks, shown in the collage below -- but we're sure that, for both his work and for the others, Sean Phillips is saving a lot of surprises for the book's readers.

New Art By Sean Phillips, for Rawhead Rex and JD's Revenge.  We mentioned that Sean Phillips has been creating artwork of Rita Hayworth in our previous post, and Phillips relayed that the work is for a separate project and not for a bonus essay.  This project has still not yet been formally announced, but it appears that Ms. Hayworth is not the only subject.

In the meantime, other projects have been officially announced.

First, AICN reports the return of the 1986 British horror film Rawhead Rex, with a screenplay by Clive Barker and based on a previously published short story by the horror writer.  The film is getting a 4K restoration for a limited summer run and a Blu-ray release in the fall, and Sean Phillips created the poster for the re-release.

AICN provided an exclusive look at the resulting work, which we're including below.  The distributor's official site lists ten North American theaters screening the film between August and October.

And, at his own blog, Sean Phillips has posted both a preliminary draft and the final version of the menacing artwork for Arrow Video's release of a 1976 blaxploitation horror film JD's Revenge.  The release is due in October but not yet listed on the distributor's official site.

Phillips will apparently be reusing the artwork in a promotional banner for his artwork, shown below and making its debut at September's Thought Bubble festival in September.

Kill Or Be Killed & Criminal Fall Short at the Eisners.  The winners of the 2017 Eisner Awards were announced at Comic-Con last Friday night, and Brubaker, Phillips, their collaborators, and their collaborations all fell short in the five categories in which they were nominated -- all against very tough competition.

We congratulate the winners, and we're happy to see Black Hammer win the award for Best New Series: according to The Beat's live blog of the awards ceremony, writer Jeff Lemire said the award was won only because of artist Dean Ormston's incredible recovery from a stroke after finishing the first issue.

We weren't aware of the stroke, we're so glad that Ormston is recovering, and we've been enjoying the series thoroughly.

• Westworld Second-Season Preview.  The Eisner Awards weren't the only big news from Comic-Con, as a lot of film and television projects have been promoted with new footage.  Along with an elaborate installation promoting the fictional, futuristic resort, producers of HBO's Westworld debuted a two-minute trailer of new footage from the upcoming second season.

Ed Brubaker was quite heavily involved in the first season, joining the writer's room, being credited as a supervising producer for five episodes, and receiving a writer's credit for one episode.  It's not clear whether Brubaker is working on the second season, but we're sure we'll find out soon enough.

• New Inventory for Older Hardcover Collections -- and a New Hardcover of Brubaker's Vertigo Comics?  On Twitter, an online friend Kevin Sels has been telling us about some interesting new listings he's found on Amazon.

The Criminal The Deluxe Edition Volume 2 hardcover (the listing has the cover art from volume 1) and Incognito: The Classified Edition hardcover are both scheduled for a January 2nd release date.  These listings might have been the first hints of new printings by Image Comics, but Sean Phillips explains that the books are "just old stock that was found in a warehouse somewhere."

We're even more intrigued by Kevin's tweet about a February listing, for a 272-page hardcover, scheduled for a February 27th release:  Vertigo by Ed Brubaker.  This is the very first we've heard about this.
Classic Vertigo tales by Eisner Award-winning author Ed Brubaker collected for the first time in hardcover edition. The best Ed Brubaker's Veritgo stories are collected together for a wild and sometimes supernatural ride!
It begins with reprinted material from VERTIGO VISIONS: PREZ #1 in election year '96, with the country coming apart at the seams. Prez Rickard, long missing and presumed dead, has been sighted at a roadside diner in the American heartland. A trio of restless young misfits, one of whom believes he is Prez's son, sets out across America in search of answers for their country's woes--answers that only the former Chief Executive can provide. Then, from WINTER'S EDGE #2, a gang of suburban kids devises a fool proof get-rich-quick scheme. Followed by stories from the best supernatural detectives that are not alive, in DEAD BOY DETECTIVES.
These amazing tales from one of the great voices in the comics industry today are collected together in hardcover in VERTIGO BY ED BRUBAKER! Collects VERTIGO VISIONS: PREZ #1, WINTER'S EDGE #2, GANGLAND #3 and DEAD BOY DETECTIVES #1-4.
These kind of listings are always subject to change, but this may give serious fans a second chance to get some oversized hardcovers, stuffed with bonus features, and a first chance to get some of Ed Brubaker's earliest stories, collected for the first time.

We will certainly relay more info about these books as we find it.

And big thanks to Kevin for sharing these discoveries with us and eliciting more info from Sean!

• Solicitations and Preview Art for Upcoming Issues of Kill Or Be Killed.  Finally, Image Comics have released their October solicitations, and they include another issue of Brubaker and Phillips' ongoing vigilante comic.
Caught in the crossfire between the police and the Russian mob—and his sanity—Dylan begins to realize his problems are more dire than he thinks. BRUBAKER & PHILLIPS’ multiple Eisner-nominated series keeps racing from hit to hit in this action-packed third arc!
Lucky number 13 of Kill Or Be Killed continues the connecting cover art which Brubaker previously described as "one long cover image of escalating violence," and the issue is scheduled for an October 18th release.

But even more interesting is a bit of artwork that Sean Phillips posted on Instagram on July 17th, which we're including below.  In a previous tweet showing the work in-progress, we learn that the work is a watercolor, and the artist subsequently reveals that it's for the "Next issue of Kill Or Be Killed."

We're intrigued, to say the least.

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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Bullets: KILL OR BE KILLED #10 Out Today, Sean Phillips Art in AMC's Preacher, and More!

 We have a few things to cover before we head out to our local comics shop.

Kill Or Be Killed #10 Out Today, with a Preview and Extra Pages? After a brief delay, the finale to the second arc of Brubaker and Phillips' ongoing vigilante series reaches stores today:  Image Comics is featuring the issue on its homepage this week, with cover art from issue #11...

...and just yesterday the site posted a four-page preview of issue #10, focusing on the NYPD task force assigned to catch the masked serial killer.

The irony is quite humorous, that the cops are trying to infer some deep significance in what we know to be Dylan's very haphazard behavior, but we can understand their hope for a pattern in his behavior:  if the killer's actions are random, he's all the less likely to be caught.

And, whether the demon is real or a delusion, none of the detectives would imagine that their prey is killing bad guys trying to fulfill a supernatural monster's monthly quota.

Since the narration seems to pick up from the prior issue's cliffhanger, we presume that the preview comes from this issue's first few pages, and we see that the action opens on some natural scenery that surrounds the very unnatural scene of the crime.

Between Sean Phillps' inks and Bettie Breitweiser's colors, the artwork is beautiful but eerie.

In addition to this official preview, we expect an email newsletter from Ed Brubaker any time now, with more inside info and possibly additional artwork.  Interested readers should subscribe to the newsletter, but everyone can check out the online archives.

In the meantime, we noticed something of interest in ComicList's extended preview for Image Comics, posted last week.  Look what's included in the list of product changes:
• KILL OR BE KILLED TP VOL. 2 will now run 176 pages, not 160 pages, with no change in price.
This trade paperback will collect issues #5-10.  By my count, the first five issues comprise 121 pages, with Kira's story in issue #7 having one page more than the typical 24 pages of story, not counting extra content.

This leaves some 55 pages of story for today's issue, and the additional content would quite easily explain its delay.

[UPDATE:  Just read the new issue, and it only has 26 pages, meaning the second arc comprises 147 pages.  Either that product update is in error, or the Volume 2 TPB has much more content than we expect.]

Kill Or Be Killed #11 Delayed a Week, Preview Art Appearing Online.  In the newest extended forecast for Image Comics, ComicList confirms our prediction that issue #11 would be pushed back a week, to coincide with the delayed release of the Volume 2 trade paperback.  Both are now scheduled for an August 9th release.

Last week, Sean Phillips posted some work-in-progress inks all evidently from this issue, including a pensive panel or two of Dylan, a panel of Kira we're reposting below, and a panel of the two once (and future?) lovers.

Phillips previously posted a panel of a new character from the series and artwork of Rita Hayworth, both in various stages of progress and evidently completed.  We suspect that this artwork of Ms. Hayworth will accompany an essay in the back of Kill Or Be Killed, in the issue for this month or next month -- though presumably not (just) for her important reference in The Shawshank Redemption.

[UPDATE, 7/28, later than planned:  In the comments below, Sean explains that the Hayworth artwork is not for a bonus essay but is, instead, for a separate project, to be announced soon.]

Sean Phillips Artwork in AMC's Preacher -- and the Artist in a Romance Comic?  Finally, Sean Phillips was commissioned to create a poster that appeared in the July 3rd episode of AMC's Preacher, the series based on the Vertigo comic by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon.  In addition to the screenshot we're reposting below, Phillips posted the sketches and final artwork on his blog.

Phillips' initial tweet of the poster art elicited more than 500 likes (625 as of right now), the most any single tweet of his has ever received.

At least one fan thinks he should investigate selling prints of the artwork: for now, Phillips is currently adding "free, signed, random comics" to each order from his Big Cartel store as he clears out some inventory.

As well as posting his recent work, Sean has also posted quite old work from his friend and colleague Pete Doree, as well as a comic strip that they did together with their friend David Holman.  At his own blog, Doree writes that this particular strip was for Leeds' Thought Bubble festival, and it captures how the three of them experienced the Bronze Age of comics as kids.

But that work from Doree includes a very interesting character, a kind, gentle bachelor by the name of Sean Phillips:  the non-fictional Phillips writes that Doree plans to post the fictional Phillips' entire story on his blog.

[UPDATE, 7/28, later than planned:  Again in the comments, Sean corrects how we misread the exchange:  the panel is from an old romance comic produced by Marvel in the 1970s, which Doree pointed to Phillips because of the entirely coincidental naming of the unrequited lover.]

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Thursday, June 29, 2017

Beer & Fiction: Undertow Podcast #13 on KOBK #9 and a Little Blogging on Guinness.

We're reaching the end of June, and we see that the latest episode of The Undertow Podcast was released just today.

Robert and I discuss the latest news in the world of Brubaker and Phillips -- both the revised summer schedule and the first news about a Criminal graphic novella -- and we take a close look at the latest issue of Kill Or Be Killed, the penultimate chapter in the series' second arc.

Episode #13 is a little shorter than our usual podcast, as we're skipping recommendations this month but producing a bonus episode to review the compelling mini-series A.D. After Death, by Scott Snyder and Jeff Lemire.  The oversized hardcover collection of the book was released Wednesday, and we should have our podcast review out in the next few weeks.  We'll keep everyone posted.

In the meantime, we hope you enjoy episode #13:  The Undertow Podcast is available at iTunes and on Podbean.


Prompted by a recent favorable iTunes review -- thanks, Pizza Spirit! -- I rambled a bit about Guinness, my favorite among the very few beers I drink.

In a couple videos online, Guinness Master Brewer Fergal Murray explains that there's a proper way to pour the Irish stout, from the can, from the bottle -- though he confirms that it's really best straight from the bottle -- and straight from the tap.

These videos really do seem ridiculous, and they make Guinness fans look like lunatics, but I've discovered that the method really does matter:  these methods are all quite easy to learn, and they improve both the pint's appearance and its creamy texture.

My favorite place to get a pint is at the Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse in midtown Atlanta, home of the city's most active professional theater company and a cozy kitchen that serves dinner before the show and desserts during intermission.

Volunteering there once a month (or more), I've had a good bit of experience serving beer, wine, and soft drinks, and I'm proud to say that I pour a damn fine pint of stout.

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