Saturday, June 17, 2023

Night Fever and a New Undertow Podcast, Out This Week!

We're writing very briefly to note that the latest Brubaker-Phillips collaboration came out this week:  Night Fever is a stand-alone original graphic novel following one man's descent into decadence and violence while on a business trip to Europe.

It's worth noting that the cover art has changed from what was originally announced, with the orange and blue image of protagonist Jonathan Webb's back, shown on the left, replaced by the image shown on the right: the gray and white image has Webb facing the reader, still carrying a knife, standing in shadow, and obscured by a mask one would find at a masquerade ball.

(I honestly prefer the original cover art.)

The hardcover edition went on sale at local retailers Wednesday, with an MSRP of $24.99.

In anticipation of the new book coming out, Robert Watson and I briefly chatted for a new episode of The Undertow Podcast. We talked about the recent news in Hollywood: 

Robert had an amusing list of casting choices, straight out of a 90s-era issue of Wizard magazine.

This isn't the first time that Hollywood has tried to adapt Brubaker and Phillips, and we hope these projects bear fruit and produce work that is worthy of the source material.

In the meantime, we also discussed the announcement for the team's next book, surprising in that the news broke before Night Fever hit store shelves.

Where the Body Was is due this December, and in a recent email newsletter, Brubaker explained that the book begins with a map of the neighborhood where the body in question was found. This is a bit of callback to the mapback editions of pulp paperbacks, where the back cover would draw in readers with a diagram or map of the scene of the crime.

We've already enjoyed Night Fever on our first readthrough, and we'll probably reread the book just prior to our next podcast recording -- possibly as soon as July! -- but we're already quite looking forward to Where the Body Was.

It seemed we picked a good team to follow so fanatically!

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Sunday, January 01, 2023

Reckless: Brief Biographical Timelines

Note: If you've received a copy of the Neo Noir comic book, see my previous post for more info.

Our friend Robert Watson has just posted the latest episode of the Undertow Podcast, where we focus on Follow Me Down, the fifth book in the Reckless series. This is the final book in this particular run as Brubaker and Phillips take a break to publish Night Fever and possibly other books, including perhaps the long-awaited follow-up to The Fade Out.

This seems as good a time as any for me to summarize some notes I've taken, to produce a timeline (or three!) for the main characters and the central location in the series. I'll try to avoid serious spoilers for the Reckless books.

Ethan Reckless

1950-1951, born

With his father in Naval Intelligence, Ethan lived in Sterling Park, Virginia; Berlin, Germany; Oahu, Hawaii; and "half of the 60's" in Gitmo -- Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Ethan was recruited by the FBI to infiltrate radical groups in college, using the alias "Donovan Rush" and working with Special Agent Frank Hancock.

1967-1968, ~age 17, spent his first year in college at UC Berkeley

1971, June, ~age 21, while working undercover, suffered a serious head injury from an explosion

Ethan soon left the FBI, and Ethan's father was never again promoted after 1972.

1975, ~age 25, began working for hire, as an unlicensed private investigator and fixer of problems

1979, ~age 29, befriended Anna

1981, ~age 31, Reckless (book 1)

Ethan revisits coastal town Santa Teresa, an apparently fictional town that was mentioned as a "vacation village" in the Criminal novella My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies.

Ethan stopped speaking with his father around this time; his father died before Christmas, 1984.

Frank Hancock retired from the FBI and suffered a stroke.

1985, Summer, ~age 36, Friend of the Devil

1988, April-August, age 37 (stated explicitly), Destroy All Monsters

1989, November, age 38, The Ghost In You & Follow Me Down

2004, Summer, age 54, concluding chapters to Follow Me Down

c. 2021, about age 71, during the pandemic, Ethan types his memoirs


1962, born

Anna's father worked as the projectionist at the El Ricardo theater.

1968-1972, ~age 6-10, watched Evilina on local channel 14

1975, age 12 (stated explicitly), father died

Anna's mother Sharon would have a series of unhealthy relationships with boyfriends and husbands.

1979, age 17 (stated explicitly), befriended Ethan; was previously a runaway

1988, age 26 (stated explicitly), had a brief falling out with Ethan, moved to east LA and then back

1989, age 27, works first case as the primary investigator, for Lorna "Evilina" Valentine

Christmas Eve, Sharon marries for at least the third time, with Anna as a bridesmaid.

the El Ricardo theater

The El Ricardo is located on Strand Street in Santa Monica.

1974, closes for the first time

1979, is given to Ethan Reckless by a client; Ethan moves into the theater

1988, is damaged and renovated; Ethan gives the theater to Anna, who reopens it for curated showings

c. 1999, closes for the second time

This second closing may have been prompted by the tragedy mentioned at the end of Destroy All Monsters.

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Friday, October 21, 2022

To RZ, AB, & Others: Personal Recommendations & Free Comics!

As I mentioned in the previous post, I'm using the $1 Image Firsts Neo Noir comic book to introduce friends to one of my great interests, the crime comics of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips.

I'm sending them the comic book and directing them here for more info, at least to reveal something about my personality and hopefully to get them hooked on my favorite comic books!

What's the BLUF, the Bottom Line Up Front?
  1. If a particular book by Brubaker and Phillips caught your eye in that Neo Noir comic or in our bibliography, do check it out: you can't go wrong, their books run from very good to jaw-dropping.
  2. My personal recommendation would be Criminal: The Last of the Innocent, and I'll elaborate on my preferences below.
  3. Or, you can always pick up the team's most recent book, as they strive to make every project accessible to new readers, even those who have never read comic books before! 
Their latest project is Reckless, a series of fairly self-contained graphic novels, and its most recent entry is Follow Me Down.

(UPDATE, DEC 16. In his email newsletter on Wednesday, Brubaker released the four-page trailer for the team's next project Night Fever, a stand-alone graphic novel expected this June.)

If you're still only half curious, issue #1 for several of the duo's books are available online, absolutely free from the publisher's official website: links are below.

Personal Background

As far as hobbies go, I tend to emphasize depth over breadth. I don't follow all major sports closely, just my one undergrad alma mater in its seasonal athletic endeavors. I don't devour all of Star Trek, just Deep Space Nine (its greatest series) and to a lesser extent The Original Series and The Next Generation. My musical interests focus on the magnificent singer-songwriter David Gray and, somewhat to a lesser extent, vintage U2. And I don't have shelves upon shelves of sophisticated board games, just a handful of games with an overwhelming emphasis on Monolith's Conan board game and its numerous expansions.

I'm a little OCD; I do obsess.

(Here, it's not all Conan games, neither its licensed RPG nor its computer games. And it's not all iterations of Monolith's "Tactical Homeostatic System," it's just the original implementation with Conan's milieu of Sword and Sorcery. Much as I adore Batman, the Gotham City Chronicles game holds no real appeal for me!)

I do enjoy comic books generally, but I adore the crime comics by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips. Consistently productive and always bringing new wrinkles to their work, the team is now responsible for two decades' worth of critically acclaimed noir comics.

Separately, Brubaker is a fine writer and Phillips is a skilled artist, but together, it's alchemy.

I didn't closely follow either creator at the time, but I was already a big fan of Gotham Central when Criminal was announced. I was hooked the first time I read the "trailer" for the first arc, and I've been a fanatic ever since, with each new project providing further validation for my enthusiastic support for the team.

I soon became a co-contributor to this blog, then its sole contributor (currently providing infrequent updates), and then the co-host of The Undertow Podcast. I maintain a complete bibliography for the team's collaborative works, and I occasionally(!) share my interest with friends.

My Favorites by Brubaker & Phillips

I recommend The Last of the Innocent as an excellent introduction to the team -- which it certainly is, even though it is, in some ways, a very unusual entry in their bibliography -- but that doesn't mean the book is my all-time personal favorite.

Indeed my favorite series is Criminal, easily, and I'm thrilled that the team keeps coming back to the title over and over again: three ongoing series, mini-series, an original graphic novel, and short stories. It's been close to two years since we've visited that world, but another short story is due before New Year's.

But within Criminal, my favorite book is Wrong Time, Wrong Place, which collects two extra-length one-shots. I particularly love the magazine-sized variant for each story, with covers and bonus material mimicking the vintage comic book that the main character is reading -- the "Savage Sword" of a barbarian pastiche or the "Deadly Hands" of a kung-fu werewolf!

Criminal is their first creator-owned series and my all-time favorite, but their most fun comic might be their first lengthy collaboration Sleeper, a self-contained spy story set in DC's WildStorm universe. It's pure noir, so it's plenty dark in its premise, characterization, and plotting, but it has the most laugh-out-loud moments -- and it has the most innovative page layout, to boot.

And I wouldn't describe The Fade Out as fun, but I suspect that it may be the team's magnum opus. It tells a single lengthy, self-contained story set in Hollywood's Golden Age, and in its scope and focus (movie-making rather than superheroes), I think it compares favorably to that epic from the Eighties, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' Watchmen. It may not be quite as intricately told, but it may actually be a better story, one with continued relevance for the new century.

Other Recommended Comic Books

There are other books that I adore, beginning with another of Brubaker's frequent collaborators, the late, great, and irreplaceable Darwyn Cooke.

Cooke's DC: The New Frontier is another book that I think demands comparisons to Watchmen; it's a more optimistic book, and I think optimism may be harder to get right. His Catwoman with Brubaker is a great compliment to Gotham Central. And Darwyn Cooke's Parker books are AMAZING, the best comic adaptations of crime novels just as Criminal is the best original crime comic.

As far as adaptations go, I also thoroughly enjoyed Lawrence Block's Eight Million Ways to Die, intelligently adapted by John K. Snyder III.

And a very original, very humorous crime comic I've enjoyed is Chew by John Layman and Rob Guillory: it takes a bizarre food-related premise and runs with it at full speed. (You can read the first issue for free, see below.)

My life with comic books started with Batman and Star Trek, and I can still strongly recommend a few other comics set in Gotham or built on sci-fi premises.
  • Batman Black and White is an excellent anthology series, particularly the first volume.
  • Batman Year One remains the best Batman story, better than The Dark Knight Returns.
  • Planetoid by Ken Garing is a brilliant sci-fi series, a great story beautifully told.
  • Strange Science Fantasy by Scott Morse isn't for everyone, but I loved it.
Star Trek: Early Voyages may be the best Trek comic, despite its cliffhanger ending remaining unresolved when Marvel's Paramount imprint closed up shop. Star Wars Tales is an excellent anthology, and the best ongoing series was Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, written by John Jackson Miller and quite satisfying from beginning to end.

And if you remember the cartoons from the early 1980's, you might just adore, as I do, the brilliant but bonkers Transformers vs GI Joe by Tom Scioli.

As much as I like Conan and first got hooked thanks to the Dark Horse anthology, Robert E. Howard's Savage Sword, I'm not sure there's a modern story that stands tall as a must-read book. My hopes are high for Titan's new series due in 2023.

And I do like comic strips wholly apart from comic books -- especially The Far Side and Calvin & Hobbes, with a fond spot for Peanuts and (more recently) Shoe.

A Brief Digression on Batman

Batman: Black and White was one of the first comic books I deliberately picked out for myself, and I distinctly remember getting it off a supermarket shelf. Along with Tim Burton's Batman from 1989 and the subsequent Batman: The Animated Series, this anthology kindled my enduring love of the Dark Knight, through Nolan's masterpiece trilogy -- yes, including The Dark Knight Rises -- to today, when just about the only Batman book I get is for the kiddos, the excellent Scooby-Doo team-up.

Gorgeous fan-made Dark Knight Trilogy posters by StudioKXX

Just as one can draw a straight line from Batman through Gotham Central to Criminal, I can see another line being drawn, with Scooby-Doo as the first crime comics for my kids.


Many creator-owned comic books find their home outside the "Big Two" publishers of DC and Marvel, and there's probably no bigger home than Image Comics. Image has found a few ways to advertise their books; in addition to their $1 "Image Firsts" reprints of #1 issues, they have an extensive online collection of free first issues, from The Walking Dead and Saga to some quite obscure titles.

Here are the ones I'd recommend.

Brubaker & Phillips
Artist Jacob Phillips, Sean's son and the team's current colorist
Other Crime Comics
Miscellaneous: Sci-Fi, Fantasy, & Humor

Wrapping Up

I certainly read more than just comic books; it was Criminal and Darwyn Cooke's Parker adaptations that led to the hard-boiled crime fiction of Hard Case Crime and Richard Stark's Parker series.

I also thoroughly enjoy the original Conan stories by Robert E. Howard, and I have fallen hard for Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin novels. And, on a most serious note, my faith has been strengthened by being mentored, in a sense, through the works of C.S. Lewis and John Stott.

But I can hardly overstate how much I love the crime comics of Brubaker and Phillips, and I hope that -- just maybe -- the Neo Noir comic and this little blog post will open the door to your discovering their books for yourself.

If not, at least you've had a glimpse into my little world.

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Sunday, October 16, 2022

Follow Me Down, Undertow Podcast & More, Out Now!

We would be remiss if we didn't briefly mention the output of a very busy week and change.

Follow Me Down, the fifth Reckless original graphic novel, reached retailers this past Wednesday, revealing what Ethan was up to during the events of The Ghost In You. In the afterward, Ed Brubaker tells readers that they're taking a break from the series for another project -- as yet unannounced, "a new hardback graphic novel" due in the spring and already in production -- but he promises that Ethan and Anna will return in a story set in the 1990s.

The previous week saw the arrival of a quite unique Image Firsts $1 comic: Neo Noir: The World of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips. Instead of reprinting a single first issue, the comic reprints the short "trailers" the team has produced to advertise their books, all with essays by David Harper providing an overview of the team's work. The 64-page comic book serves as an excellent introduction to the team, prompting me to give away copies to close friends.

(We note in passing that things have come full circle: the "trailers" were produced to mimic movie trailers and offer an alternative to traditional previews consisting of a comic book's first few pages, but the last preview in Neo Noir, for the first Reckless OGN actually is the book's first four pages. The introductory chapter in each Reckless book is almost like a cold open to a TV series, and this particular chapter serves to introduce the main character, his job and personality, and the overall series. It's kinda like a trailer after all.)

With new books in stores, Brubaker published his first email newsletter in more than two months. In addition to these new releases, the writer mentions Friday and Pulp, addresses the recent news regarding Batman: Caped Crusader, and highlights a new video-podcast interview. He closes with an enigmatic image from the mysterious new project.

That same Tuesday, Robert Watson released the latest episode of the Undertow Podcast. With our current production schedule, we tend to release an episode as Ed sends out his newsletter, both in anticipation of the next book hitting store shelves.

This time, we looked forward to Follow Me Down by taking an extended look back at the previous Reckless book, The Ghost In You.

We also took a time to talk about that other recent release from Brubaker and Phillips -- effectively, the latest "Deluxe Edition" oversized hardcover, Pulp: The Process Edition. I recommend it heartily for completists and especially those who are interested in the team's creative process, and our discussion might complement what Brubaker recommended in his newsletter, an extensive review at AIPT Comics.

Robert gave us a good overview of Richard Stark's Parker: The Martini Edition Last Call, the second and final oversized hardcover collection of Darwyn Cooke's phenomenal adaptations of the classic crime novels. As I said in the podcast, the Parker books comprise -- alongside DC: The New Frontier -- Darwyn's magnum opus.

The much-missed artist is honored in this edition, designed and overseen by Brubaker and Phillips, who contribute a new short story to the collection. As with Pulp, we would direct readers to AIPT for more info, this time a May 10th review of this concluding Martini Edition.

Robert and I concluded the podcast with a rare joint recommendation -- Heat 2, an unexpected sequel to the classic neo-noir epic, a novel co-written by writer and director Michael Mann and award-winning mystery writer Meg Gardiner.

(I thoroughly enjoyed the book despite some nits to pick, and I plan to outline my criticisms in the comments below -- briefly and maybe tomorrow, but with heavy spoilers for the original film and some high-level spoilers for the new novel. Readers have been warned.)

Finally, we simply must mention Image Comics' December solicitations (ignore the erroneous URL). The publisher has been releasing an anthology series in celebration of its 30th anniversary, and Image! #9 features a contribution from Brubaker and Phillips -- more specifically, a Criminal short story, perhaps a Criminal "emission" in the vein of previous short stories listed in our bibliography.

Previous cover art for the anthology has presented homages to other Image books, and issue #9 puts Criminal front and center with our good friend Teeg Lawless, wired and tired and ready for Christmas. The book is expected to be a late Christmas present, due out on December 28th.

We're already looking forward to it!

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Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Podcast Addenda as Reckless Vol 4 Hits Shelves This Week.

The Ghost In You, the 4th Reckless OGN from Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, arrives this week, and so Robert Watson has released another episode of The Undertow Podcast: this time, Robert and I review the previous volume, Destroy All Monsters.

There were a few more items that didn't make the recording, all worth mentioning briefly.

We recorded Sunday night, and Ed Brubaker sent out another email newsletter Monday with a few of those items.

Reckless Bookplate. Stores with large enough orders will include an autographed bookplate with The Ghost In You.

For this release, the bookplate features a young Anna with her Black Flag tee-shirt and the "Anna-archy" grafitti she uses to tag the front doors of the El Ricardo theater.

Parker's Last Call, Long Overdue. Brubaker shares the good news that Parker: The Martini Edition Last Call will finally reach stores in just a few weeks. The ComicList blog has a May 4th release date for the super-deluxe collection of Darwyn Cooke's second set of Donald Westlake / Richard Stark's Parker stories, originally expected September 30th, 2020. (!!!)

Ed Brubaker evidently has his "comp copies," and we're treated with a few interior photos, including one of a group interview with Brubaker, Bruce Timm, and Scott Dunbier.

To our own greatest delight, we get a glimpse of the team's long-awaited contribution to this collection -- "TOMORROW and TOMORROW and TOMORROW, A Grofield Story by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, For Donald Westlake and Darwyn Cooke."

Gotham Central Ominbus Returning to Stores. In addition to keeping up with Ed Brubaker's newsletter, we have a habit of checking the ComicList blog each week, and along with The Ghost In You, this week sees the release of the 2022 edition of the Gotham Central Omnibus.

The release dovetails nicely with a news item for the podcast, announcing an end-of-year release of the 2022 edition of The Sleeper Omnibus, Brubaker and Phillips' self-contained masterpiece for DC's WildStorm universe.

We list Gotham Central in our bibliography for Brubaker and Phillips, but it is an oddity in that list: the latter only worked on cover art for seven of the last eight issues, and the former stopped writing for the 40-issue series with issue #36.

Nevertheless, Gotham Central is one of the best books set in Batman's hometown. The omnibus is well worth the $100 retail price, but we're sure you can find the book for less.

Brubaker Working on Hollywood Adaptations. Finally, returning to the newsletter, we find a bit more about one item Robert mentioned in the podcast.

The last few months has been a hectic balancing act for me. Scripts and rewrites on the Batman show, working on Reckless and Friday script pages, and the early stages of adapting a few of our books into films (I never believe anything in TV or film is really happening until things are officially greenlit to production).

We wonder which books might be adapted -- Reckless? Kill Or Be Killed? Criminal?? -- and we've been waiting for years for any such project to see more than an industry-mag announcement. When an adaptation finally is produced and released, all we will say is, it's about damn time -- and we'll have our fingers crossed that the work honors the excellent source material.

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Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Out This Week, New Reckless and a New Undertow Podcast!

I know, it's been forever. I even have an unfinished draft from when Friend of the Devil was due to be released, announcing that my life in the real world has just been keeping me entirely too busy to blog -- but further noting this isn't the worst possible time to post intermittently, with Brubaker & Phillips having made the move from releasing monthly issues to publishing original graphic novels.

For the time being, A Criminal Blog is unofficially going into a partial and indefinite hibernation:

  • Partial, because I'll still post as time permits and circumstances require it.
  • Indefinite, because I'm not sure when I'll resume a more regular schedule with blogging.
But this week, we do have news!

The third original graphic novel in the Reckless series, Destroy All Monsters, is due to hit stores this week, and just in time for its release, Robert and I recorded a brand new episode of the Undertow Podcast, focusing on the previous volume, Friend of the Devil.

In the podcast we mention other upcoming books...

  • The first print collection of Ed Brubaker's Friday, collecting the first three digital-only issues and due on November 3rd. 
  • The second ongoing comic book for artist Jacob Phillips, Newburn, featuring a private detective in New York City (to compliment the rural sheriff of That Texas Blood) and also due to debut on November 3rd.
...and the latter has something I haven't seen for an Image Comics release, a video trailer:

We're always looking forward to more from Brubaker and Phillips -- and now the 2nd Phillips as well -- and we're glad to still be here to comment when we can.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Out This Week: PULP, That Texas Blood #2, a Brubaker Newsletter, and an Undertow Podcast!

It's been a while, but we're back, and I'll be brief. (Yeah, right.)

Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips return today with their first new comics work in literally six months, the hardcover, original graphic novel, Pulp!

Announced last December and originally planned for a May 20th release, Pulp is the third slightly oversized "graphic novella" for the team, following 2018's My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies the expanded edition of Bad Weekend released last July.  

Image Comics prominently features the book on its website, and there are a number of signed bookplates for the book.  Shown below (L-R), there's one for the North American market and exclusive bookplates for two different British retailers, Page 45 and OK Comics.

Pulp is coming out the same day as That Texas Blood #2, by Chris Condon and Jacob Phillips, the Criminal colorist who is proving to be an artistic force in his own right.  

The first issue was released on June 24th and went into an immediate second printing, which hit stores last week.  Shown below, we have Sean Phillips' first-printing variant cover and the second-printing cover for issue #1, followed by the two first-printing covers for issue #2.

On the listing for the second issue, we find that the variant cover is by Hellboy artist Duncan Fegredo, the issue is the first chapter of a five-part story entitled "A Brother's Conscience," and a three-page preview is available to whet our appetite.

With so much arriving this week, Robert and I made an extra effort to meet online and record an episode of our podcast: Brubaker hadn't released an email newsletter since mid-May, and I believe I half-jokingly predicted that would change between the episode's recording and release.

I was right.  The latest newsletter "From the desk of Ed Brubaker" hit my inbox yesterday afternoon, a little more than three hours before Robert texted me that the podcast was up!

Brubaker's new email newsletter is a must-read, giving readers a little more insight into Pulp (including some preview pages) and some very exciting details about what comes next.
We got a few preview images indicating a setting of LA in 1981; it's only a setting, one of potentially many. The title, the release date -- "sooner than you think" (!!!) -- and some more preview pages are promised for the next newsletter, but what Brubaker just revealed is thrilling enough:
  • The next project is a series of original graphic novels.
  • Each OGN will feature the same protagonist but tell its own complete story.
  • The books will be longer than the 72-page "novellas" that preceded them -- Junkies, Bad Weekend, and Pulp -- and the first book is about 125 pages.
  • The team plans to release three volumes over the course of a year.
Brubaker believes this is a first -- "three full-length OGNs in one year by the same team." 
So if you're a longtime reader of ours, you'll actually be getting more "content" than usual soon.
We've been going through withdrawal, so we're positively giddy!

Brubaker also writes about a classic TV shows -- his dad's favorite, and one of mine, alongside Perry Mason and Magnum, P.I.  The show is The Rockford Files, previously aired on the delightful MeTV and now streaming on NBCUniversal's new streaming service, Peacock.  It's been (more than) a few years since the writer dropped the often toxic environment of Twitter, but we remember that his account's profile photo used to be of the man himself, Jim Rockford, in an iconic shot from the opening sequence.

(We wonder if Jim Rockford is anything like the protagonist for this upcoming series of OGNs...)

But before you check out Rockford, we heartily recommend Episode 38 of The Undertow PodcastThis new episode was recorded Monday night and released just yesterday, and it features reviews of four recent releases!

During what our inestimable host Robert Watson has accurately described as a "cruel summer," we have still had a few books to read outside of the usual Brubaker-Phillips collaborations -- short stories and full-length comic books, in print and online, in separate projects from Ed Brubaker and Jacob Phillips -- and we briefly covered each one.
  • Friday #1, from Brubaker and artist Marcos Martin, 24 pages released digitally on 4/15 through Martin's Panel Syndicate
  • "The Art of Picking a Lock," a 12-page story from Brubaker and artist Cameron Stewart, released on 6/2 in the prestige-format Catwoman anthology, the 80th Anniversary 100-Page Super Spectacular
  • That Texas Blood #1, from writer Chris Condon and artist Jacob Phillips, a 22-page comic released on 6/24 through Image Comics
  • Brutal Dark #1 & #2, from Condon & J. Phillips, two 8-page issues released digitally on 5/6 and 6/18 respectively, for fans who support the team through their Patreon page
Each book was a helluva read, and Robert and I also had a few recommendations for our listeners, including a pair of very different movies from the 1990's -- the stylish adaptation of the comics detective Dick Tracy and the cult sci-fi/horror film Event Horizon.

I also gave a brief, unplanned recommendation for Scooby-Doo! Team-Up.  The 50-issue series ran from 2013 to 2019, and I think it was the best kids comic on the stands: our kids love it, and it's a great introduction to crime comics, somewhat spooky but very funny!

(Like all great works for kids, there's plenty for parents to appreciate, too.)

To promote the new animated movie, Scoob!, more than 250 issues of Scooby-Doo comics have been made available through Comixology and other digital retailers, completely free if purchased now through September 7th.

Featuring famous and obscure characters from DC Comics and Hanna-Barbara, the Team-Up book is the best of the bunch, and the entire series is being given away in eight volumes of digital trade paperbacks -- and if you have an Amazon account, you already have a Comixology account whether you realize it or not.

Summing up, there's lots to enjoy for Brubaker and Phillips fans -- a new podcast, a new newsletter, a couple old movies and quite a few books to read -- but the highest priority is visiting your local comic shop for Pulp and the sophomore issue of That Texas Blood.


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