Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Preview of Fatale #21, Out Today with an Early Review! - UPDATE: Catwoman Vol 3 Out Today.

The latest issue of Fatale is in stores today:  late last week, Comicosity and Comic Book Resources both posted a six-page preview, and it looks like an already uncanny comic is heading to even stranger waters.

The MacGuffin has an advance review, giving the issue a 9.5 out of 10 and saying that the "fantastic" series is losing no steam as it approaches its inevitable conclusion.

For those who don't keep up with Twitter, there have also been a few announcements worth repeating here.
  • Sean Phillips has added a few hardcovers to his Amazon store, each copy coming with a gorgeous, hand-drawn sketch -- but the books are so heavy they're only shipping within the UK.
  • The UK's Forbidden Planet is selling the first deluxe hardcover for Fatale with an exclusive mini-print signed by both Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, which is available for pre-order online.
  • Sean Phillips announced that, after twenty years, his Hellblazer collaboration with Paul Jenkins is being collected:  Comics Beat reports that John Constantine Hellblazer Volume 9 is due on October 21st, and Volume 10 is due on February 17, 2015.
  • Steve Epting has provided the cover image to Velvet #6; part one of "The Secret Lives of Dead Men" is due on June 25th.
  • Finally -- and most importantly -- Sean Phillips shares his controversial opinion, that Michael Jackson's Off The Wall is a "much better" album than Thriller.
We agree with Sean:  great minds and all.

UPDATE, 1:30 pm:  I completely forgot about this until I visited my local shop, but today also marks the release of Catwoman Volume 3: Under Pressure.  As we first reported in November, the book completes Ed Brubaker's run on the series, and it features art by Sean Phillips in issue #32.

It's a very good week for Brubaker-Phillips fans.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Fatale Deluxe Vol 1 and Velvet #4 Out Tomorrow.

Along with posting wicked artwork for Jess Nevins' essay on cults in the next issue, Sean Phillips retweeted a reminder from UK's OK Comics that Fatale's first deluxe hardcover is in stores tomorrow.

Selling for a retail price of $39.99, the book complements the deluxe editions of Criminal, Incognito, Sleeper, and Scene of the Crime; it collects the first ten issues of what will be a 24-issue run, and we reported last month that the book will be at least 312 pages.

Brubaker fans have another reason to visit their local retailers tomorrow:  Velvet #4, by Brubaker and Epting.  Comicosity and Comic Book Resources released the same 6-page preview late last week, and today Fanboy Comics released a very positive advance review.

(And, we missed it earlier, but Publishers Weekly notes that the first trade paperback collection of Velvet is planned for April.  Since the first arc's "shattering conclusion" is contained in Issue #5, due April 2nd, we assume that this first trade collects the first five issues.)

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Fatale Finale on May 21st, Winter Solider Book, Appearance in Toronto.

("Fatale Finale."  Say that five times fast, a phrase that looks like it ought to rhyme.)

Last week Image Comics released their May solicitations, which includes the finale to Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips' Fatale.  Issue #24 is an extra-long 48 pages with a higher list price of $4.99. 
Will Josephine's final secrets be revealed? Will there be much tragedy? Will Brubaker and Phillips fans love all the crazy extras jammed into this special final issue? Yes, yes, and yes.
The issue is Multiversity Comics' top pick for May, and it's scheduled to reach stores on May 21st;  this lends some credence to our early guess that The Fade Out will arrive no sooner than July.

(After that?   Brubaker has at least tweeted that there aren't any plans to continue Incognito, "not as of now," but we're rarely privy to their plans beyond the most immediate upcoming project.  While I'd like to see a less open-ended conclusion to Incognito -- and while I can hardly wait to see more of Criminal -- we can trust that we'll continue to see great stuff from the pair.)

In the meantime, Sean Phillips has tweeted that he's received some boxes containing the first deluxe hardcover for Fatale, the series is now being reprinted in Spanish (starting with book one, La Muerte Me Persigue), and the Horror Writers Association has recently honored the series.  Book Three: West of Hell has been nominated for their 2013 Bram Stoker Awards, for Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel, with the awards to be announced on May 10th, at the World Horror Convention in Portland, Oregon.

Ed Brubaker just tweeted that the Captain America: Winter Soldier deluxe book is (finally) in stores today, and Wil Wheaton praises the book as "one of the best comic stories I've ever read."

And, our friends north of the border should take note that both Brubaker and Phillips are planning to attend the Toronto Comic Arts Festival, May 10th and 11th.   The press release notes that this is their first joint appearance at a Canadian comics event, and it will be the first public appearance together since the announcement of their five-year deal with Image Comics.

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Monday, February 10, 2014

Fatale Issue 20 and Book 4, In Stores This Week.

The first issue of Fatale's concluding arc is in stores this week along with "Book Four: Pray for Rain," the trade paperback collecting the most recent arc, set in the 90's Seattle grunge scene.  Comic Book Resources, Comicosity, and All-Comic all have a five-page preview of the new issue, which apparently begins a story called "Curse the Demon."

The press release for the first deluxe edition is now making the rounds at sites such as The Outhousers, and Sean Phillips has responded that the book's length has already grown from 288 pages to 312 pages.  And, the New York Times would like to see Fatale become a television series, starring Game of Thrones' Emilia Clarke and helmed by the Coen brothers.

In the meantime, everyone has a good reason (or two!) to visit your local comic retailer this Wednesday.

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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

EXCLUSIVE: Final Cover Art for Heart of the Beast.

Yesterday we noted that Sean Phillips had posted a digital sketch for the cover for the 20th anniversary edition of Heart of the Beast.  A very early original graphic novel (OGN) for DC's Vertigo imprint, Heart of the Beast was a gothic romance / horror story released in 1994 and described as "set against the backdrop of New York City's decadent art world of the nineties."

The book was written by Dean Motter (Mister X, Terminal City) and Judith Dupré, the bestselling author of several books on art and architecture.  About the cover sketch, reposted below, Phillips relays that Motter is handling the book design, including the final logo.

This morning, Sean has provided us with an exclusive look at the absolutely gorgeous final cover art.

The book will be released through Dynamite Entertainment, and Sean believes the book will be out in May.

It looks like it's right up our alley, especially for fans of the horror-noir series Fatale, which Brubaker and Phillips are concluding around the same time of this book's re-release.  We'll be sure to cover Heart of the Beast in detail as the release date approaches and more information becomes available.

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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Bullets: Velvet in Stores, Fatale Cover Art, Criminal Movie Reference, and More.

A lot of updates, just in the span of a week.

• Velvet #3 in stores tomorrow. The latest issue of Ed Brubaker's Velvet arrives this week:  Brubaker already has his copies of Velvet #3, and a six-page preview has just been at Comicosity and Comic Book Resources.

We're honored to report that, in the letters column at the end of the last issue, Brubaker published my letter asking about whether a noir-tinged espionage story can still be optimistic in its outlook on the necessity of spying.  He noted that some spy stories are more police procedurals than noir, and while his work tends to noir, he thinks that some noir  -- like the Robert Mitchum film Out of the Past -- is optimistic about the consequences of a story that is usually very tragic for the main character.

I think that answers my question:  a spy story could affirm that the work is essential in protecting the interests of a relatively moral government while still being true to the personally destructive stories you find in noir.

I wonder if that's exactly the kind of contrast we'll see in the conclusion to Fatale: the cosmic evil's worst plans are thwarted or delayed, but only at a very steep personal cost.

Brubaker also encourages Velvet readers to check into this blog -- any newcomers here, welcome! -- as we've expanded our coverage from Criminal to quite a bit of work of Ed and Sean's.  We're not always able to cover every project as much as we should, particularly Sean's work that doesn't immediately reach the U.S. and Ed's projects for Marvel.  (I've always been more of a DC guy.)

That said, we're quite happy to cover as much work of theirs as we can, including partnerships with familiar faces like Lark, Rucka, and Cooke and especially all Brubaker-Phillips collaborations.

Whatever the work, there's a certain alchemy with the two of them that we find nowhere else.

• Heart of the Beast 20th Anniversary Edition. On the subject of other projects, last July, Dynamite Entertainment announced a 20th anniversary prestige edition of The Heart of the Beast written by Dean Motter and Judith Dupré, with painted watercolor artwork by Sean Phillips.  The gothic romance / horror story, released in 1994, was one of the earliest original graphic novels for Vertigo, about which Phillips said, "This was my first major project for an American publisher and it sank without trace twenty years ago."

We completely missed this announcement at the time, and I don't believe there have been many updates since, but, this past Saturday, Phillips posted a preliminary digital sketch of the new cover art.

He relays that this new edition will be "out in a few months."

Fatale #24 Cover Art.  In other big news, just today Phillips posted cover art to Fatale #24, the grand finale of Brubaker and Phillips' horror-noir comic.

With The Fade Out scheduled to debut this summer, I'd expect this concluding issue to be released around June.

• Brubaker and Criminal Reference on the Big Screen. And, finally, a conversation on Twitter documented an emphatic shout-out to our favorite comic book writer and title:  in the 2012 independent comedy Stuck in Love, a character mentions Ed Brubaker as the writer of "an incredible, hard-boiled comic called Criminal," and another character is shown reading what appears to be Criminal #3, the midpoint of the debut story "Coward."

The film stars Greg Kinnear and Jennifer Connelly, it enjoyed a limited domestic release last July, and it's now available for watching at home.

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Friday, January 10, 2014

Brubaker-Phillips Image Deal Featured in NY Times' ArtsBeat.

Yesterday, we mentioned the possibility that Ed Brubaker would appear at later panels during the 2014 Image Expo, and while it appears that he was present for the writers' conversation, we could find no further developments about yesterday's big announcement -- only the revelations that Brubaker exercises his empathy by creating a diverse cast of characters and, like other writers, he evidently does not write extensive backgrounds for his characters.

Late yesterday, Brubaker highlighted a short story covering the new five-year deal, posted in the New York Times' ArtsBeat blog.  There aren't any new details, but it's good that this news is getting more mainstream attention.

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