Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Bullets: KOBK Reprints and Screen Print, Velvet Volume 3, and Deluxe Details for The Fade Out!

We're summarizing highlights from a few sources:  the back matter of the latest issue of Kill Or Be Killed ("The Secret Ingredient"), the Twitter feeds of Brubaker and Phillips, Sean Phillips' official blog, and Ed Brubaker's email newsletter: we mentioned the 9/6 installment in our previous post, and another newsletter has already been sent out since then, on 9/14. 

If you're not keeping an eye on these sources yourself, you're missing out on things like additional art previews, updates on Sean's Big Cartel store, and Brubaker's recommendations on books and TV shows.

Kill Or Be Killed, Going Back to Print Again.  Image Comics has the official announcement, that the first two issues of KOBK will see additional printings as the "body count rises."

These additional printings will be available alongside the latest issue, all on October 12th.
  • KOBK #1, Third Printing
  • KOBK #2, Second Printing
  • KOBK #3
The announcement includes cover art for the printings, which are color variations of earlier printings.


Kill Or Be Killed Screen Print.  With help from Ben Dodge, Sean Phillips has created a limited-edition screen print for Kill Or Be Killed. The five-color, hand-pulled art measures just over 20-by-27 inches, and a variant was created exclusively for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival in Kendal, England, on October 14-16. 

Very limited quantities of both versions are now available for pre-order in Sean's online store, and just yesterday Sean lowered the price for the artwork.

Velvet Volume 3, In Stores Now.   Today sees the release of the third trade paperback collection for the retro spy comic by Ed Brubaker, Steve Epting, and Bettie Breitweiser.  In his 9/6 newsletter, Brubaker describes the three arcs as "one long novel, really, and while it's a complicated mystery with a lot of tangents, the answers are there for anyone looking, I promise."

Brubaker suggests, "please buy a copy for your dad, who likes spy stories and doesn't understand why you read comics."

(And he also mentions that the story was almost sold to television before it became a comic book, and he treats readers to a TV Guide mock-up that was part of the pitch presentation.  We'll let readers see the image at the archived newsletter.)

Details on The Fade Out Deluxe Edition.  Finally, in the back of KOBK #2, Brubaker gives us quite a few details on the forthcoming deluxe edition of The Fade Out.

The Deluxe Edition collects the entire serialized graphic novel in one beautiful edition.  I even went through the book and made some minor tweaks here and there, so I'm considering this the definitive version of the story.  And on the bonus content side, this is probably our biggest one yet.  We've got over 50 pages of extra content -- covers, articles, process stuff about the art and research.  We've been doing these hardbacks a while now, and we put out some of the nicest ones on the market, but I think Sean outdid himself with the design and extra content this time.  So, be sure to tell your retailer if you want one.

We're even more eagerly looking forward to this release, due on the same day as the three KOBK printings, October 12th.

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Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Kill Or Be Killed #2 Preview Online, In Stores Tomorrow with #1 2nd Printing and Criminal Volume 7!

As we mentioned in our last post, there are quite a few books due this week from Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips:
  • Kill Or Be Killed #1, 2nd printing
  • Kill Or Be Killed #2
  • Criminal Volume 7 TPB: "Wrong Time, Wrong Place"
London's Mega City Comics asks the right question on Twitter, "With this much Brubaker & Phillips out tomorrow, how will we afford anything else!?"  We're perhaps the most excited for the new issue of KOBK, as we hope to see how it expands on the series' unexpected premise.

A five-page preview is now available at Image Comics' website -- and in higher quality in Brubaker's just-published newsletter (about which, more soon) -- and it looks like we're in for more moody scenes of NYC in winter.

And there's more rambling dialogue from our potentially unreliable narrator.

Kill Or Be Killed #2 detail, From the Desk of Ed Brubaker

All three books are in stores tomorrow.

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Thursday, September 01, 2016

Bullets: UNDERTOW PODCAST #4, Brubaker Essay, Solicts, and More!

It's September already!  Let's kick things off with a few brief items.

UNDERTOW PODCAST, New Episode Now Online.  Our latest episode of The Undertow Podcast is now available on iTunes and Podbean.  Robert and I have a very interesting discussion following the debut of Kill Or Be Killed, talking about its unexpected premise and where the new series may be going next.

We hope our readers here enjoy listening as much as we enjoyed recording it.


Ed Brubaker in This Week's Image+.  We've been digging the inexpensive magazine Image+ since its May debut.  The second issue featured a cover story on Kill or Be Killed, and there was a pleasant surprise in the latest issue.  Out yesterday with a November cover date, issue #5 features a two-page "Industry Perspectives" essay by Ed Brubaker.  On Matt Fraction's suggestion, Brubaker penned an open letter to a younger version of himself, at the beginning of his career.

The entire thing is worth reading for its perspective on the last couple decades on comics, and it touches on creator-rights issues that Brubaker has been covering in his email newsletter, but there's also the more general word of wisdom that became the article's pull quote:  "Sorry, but your career doesn't go the way you thought it would (turns out almost no one's does)."

Ed adds, "you're happier, if it's any consolation."


Kill Or Be Killed Keeps Rolling in November.  Image Comics' November solicitations came out early last week, Newsarama has the complete listing online, and Sean Phillips reposted the details for KOBK #4 -- "The shocking end to the first arc, as Dylan's secret collides with his home life."

The 40-page issue is scheduled for a November 16th release.


More Details on Upcoming books.  We're eagerly anticipating October's deluxe edition of The Fade Out, and Ed Brubaker has shared some details on Twitter as the book went to print last week.

Brubaker describes the book as "the nicest hardback we've ever done."  We had guessed at least 30 pages of extra content, but the 400-page book contains more than 50 pages of bonus content, including research, production essays by Phillips and Breitweiser, and two of the bonus articles from the monthly issues.  Readers "keep asking" about these articles, but it's long been the creators' practice to reward those who support their projects by specifically buying the monthly issues.

Also on Twitter, Brubaker does mention that "you never know" about an eventual return of Incognito:  the film rights were sold to Fox in 2010, and a film adaptation is apparently still in development.

And on the subject of films, Sean Phillips recently highlighted a high-resolution version of the cover artwork for The Hired Hand, a 1971 western directed by Peter Fonda, out on Blu-ray and DVD this November from Arrow Films.  The dual-format release includes a "Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Sean Phillips."

A little closer on the horizon, Phillips' Twitter feed confirms a few arrivals for next week:
  • Kill Or Be Killed #1, 2nd printing
  • Kill Or Be Killed #2
  • Criminal Volume 7 TPB: "Wrong Time, Wrong Place"
(A photo of his comp copies, reprinted above, confirms the title's comma, which was missing from the solicited cover art.)

We haven't seen any extended previews of KOBK #2 online yet, but this week, on his blog, Sean Phillips posted a single panel in-progress, evidently from page 8.


He writes, "This is probably my favourite panel from this issue, Bettie did such a beautiful colour job here..."

We can't wait to see more!

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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Bullets: Second Printing, Reviews, and Appearances!

KOBK #1 an Immediate Sellout, Gets a Second Printing.  It occurs to us that Kill Or Be Killed debuted in only one format -- a standard cover with no variants, "Just the one cover, the one comic," as Ed Brubaker described it on Twitter.

This hasn't happened with a Brubaker-Phillips project for some time.  Along with the two Criminal one-shots, The Fade Out #1 (2014) featured an oversized magazine variant, and Fatale #1 (2012) came with two covers, one featuring Jo the beauty and the other featuring the beastly Bishop.

You have to go back to Incognito #1 (2008) to find a title's debut issue released without a variant, as even its sequel "Bad Influences" (2010) began with a "pulp" variant cover that was reused as the cover for the deluxe "Classified Edition."  Something of a surprise hit for Marvel's Icon imprint, Incognito #1 went back to press for a second printing, and we see that the same thing has happened with Image's Kill Or Be Killed.

Yesterday, Ed Brubaker announced that KOBK #1 "sold out last week," and this news is on the heels of a press release from Image Comics, that the series is "marked for success" as its debut issue has been rushed to a second printing.  The cover art is shown below, and it appears to be new artwork based on a single memorable frame from page #6.


Image Comics reports that the second printing to issue #1 will be available on September 7th, the same day as issue #2, and the final order cutoff deadline for both books is Monday, August 15th.

KOBK #1 Review Roundup.  One indication of the book's early success is its positive reviews, and the aggregator site Comic Book Round Up reports an average score of 9.1 out of 10, currently from 23 critics. 

Brubaker has sent out thanks to reviewers who didn't spoil this first issue, and I'm sure we'll see more in-depth analysis as the book's premise becomes more widely known and its implications unfold in subsequent issues.

Brubaker Appearances.  Finally, a brief review of Ed Brubaker's recent appearances online -- and an upcoming personal appearance later today!
  • Last week, Blastr posted a video interview from San Diego Comic-Con, where the writer discusses the research and complexity of The Fade Out, the rapid genesis of Kill Or Be Killed -- including a discussion with Robert Kirkman -- and his other projects, writing the Maniac Cop remake and joining the writing team on Westworld.
  • Over the weekend, episode #142 of the podcast How Did This Get Made? was published, a live episode recorded in Los Angeles reviewing the 1996 Billy Zane vehicle and commercial bomb The Phantom.  The episode includes Brubaker's second appearance on the show, this time focusing on one of the biggest characters of the pulp era: in 2013, he appeared on episode #75 to discuss Ben Affleck in Daredevil, after an award-winning run writing for the character from 2006 to 2009.
  • Later today, Brubaker is appearing at Collector's Paradise in Pasadena, signing copies of KOBK #1 alongside artist Tomm Coker who is signing copies of his book The Black Monday Murders #1, which arrives today.  The event is scheduled from 6 pm to 9 pm Pacific, just a few hours from now.
Details about the signing can be found on the Facebook page for the event, linked above.

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Wednesday, August 03, 2016

In Stores Today, KILL OR BE KILLED #1 and More!

Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips, and Elizabeth Breitweiser's newest series debuts today, with Kill Or Be Killed #1.  Image Comics features the book on its homepage, describing it as a "new ongoing series" staring "a reluctant vigilante."


Brubaker's latest newsletter was sent out Monday, briefly reminding readers of the new series:  "It's getting amazing advanced reviews, and a lot of great word-of-mouth, so be sure your store is saving you a copy, so you won't miss it."

He tells readers that the series isn't what we expect, but that it's both humorous and dark, and he asks us to spread the word about the book.  He also includes the six-page preview that was featured in the first newsletter, but he points out that a few lines of text had been cut in the meantime.

(Check out the bottom of page 3.)

The newsletter also features behind-the-scenes artwork for two covers for Fatale, for issues #3 and #24, and even some details on a project that never saw daylight, the vampire-pirate mini-series Black Sails!  Interested readers should definitely subscribe and check out the archive.

We see that KOBK is also featured in this week's slideshow of comics that have Paste Magazine's attention, and Newsarama's Best Shots feature has a mostly-positive advance review.  On Sunday, Previews World published an exclusive interview with Brubaker, evidently given prior to the Eisners ceremony on July 20th.

In the interview, Ed Brubaker gives some insight to why KOBK is planned as an ongoing series:

"It just felt like an idea that, once I started digging into it, had a lot of different avenues to explore, and I wanted the freedom of an ongoing series to do that. It's a very 'what happens next?' kind of story, and few things do that as well as a monthly comic book series. Kirkman told me to aim for at least 50 issues, but we'll see."

...and, Jared at OK Comics in Leeds, England, tweets that their copies of the comic comes with an exclusive print signed by all three creators.


With all this publicity, we're intrigued, to say the least.

...and reaching your local shop today are a couple other books you might find interesting.

First, there's Liberty from Image Comics -- or more precisely, The CBLDF Presents Liberty trade paperback.  It evidently reprints a book we mentioned a few years back,  the 2014 hardcover collection of the Liberty annuals from 2008 to 2012, benefiting the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.  The collection includes a rare Criminal story, presumably "No One Rides For Free," which was originally featured in 2008's Liberty Comics and was subsequently collected in the first Criminal Deluxe Edition.


Second, there's the third and final trade paperback collection of Tom Scioli's bonkers Transformers vs GI Joe, which I've mentioned before and recommended in the first Undertow Podcast.  I'll be honest that, after reading all the monthly issues, I'm waiting for the deluxe edition this singular work deserves.

I might have more to say about my hopes for that deluxe edition some other time, but we'll definitely have more about Kill Or Be Killed, as it will be the focus of our next podcast.

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Tuesday, August 02, 2016

UNDERTOW PODCAST EPISODE 3 Now Online, with a Closer Look at Velvet!

The third episode of The Undertow Podcast has just been published and is now available on iTunes and Podbean:   recorded at the end of July and published on August 1st, this episode focuses on Velvet by Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting, which has just wrapped its first major story arc.  Robert and I also cover some recent news items and recommend a few other comics for our listeners.

Ms. Templeton is currently on vacation, with her spy series currently on hiatus, and we're commemorating "Book One" of her series with a collage of cover art from the 15 monthly issues and the subsequent trade paperbacks, including the third volume, which is currently scheduled for September.


As before, I've placed an extra-large, 2.2-MB version on Google Drive.

We'll have another post up soon, about this week's new issues, including the debut of Kill Or Be Killed by Brubaker, Phillips, and Breitweiser!

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Saturday, July 23, 2016

THE FADE OUT, 2016 Eisner Winner, Best Limited Series!

We wrote yesterday that we hoped this would happen, and it did, at least for the work if not its creators.  We believe Bleeding Cool announced the winners first, and the official site confirmed it:  The Fade Out has won the 2016 Eisner Award for Best Limited Series!

Our hearty congratulations go out to Ed, Sean, and Bettie, and we remind readers that the book's Deluxe Edition is scheduled for October 12th.

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