Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Kill Or Be Killed Vol 1 & #5 In Stores Today, Walking Dead Tribute Variant in February -- and More!

After a relatively quiet December, Kill Or Be Killed returns today.  At your local shop, you should find both the first, discounted trade paperback collection and the next issue in Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips' ongoing vigilante story.  A four-page preview of KOBK #5 is available at Image's website, linked above, and on its homepage, Image Comics highlights the new issue with a couple extra image details and some cryptic allusions to the new issue.


We saw that the year ended with a new email newsletter from Ed Brubaker, and subscribers were treated to an early look at the 4-page preview, at a slightly lower resolution.  We also got a preview of the artwork for the back-matter essay, in which a new contributor -- culture critic Kim Morgan -- takes a close look at the 1971 black comedy Little Murders.  And, we get a bit of behind-the-scenes artwork and some elaboration on the premise of Kill or Be Killed,

Brubaker briefly explained why he abruptly shut down his Twitter feed in late November:  he explains that one reason is that, despite attracting some 90,000 followers, more people receive his newsletter than see an individual tweet.

And, he reminds readers that he's working on other projects...

(The culture site Vulture ended 2016 with a preview of this year's upcoming horror movies, and the list includes the Brubaker-penned remake of Maniac Cop, with a release date still TBD.  We last reported that the movie was scheduled to be filmed this past summer.) his newsletter, Brubaker teases, "I have a few secret TV projects in various stages. One that you could hear about at any moment."  We haven't seen any announcements so far, but we'll be sure to keep our readers posted.

Readers can check out the entire newsletter online, and Ed Brubaker has now provided a simpler web address for new readers to subscribe:


Finally, the big news this month was that, on Friday the 13th, Image Comics announced a set of variant covers to be released this February, on the 25th anniversary of the publishing company's debut.  Current series will honor the past with homages of important covers from other Image titles -- for instance, Sex Criminals and The Wicked + The Divine pay tribute to each other's debut issues -- and the press release includes eleven of the fifteen 25th anniversary variant covers.

At the top of the page is the variant cover for Kill Or Be Killed #6, honoring what may be Image's most widely read single issue, The Walking Dead #1.

It appears that Sean Phillips did this cover -- check out the SP17 on the wall, just underneath Dylan's shotgun-filled hand -- and a close look reveals what has captured Dylan's attention.  In the reflection of the shattered storefront window, we see the cop from the standard cover for issue #6.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Complete, Collaborative Works of Brubaker and Phillips: A Brief Bibliography.

Robert and I are starting off the new year with a long look back to the very beginning of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips' amazing work together.  Since we've had a month-long break between issues of Kill Or Be Killed, we're taking time this week to devote an Undertow Podcast episode to their very earliest collaboration, Scene of the Crime.

The pair tends to produce ten comic books a year, and we may use these occasional quiet months to slowly work our way through their entire body of work -- or at least their work as a team, a still quite hefty subset of the many books that list Brubaker or Phillips in their credits.

To prep for this literary travelogue, I made some notes on their books' order of publication:  we posted a brief list of their major and minor collaborations back in 2011, but it didn't go into details about story arcs.  The two keep returning to our favorite series Criminal between their other titles -- and we've had three new titles debut in the last half-decade -- so it was worth putting together these additional notes, and we think our readers might appreciate our posting the list online.


The following are the collaborative works of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, listed by the original sale date of the single-issue story or the story arc's debut, cross-referenced against Comic Collector Live and the Grand Comics Database.  Dates are listed by month, with the day included in parentheses only to resolve any ambiguity in the order of release.

Titles that currently span more than one story arc are color-coded, and the original trade paperback collections are listed if a single listed work spans more than collection.

Unless otherwise indicated, all works below credit Ed Brubaker as the sole writer and Sean Phillips as the sole artist, excluding lettering and coloring.  Relevant works that exclude one or the other creator are included in parenthesis.

Scene of the Crime
Pencils by Michael Lark, Inks by Lark (#1) & Sean Phillips (#2-4)
DC Vertigo, Mar-Jun 1999

Batman: Gotham Noir
DC, Mar 2001

Batman #603 - “The Turning Point”
DC, May 2002

(Point Blank, Sleeper prologue, with art by Colin Wilson: WildStorm, Aug-Dec 2002)

Collected in “Out in the Cold” (#1-6) & “All False Moves” (#7-12)
WildStorm, Jan 2003 - Jan 2004

(Coup D’Etat: Sleeper with art by Jim Lee: WildStorm, Feb 2004)

“Sleeper, Season Two: Prelude”
Coup D'Etat: Afterword
Wildstorm, Mar 2004

Hawkman (2002) #27 - “The Black Bird”
DC, Apr 2004

Catwoman (2002) #32 - “Only Takes a Night”
DC, Jun 2004 (June 23)

Sleeper: Season Two
Collected in “A Crooked Line” (#1-6) and “The Long Way Home” (#7-12)
WildStorm, Jun 2004 - May 2005 (June 30)

Gotham Central #33-40
Cover art by Phillips, #33-35, 37-40
Created by Brubaker & Greg Rucka; Brubaker stopped writing for the series after #36
DC, Jul 2005 - Feb 2006 (series debuted in Dec 2002)

Criminal: Coward
Criminal #1-5
Icon, Oct 2006 - Mar 07

Criminal: Lawless
Criminal #6-10
Icon, May-Nov 2007

Criminal: The Dead and the Dying
Criminal Vol 2 #1-3
Icon, Feb-Jun 2008

Criminal Emission: “No One Rides for Free”
Liberty Comics
Image, Jul 2008

Criminal: Bad Night
Criminal Vol 2 #4-7
Icon, Aug-Dec 2008

Icon, Jan-Sep 2009

Criminal: The Sinners
Icon, Oct 2009 - Mar 2010 (Oct 7)

Criminal Emission: “21st Century Noir”
Noir: A Collection of Crime Comics
Dark Horse, Oct 2009 (Oct 21)

Incognito: Bad Influences
Icon, Oct 2010 - Mar 2011

Criminal: The Last of the Innocent
Icon, Jun-Sep 2011

Collected in five trade paperbacks:
Book 1: Death Chases Me (#1-5)
Book 2: The Devil's Business (#6-10)
Book 3: West of Hell (#11-14)
Book 4: Pray for Rain (#15-19)
Book 5: Curse the Demon (#20-24)
Image, Jan 2012 - Jul 2014

The Fade Out
Collected in three trade paperbacks, each comprising a 4-issue “act”
Image, Aug 2014 - Jan 2016

Criminal: Wrong Time, Wrong Place
Criminal Special Edition & 10th Anniversary Special
Image, Feb 2015 & Apr 2016

Kill or Be Killed
Image, Aug 2016 - present

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Thursday, December 22, 2016

New UNDERTOW PODCAST, March Solicitations, and a Reader Wishlist.

We're happy to announce that the latest episode of the Undertow Podcast was released earlier this week, with a focus on Kill Or Be Killed #4.  The issue, released last month, concludes the first arc, which will be collected on January 18th, on the same day that stores see the publication of issue #5.

As with all previous installments, Episode 7 of the Undertow Podcast is available on iTunes and at Podbean.

While another busy year for Brubaker and Phillips is wrapping up, we continue to find news for the new year.  Image Comics has released its March 2017 solicitations, and  KOBK #7 is included, with a cover that features Kira with a new, blue hairdo.

Kill or Be Killed #7 
Story: Ed BrubakerArt: Elizabeth Breitweiser, Sean PhillipsCover: Sean Phillips 
March 15 / 40 pages / Full Color / M / $3.99 
As Dylan hides from the NYPD, Kira begins to get suspicious of some of his mysterious behavior. BRUBAKER and PHILLIPS’ newest hit book keeps hitting! And remember that every issue has all the extra back page articles and art their fans have come to expect.
Moving from the creator-owned comics at Image to one of the many licensed titles at IDW -- and from the blog's raison d'etre to this blogger's more personal tastes -- we see a March solicitation for that brilliant and bonkers book, Tom Scioli's Transformers vs GI Joe.

Transformers vs G.I. JOE: The Movie Adaptation
Tom Scioli (w & a & c)FC • 40 pages • $4.99
Imagine a world where the greatest comic book crossover of all time inspires a movie adaptation… and that movie adaptation inspires its own comic book! Visionary writer-artist Tom Scioli returns to the weird world of Transformers vs. G.I. Joe and brings an even weirder twist to this new story: what would the comic book adaptation of the movie version of the comic book look like? It’s time to find out in the most epic, scintillating, off-the-wall, exciting comic of 2017!
(A trade-paperback collecting Scioli's earlier work, American Barbarian is also advance solicited for April.)

So readers are clear, we want to explain that this is apparent one-shot is a comic-book adaptation of a movie THAT DOES NOT (YET) EXIST.  This imaginary movie is an adaptation of the original comic book maxi-series, which was an amalgam of the cartoons, movies, comic books, and toys from two different franchises.

I've mentioned the book before, including it as a recommendation in our podcast's first episode and posting a montage of the cover art for the series' 14 issues.  It's not the most obvious book to recommend to readers of the grounded, often realistic noir books of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, but it's become one of my all-time faves in part because it pushes the medium of comics to such an outrageous degree.

I've seen that a deluxe hardcover of the series is on its way, and since Christmas is almost upon us, I'm taking a few moments here to sketch out my "wish list" for this definitive edition.



In October, IDW released its January solicitations, which included Transformers vs G.I. Joe: The Quintessential Collection, advance solicited for a March release.

This deluxe edition should include, at a very minimum, every page of the actual story.  It's solicited to include "all 13 issues," but that doesn't quite cover it, and these are the additional parts of the story, in decreasing order of importance:
  • Issue #0, which was IDW's release for Free Comic Book Day 2014
  • "FBCD Funnies," a two-page story included in the 2015 FCBD release
  • "Black Cybertron," a four-page illustrated prose story that replaced the standard commentary notes in the back pages of issue #10
  • The sketch of Megatron in the inside-front cover of issue #11; points out that, more so than any other such sketch, this drawing ties into the story, as Megatron issues a fateful command
A "quintessential" collection of the entire story would ideally include all of this content.


I think it's important, not only to include every page of story content, but also to ensure that every important element on the page is visible.  This has been less of a problem with Brubaker and Phillips' books, where the artwork has frequently been contained within white-bordered pages, but there are a few pages in TFvsJoe where this will be difficult, at least for the large, hardcover collection.

Most notably, "FBCD Funnies" is essentially a two-page spread that mimics a page of newspaper comic strips, and two of the strips span both pages.  The entire work was easy to read in Free Comic Book Day release, but the center of the story was difficult to make out in the trade paperback collection.  Without careful foresight, these center strips will be even tougher to read in the massive hardcover.

Extra care would need to be taken to account for the "FBCD Funnies" story and other two-page spreads, and if all cover art will be included, I would also pay special attention to the wraparound cover for issue #13, where the middle of the scene has the enigmatic Snake Eyes swinging, Spider-Man-style, between the two armies and toward the reader.


If all the story's content is going to be included in the release, it would be preferable to print it in the order of its publication, helpfully summarized at the top of TFWiki's main page for the series, an excellent resource for catching every reference and allusion.

I would recommend the following order:
  • issue #0, ending with the "Battlefield Report" and possibly the wanted poster of Optimus Prime
  • issues #1-6
  • "FBCD Funnies"
  • issues #7-10
  • "Black Cybertron"
  • inside-cover sketch of Megatron's command, from issue #11
  • issues #11-12
  • issue #13 wraparound cover (as POSSIBLY part of the actual story)
  • issue #13
I think this sequence would provide the best possible reading experience.


The deluxe edition should include all the bonus content from the monthly issues and the trade paperback collections, and preferably more behind-the-scenes content, if it's available.  At a minimum, the book should not have LESS than the trade collections.

By my count, there were some 40 different covers for the entire series, and it would be nice for all of them to be included, such as my favorite subscription cover, created by Ulises Farinas for issue #10 and shown below.

(It would also be nice to include the original cover art for issue #11, with Duke smoking a cigar.)

Nearly every issue included a page-by-page commentary by the creators, and that too should be preserved in this collection.  Ideally, all of this bonus content would be included at the end, so that the entire, crazy story can be enjoyed without interruption.

(If I were designing a kind of "Absolute" edition, I would actually print this bonus content in a separate book.  The main story and the bonus features would be in two books held within a single slipcase, and that bonus book's cover would resemble the "Decepticobranomicon" and have the series' more obscure iconography, including a certain legendary tomahawk.  It would make it far easier for the reader to read the commentary and the referenced page simultaneously.)


Finally, the deluxe edition should account for this new psuedo-adaptation of the movie that doesn't quite exist.  It has been clear from Tom Scioli's Twitter feed that he has been working on new material, but it has not been clear whether it will be included in the Quintessential Edition.

In finally catching up with Darwyn Cooke's New Frontier earlier this year, I chose the Deluxe Edition released in 2015 over the larger Absolute Edition, in part because the former included all the "Absolute" content plus the Justice League: New Frontier Special that was released alongside the direct-to-DVD animated adaptation.  It still seems odd that the Absolute Edition didn't turn out to be comprehensive.

I have the same head-scratching reaction to this TFvsJoe hardcover, as it seems that it will omit this last entry in Tom Scioli's work on the series.

There is, however, a way to work around this, an idea I'd like to highlight for Scioli and cowriter John Barber:


Some of the series' best issues drew their focus onto a single character -- Destro, Scarlett, Falcon -- and maybe Scioli could return to the series each year with an extra-length annual, presenting a self-contained story much like the Spotlight books in the main Transformers comic-book continuity.

There's plenty of fertile ground for new stories:
  • The histories of Earth, Cybertron, and their warring factions haven't yet been laid out in their entirety.
  • Parts of the main story have yet to be told in any great detail, especially the fate of Koh-Buru-Lah.
  • And, the status quo at the story's end provides an obvious starting point for other stories.
I'd actually compare TFvsJoe to New Frontier in this respect, in that -- unlike a remarkable but dour book like Watchmen -- both books make me want to spend more time in the worlds that they build, to see what happens next.

And if TFvsJoe had one drawback, it was that, in focusing on the humans and presenting the Cybertronians as alien invaders, we didn't get enough from the Autobots and Decepticons' pespectives.  That could be addressed in what is essentially an anthology series.

This movie-adaptation one-shot is solicited as 40 pages in length, and the series' concluding issue #13 -- "Armageddon" -- was 64 pages.  If Tom Scioli were to produce an annual one-shot in this sort of page range, there would be enough for a second hardcover collection in no time, in a decade or less.

This hypothetical second volume would be a separate beast from the first volume, and it would begin with a kind of recap of that first story, with "the official comic book adaptation" to the first story's "movie."


I had the pleasure of seeing a copy of the 1623 First Folio of Shakespeare, on this year's state-by-state tour on this 400th anniversary of his death.  As a result, I've become even more aware of the benefits of a permanent, high-quality hardcopy publication of an otherwise transitory work of art.

Not to make too grand a comparison, but we've had the fortune to see Brubaker and Phillips' collaborations largely preserved in deluxe, hardcover editions -- Sleeper, Criminal, Incognito, Fatale, and most recently The Fade Out --  and I hope to see a similarly high-quality collection for the surprising masterpiece Transformers vs GI Joe.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Brubaker's Birthday and Interview -- and New Books for February.

We noted it elsewhere, retweeting warm birthday wishes from our podcast host Robert along with Sean Phillips' plug for their latest hardcover collection, but we missed noting here that November 17th was Ed Brubaker's fiftieth birthday.

Comics Alliance published a tribute to the writer, with a very good primer on his work.  The piece briefly reviews his career in creator-owned and work-for-hire titles -- with a few omissions, most notably 2000's Deadenders and the more recent Velvet -- and it captures the tone of most of his works, which the writer describes as nihilistic.
"Life truly has no meaning in Ed Brubaker’s greatest stories. It just is, and it is rarely generous. It provides little triumph. Heroes typically have victories; their stories end on high notes. In Brubaker’s best, there are no real victories to be had. Just survival, and sometimes not even that."
(I'm not sure I'd quite agree that the stories are nihilistic and not merely tragic. The Christian worldview makes room for noir, and in the sort of stories Brubaker tells,the weight of the moral law is felt, albeit much more in its violation than its fulfillment.  Even when it's the main characters who do terrible things, as with "The Last of the Innocent," we're invited to see that their actions really are terrible.  Like ours, their world is fallen and without any earthly hope, but that does not mean it's without any transcendent meaning.)

John R. Parker writes, quite correct that, since the debut of Criminal through Marvel's Icon imprint, Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips "have released reams of brilliant material that is consistently short-listed for the best of the year, every year."

Brubaker's been busy with other work, too, and yesterday Moviefone published a wide-ranging interview with Brubaker, on Westworld, Marvel movies, and more.  He discusses his longtime goal of working in both comics and film, including the long process to breaking into Hollywood, having worked on screenplays since about 2000.  Now, he's happy to have both the collaborative work in the writers' room and the more independent work on his creator-owned comics.

He mentions the origins of his interest in noir -- his screenwriting uncle, his father letting him see his uncle's movies on late-night TV, and his aunt sending him his uncle's now-leatherbound screenplays with clippings inside.  

And, most intriguing, we have hints of new projects that may be soon to be announced.
"I have two different projects that are based on my books that are in development, at various stages. One is pretty close to being announced. Currently, I'm actually working on a TV show with a director that is a friend of mine, and that we've already sold, but it hasn't been announced yet. It'll probably be announced in the next week or two. And that's a thing that we created together." [emphasis mine]
As always, we'll keep our eyes peeled for the latest news.

In the meantime, Image Comics' February solicitations came out yesterday, with a full list online and available as a free digital comic, and another issue of Kill Or Be Killed is on the schedule, from Brubaker, Phillips, and Breitweiser.

FEBRUARY 15 / 40 PAGES / FC / M / $3.99 
The second arc in BRUBAKER & PHILLIPS' runaway bestseller keeps the hits coming, as Dylan realizes how close he may be to being caught by the NYPD.  
Also, remember that every issue features all the backpage extras that BRUBAKER & PHILLIPS fans have come to expect.
This issue notably features the first cover without the narrator and vigilante, Dylan Cross.

One week after KOBK's Valentine's week publication, an even bigger release is scheduled for Brubaker fans: the deluxe hardcover collection of Velvet, his twisting espionage tale with art from Steve Epting and Bettie Breitweiser.

FEBRUARY 22 / 400 PAGES / FC / M / $49.99   
From the creators of Captain America: The Winter Soldier comes VELVET, a slick and sexy new take on the Cold War spy genre. What if the secretary to the man running the world's most top secret spy agency was actually their most dangerous weapon, once upon a time? VELVET is groundbreaking new work from one of the bestselling teams in comics, and now Velvet Templeton's first major storyline is collected in one oversized deluxe hardback with behind-the-scenes extras and articles. A must-have for any BRUBAKER & EPTING fan.   
Collects VELVET #1-15
We're guessing that the "oversized" hardcover will nicely complement the deluxe volumes from Brubaker/Phillips, and we note that this book only covers the "first major storyline."

Velvet Templeton will return, evidently, and we're still curious about the "huge" news that Brubaker teased in June, along with the "top secret" project with Steve Epting, who has since committed to the new Batwoman book.


...and that wasn't the only big news for us, as our favorite sci-fi comic finally returns!  Ken Garing's Planetoid was a sparsely written, gorgeously illustrated mini-series that concluded in 2013, and we're thrilled to see the sequel mini-series -- Planetoid: Praxis -- is scheduled for a February 1st release.

From Newsarama's version of Image's solicitations, it appears that the trade paperback for the original series is being offered again, and we couldn't recommend it more highly.

The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away, and this announcement brings a kind of symmetry to today's big release, Chew #60 and the stunning conclusion to Layman and Guillory's surprisingly epic story.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

New UNDERTOW Podcast, New Issue of KILL OR BE KILLED, and a New David Aja Variant Cover! (And More!)

It's a big week for fans of Brubaker and Phillips, and it began with the release of the Episode 6 of the Undertow Podcast, now available on iTunes and at Podbean.  In the episode, Robert and I discuss Kill Or Be Killed #3, we take a brief look at The Fade Out hardcover and HBO's Westworld, and we have a couple recommendations for our listeners.

Our discussion of issue #3 leads naturally enough to issue #4, and just yesterday, Ed Brubaker sent out a brief email newsletter with a five-page preview of the issue.  Kill Or Be Killed #4 is the finale for the ongoing series' first story arc, and Brubaker writes that the issue "answers some questions while asking some other ones," and he's "really pleased with how it's all come out."

In case you missed it, the newsletter can be found online along with a complete archive, and a link to sign up.  We strongly recommend subscribing for official news for the writer -- and his ramblings, and answers to reader questions -- and it looks to become his main outlet online.

The preview is also available at Image Comics' website: on their homepage, the publisher highlights the issue with the ominous tag that "Secrets don't always stay buried."

Kill Or Be Killed #4 is stores today.

Along with the new issue, new printings of the first three issues also arrive today.  Late last month, Image Comics announced that "rapid-fire printings" for the entire series have been rushed to meet "overwhelming customer demand."

The most noteworthy new printing has to be the fourth printing of issue #1, which features a new, wraparound cover by Ed Brubaker's Immortal Iron Fist collaborator, David Aja.  We're including an image of the cover below, and we'd like to bring your attention to an infernal character who appears on a cover for the first time.

And if a new Kill Or Be Killed isn't enough for the week, we have a couple other items worth mentioning, if not quite enough for a "bullets" entry.

GQ posted an interview with Ed Brubaker late in October: posted under "Books," the article focuses on The Fade Out, "his new story about the dark secrets of Old Hollywood," and Joshua Rivera writes that it might be "his most fascinating work."

The interview also touches on HBO's Westworld, for which Brubaker is a writer and supervising producer.  Monday, EW announced that the series has been renewed for a second, 10-episode season, which probably won't air until 2018, and that leads us back to an item we mentioned on the podcast but never got around to including here.

If you don't subscribe to HBO, you can still watch the 80-minute Westworld premiere online -- "The Original" which is available legally and for free, in a video embedded at Collider.  We are loath to admit that the episode still on our to-watch list.

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Thursday, October 20, 2016

KILL OR BE KILLED: Volume 1 and Issue #5, Due in January.

Image Comics' solicitations for January 2017 were released Tuesday, Newsarama has the details, and we see that two Brubaker-Phillips books are scheduled for that month, following a quiet December.

More specifically, the first trade paperback collection and the subsequent monthly issue of Kill Or Be Killed are both scheduled for January 18th -- and the trade collection is bargain priced at $9.99, like most first volumes from Image.


JANUARY 18 / 120 PAGES / FC / M / $9.99

The darkly twisted story of a young man forced to kill bad people, and how he struggles to keep his secret as it slowly begins to ruin his life and the lives of his friends and loved ones. Both a thriller and a deconstruction of vigilantism, KILL OR BE KILLED is unlike anything this award-winning team has done before.

Collects KILL OR BE KILLED #1-4


JANUARY 18 / 40 PAGES / FC / M / $3.99

BRUBAKER & PHILLIPS’ runaway bestseller just keeps going! Now that we've seen the origin of our killer, it's only a matter of time before the NYPD realizes they have a vigilante on their streets.

The first issue of this new arc releases the same day as the first KILL OR BE KILLED trade, and is a perfect jumping on point for readers who've missed out so far. And every issue has all the backpage extras that BRUBAKER & PHILLIPS fans have come to expect.

We find the list of reoffered books interesting:  the current printings of the previous issues of KOBK, the trade collections of Criminal and Fatale, and the deluxe editions of Scene of the Crime and The Fade Out.  The trade collections of the latter -- Acts One through Three -- aren't being reoffered, and that fits with the idea that the single-volume hardcover is the definitive collection.

(After those trades go out of print, we wouldn't be surprised if Image offers a standard-sized, paperback edition of the single-volume version, perhaps without the complete set of bonus features.  The book would be roughly the same length as Watchmen, to which we think The Fade Out compares quite well.)

On Twitter, Ed Brubaker explains the team's practice of publishing a trade collection on the same day as the next arc's first issue:  for the last 12 years(!), Brubaker and Phillips have been pretty consistent in producing 10 books a year, so they need only one month off between arcs.

Brubaker also relays that the individual issues continue to be immediate sellouts, so he urges readers to tell their retailers if they're having trouble finding the book, and he reminds retailers that
the final order cut-off (FOC) date is evidently this upcoming Monday, October 24th, for November's KOBK #4 and "new printings of 1 - 3." 

(This implies a second printing for KOBK #3, which is news to us.)

Brubaker also provided a look at Sean Phillips' full wraparound cover for KOBK Volume 1, which we're reprinting above, and following a compliment for the painted covers, the writer responded, "Wait until you see #6. It's even better."

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Friday, October 14, 2016

Bullets: An Interview, An Appearance, and Insight into The Fade Out.

One massive omnibus post wasn't enough to cover a very busy week, so here are a couple more brief notes.

• Brubaker Interview on Comics and Westworld.  Wednesday, the AV Club posted an extensive interview with Ed Brubaker.  The writer discusses the genesis of The Fade Out and the themes and dark humor of Kill Or Be Killed.  There are hints of where the story might go, but Brubaker didn't want to reveal upcoming twists and turns that were present in his "basic pitch" for the story.

He also discusses the challenges, research, and experimentation in the new series' claustrophobic visuals.  Sean Phillips' transition to digital artwork has resulted in much greater detail in the images, and Brubaker says the art improves upon the already high standard set by The Fade Out: it's an assessment we won't gainsay.

The writer also discusses the modern state of Hollywood, the value of multitasking in his career, and the lessons he has learned as a supervising producer for Westworld and in its writing room.

The whole thing is worth a read, and again Brubaker recommends the podcast on Hollywood history, You Must Remember This.

(And, we notice that the top photo was taken by his wife Melanie, and we can't remember the last time we've seen the writer without a hat on.)

• Sean Phillips at the Lakes Comic Art Festival.  We hate that we didn't mention this earlier in the week, but we would be remiss in highlighting what we only alluded to previously:  Sean Phillips is attending the Lakes International Comic Art Festival in Kendal, England, this weekend.

There, the artist is making available the festival-exclusive screenprint that we mentioned in September.  A signing is scheduled for Saturday, along with other events listed in the program guide, which will be followed by signings as time permits as well as on Sunday afternoon.  Kendal also sees the month-long return of the Phono+Graphic exhibition that Phillips curated for the previous year.

A local site has also published a brief guide with selected highlights.

• More Insight into The Fade Out.  We saw a couple more things this week about The Fade Out that we'd like to share.  First, our copy of the book's deluxe hardcover is still on its way, but we're guessing that we've seen a couple pages in Wednesday's AV Club interview we mentioned above.

The interview includes the following low-res image of Sean Phillips' familiar headshots for the graphic novel's "Cast of Characters," but it's neither the single-page version found in the monthly issues nor any of the lists of 14-16 characters found in the trade paperback collection.  We believe this is the final cast list for the deluxe edition.

The same day, we saw a conversation on Twitter about something even better:  info that evidently didn't make the deluxe edition.  Twitter user @EllusiveJ brought up the subject of comic creators' playlists, and Ed Brubaker mentioned a playlist that he wanted to include in The Fade Out, presumably the single-volume book.

He then took a screencap and posted "THE FADE OUT playlist," which we're reproducing below.

Brubaker explains that this playlist helped with writing the book: "It really helped set the tone, to know what they'd be hearing on the radio, etc."  We've already mentioned his earlier revelation that most of the book's chapter titles were taken from contemporary song lyrics, so we're curious what we'll find in these songs.

• Classic Movies Online, Classic Muppets on HBO.  Finally, a couple other news items that our readers might find interesting, not directly related to Brubaker and Phillips.

First, the New York Post has an article on FilmStruck, a new streaming channel being launched by Turner Classic Movies:  "Starting Oct. 19, for $6.99 a month you will be able to sample a library of hundreds of TCM films at a time, on a rotating basis, via an app that will initially be available only on the web, Amazon Fire, iOS and Android devices."

We're salivating already.

Second, regular viewers of Westworld have another reason to appreciate their subscription to HBO, especially if they're of a certain age or have young children.  Just this week, IndieWire reported that all 96 episodes of Jim Henson's Fraggle Rock will return to the channel by year's end, remastered in high definition.

Dance your cares away, worry's for another day...

(Now try getting that song out of your head.)

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