Tuesday, April 29, 2008

"Blast of Silence."

It took a little longer than I expected, but I'm finally posting a bit about the Criterion Collection release of Blast of Silence. It's an interesting film, one that I enjoyed a lot more the second time and one that I suspect will continue to grow on me with repeated viewings. Made in the early 1960s for next to nothing, it's definitely a film of its era and its budget, but I can see why it's considered a lost masterpiece. There are moments where the cinematography is really striking; other than perhaps some source music in a bar, the jazz score is evocative of the loneliness in a big city; and Allen Baron's performance sometimes eerily foreshadows De Niro or even offers a glimpse of what a New Yorker like Scorsese would have looked like in front of the camera. I would probably recommend it more for a noir aficionado than a novice like myself, but I find that, as it touches on many of the same themes with the same focus on visuals and music, Blast of Silence is a very enjoyable precursor to my favorite noir film, Michael Mann's Heat.

Probably more germane to this blog, the DVD features a lot of artwork from Criminal's own Sean Phillips. He not only drew the cover, above, but he also drew and colored a short comic adaptation of the film's opening scenes, in a manner very familiar to Criminal fans. His artwork graces the liner notes, the DVD menu, and the artwork on the disc itself. Newsarama interviewed Sean about his work on the release, here, and the article highlights an online copy of Patton Oswalt's essay that was published in Criminal, here.

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Monday, April 14, 2008

Bullets: The Most Wonderful Thing About Teeger...

...is he's the only one.

My apologies to A.A. Milne, The Walt Disney Company, and everyone who visits A Criminal Blog. I haven't seen that particular bad pun being used about Teegar Lawless, so I figured someone had to use it.

Some news and notes about the world of Criminal.
  • 2008 Eisner Nominations. Newsarama published a press release announcing the nominees for the 2008 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards. Criminal won Best New Series last year, and Ed Brubaker won an Eisner for Best Writer, in part because of his work in Criminal. Brubaker is nominated again this year for Best Writer, for his work Criminal, Captain America, Daredevil, and Immortal Iron Fist. Winners will be announced July 25th at San Diego's Comic-Con International.

  • Sean @ NYCC. On the subject of comic book conventions, Sean Phillips is coming to the New York Comic Con, at the Splash Page Comic Art Booth (#1966). Splash Page Comic Art is the art dealer that sells many original pieces of Sean's work, from Sleeper to the cover art for Vinyl Underground and, of course, Criminal. The NYCC is being held this weekend, from April 18-20.

  • Blow Up. Over at his blog, Sean also announced -- and has been showing a little preview art from -- Blow Up, a 400-page hardcover book of his art, including comic art. The cover is an extreme close-up of the cover to the upcoming Issue #3 of Criminal, and the book is available here.

  • July Solicitations. Speaking of upcoming issues of Criminal, Newsarama has a sneak peek of Marvel's July solicitations, here. I believe the page will be updated with the full details, possibly as soon as tomorrow, but the preview already reveals that July will likely see Criminal #5 and The Dying and the Dead. The former is the second part of the four-part story "Bad Night", and the latter is the trade collection of the three interconnecting one-shot stories set in 1972. The trade collection will have a slightly lower price than previous collections, and the solicitation confirms that John Singleton is penning the introduction.

    UPDATE: And, I just noticed, the full July solicitations for DC Comics, here, list the first hardcover collection of one of my other favorite titles, Gotham Central. This collection will feature the first ten issues, with writing by Ed Brubaker alongside Greg Rucka. With any luck, all forty issues will eventually be reprinted, including the seven or so issues that weren't collected in the trade paperback editions. If the later collections include cover art, we might also see some of Sean Phillips' work for this critically acclaimed series.

  • Blast of Silence. Finally, as we announced here a couple months ago, the Criterion Collection release of Blast of Silence will be in stores tomorrow. The film was featured in one of Criminal's earliest essays, and Sean has provided the cover art and a brief comic book for the package.

I'm planning on picking up Blast of Silence tomorrow, and so I hope to have more to say about the film later this week.

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Monday, April 07, 2008

"A Wolf Among Wolves."

Thursday, Comic Book Resources published a ten-page, full-color preview of Issue #2 of the second volume of Criminal. "A Wolf Among Wolves" features Teeg Lawless, home from Vietnam and returning to crime to pay off a sizable gambling debt. The preview is available here, and the issue is in stores this Wednesday.

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