Wednesday, February 25, 2009

CONFIRMED: Sixth Issue for Incognito.

The suspicion which I wrote about earlier this week has just been confirmed: though originally described as a five-issue mini-series, Incognito will have (at least) a sixth issue, after all. Over at his blog, Sean Phillips has just posted his sketch for the sixth issue's cover art.

The sketch looks more like what I would expect from a final issue: a dramatic image of the protagonist rather than a sneering secondary character. My guess is, this issue will see publication around June, and Criminal will probably resume in July or August.

As always, I'll post more details as I find them.

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Sunday, February 22, 2009

May Solicitations: Incognito and Sleeper.

As Newsarama reported earlier this week, Marvel and DC released their May solicitations earlier this week. In Marvel's solicitations, Incognito #5 is listed, currently scheduled for a May 27th release. The most interesting thing is that description doesn't suggest that the fifth issue is the final issue. We reported, way back in September, that Incognito was planned to be a five-issue mini-series, but this description doesn't sound like the climax and conclusion:
Doc Lester is the mad scientist's mad scientist, and he may just be the only person who knows the truth about Zack Overkill and his twin brother...A truth that Zack will soon have to kill for, as all sides are closing in on him.
It's possible I'm reading too much between the lines, but I'll see if I can confirm that the mini-series has been lengthened.

Over at DC's side of things, we have an advance solitication -- which has now been posted at the official site -- for the first volume in a new edition of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips' Sleeper. We first reported the new editions in September, and we finally have some details.

This first volume, Sleeper Season One (buy Sleeper: Season One from is scheduled to be released on June 17th. It's a trade paperback collection of material that was previously available in two trade paperbacks, "Out in the Cold" and "All False Moves." While those two volumes retailed together for $35.98, it appears that this new collection will sell for only $24.99.

Comparing page counts, it appears that this new volume will not contain much extra material, if any. Earlier, Ed Brubaker mentioned the inclusion of a rare story from a WildStorm sampler, but since that story is apparently a prequel or prelude to Season Two, it will almost certainly be included in a follow-up Season Two volume, which has not yet been announced.

Personally, I would love to see an "Absolute" edition of Sleeper, including what I believe is the essential prelude of Point Blank, written by Ed Brubaker and drawn by Colin Wilson. A hardcover collection this summer might make such a high-end collection less likely; I'm hoping that an "Absolute" edition will become more likely if and when the film adaptation comes closer to becoming a reality.

UPDATE: I missed this when it was originally solicited, but it appears that a new trade-paperback edition of Point Blank is also in the works, scheduled for a May 6th release. The heading appears to have an error, as the description rightly describes the release as having new cover artwork by Sean Phillips -- art that he showcased at his blog, also in September, first as a rough sketch and then in as a complete but uncolored work.

It appears that this collection will contain about the same number of pages and for about the same price as the original trade paperback, but it will be officially branded on the front cover as the "prelude to Sleeper." Going by this collection's early May release and Season One's mid-June release, I'm guessing Season Two will come out by late July.

Those fans of Criminal and Incognito who haven't read this dark, self-contained tale of super-powered espionage will have an excellent opportunity to catch up this summer.

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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Bullets: New Incognito, Brubaker Interviews, Crime Comics.

The Incognito express keeps rolling on, and -- despite my being sick this week -- we're here to cover the highlights..
  • New Incognito in stores now. Two issues of Brubaker and Phillips' "Apocalyptic Pulp Noir" mini-series were released this past Wednesday: the second printing of issue #1 and a new chapter in issue #2. Comic Book Resources has a five-page preview of the second issue. This issue has already received very positive reviews from CBR and The Savage Critics, and if sales of the first issue are any indication, this issue will probably go pretty fast. If you don't have it already, you should probably buy it soon.

  • Brubaker interviews. There have been a few recent interviews with Ed Brubaker that I didn't mention in my last blog post. Brubaker talked with Atomic Comics about Incognito, Captain America, and the new Sleeper film. Newsarama posted an hour-long Word Balloon podcast with Brubaker, where he discussed the pulp noir comic and his work on the online live-action mini-series Angel of Death. And, since I last wrote, the New York Comic Con saw the announcement of The Marvels Project, an upcoming mini-series about the orgins of Marvel's earliest superheroes; Brubaker is writing the story, and Newsarama conducted a lengthy interview about the project.

  • Other crime comics. In the back pages of the latest issue, Ed Brubaker writes about Donald Westlake, who passed away at the beginning of the year, and whose many psuedonyms apparently inspired Tracy Lawless' alias in Criminal. He mentions that Darwyn Cooke will be adapting the first four volumes of Westlake's "Parker" novels (written under the psuedonym, Richard Stark) and now is as good a time as any to mention that, later this year, we'll see quite a few crime comics that might appeal to Criminal fans.

    Cooke's adaptation of the first "Parker" novel, The Hunter, should be released in late 2009; the project was announced at last year's San Diego Comic-Con and was covered by Newsarama and CBR, among many other online newssites. A new "Parker" fansite has recently displayed what appears to be the cover art for the first adaptation, which is now scheduled for a July release, and they point to a recent interview with Cooke at Wizard.

    (Those who are interested in Darwyn Cooke's "Parker" adaptations might be interested to know that, last year, The University of Chicago Press began republishing the earliest novels in the series, in order. The next group of three novels should be released this May.)

    During this past weekend's New York Comic Con, two other high-profile crime comics were announced. DC's Vertigo comics will release a series of black-and-white hardcover graphic novels under the heading Vertigo Crime. The first two graphic novels are scheduled to be released in September, and five other titles were announced as being in the pipeline, with more being planned.

    And, also in September, Dark Horse Comics will release a crime comic anthology series called Noir, and it features our own Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips. It's possible that this anthology will include a Criminal "emission" just like last year's Liberty Comics anthology for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund; we'll post more details as they become available.
Personally, I think the growing interest in pure crime comics can only be a good thing for Criminal, which is proving to be the gold standard in monthly crime titles. We could be witnessing the birth -- or, more accurately, the rebirth -- of a comic-book genre.

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