Bullets: Criminal "Emission" for Dark Horse Noir, Incognito Solicitation, Second Volume of Gotham Central.
There have been a few updates which I would like to highlight, and there is news about a reprint that has (finally) been announced.
- Confirmed: Criminal "Emission" for Dark Horse Noir. Sean Phillips himself commented about my recent summary of other interesting crime comics. As I explained in the update, Sean confirmed that his collaboration with Ed Brubaker for the upcoming Dark Horse Noir anthology collection will be a Criminal short story. This would be the second such story outside the pages of the Icon series -- the first one being in last year's Liberty Comics -- and Sean relays that Val Staples will not be adding his color work to this story, making it the first black-and-white Criminal story.
(I pointed out Dark Horse's page for the collection earlier, but I missed that its format is explicitly black-and-white.)
Last year's short story was titled "No One Rides for Free," a "Criminal emission" whereas each issue and trade collection is presented as a "Criminal edition." If the preview art that Sean just posted is any indication, this new "emission" will be called "21st Century Noir."
The first page of preview art suggests that, along with a suitably twisted tale of romance (possibly featuring new characters), the story might obliquely address the way technology changes noir fiction. Noir from fifty years ago features phone booths and large American cars, in a culture where most men were suits and hats and where everybody smoked; now it's all cell phones, hybrids, tee-shirts and bottled water. The core tragedy of human life hasn't changed, but how technology affects it certainly has, and this story might explore that. The trade paperback anthology is scheduled for a Sept 30th release.
- July Solicitation and Release Date for Incognito #6. As I explained in the update to the original blog entry, Marvel has just released its July solicitations, providing the description and release date for the final issue of Incognito. The issue is currently scheduled for a July 15th release -- which is earlier than I guessed -- and its story's focus has apparently expanded to include a global threat, where Zack Overkill is "the one man left who can save the world."
- Gotham Central Volume 2 Hardcover. Finally, some new information regarding the hardcover collections for Gotham Central, which began with Ed Brubaker as co-writer and concluded with cover art from Sean Phillips. In DC's July solicitations, the second volume is advance-solicited for a September 9th sale date -- not too long before the Dark Horse Noir collection. Titled "Jokers & Madmen," the book collects the next twelve issues in the award-winning series, and it will retail for $29.99, the same price as the first, ten-issue collection.
If it's consistent with the first volume, this collection will be subtitled "Book Two" and will contain the cover art for the collected issues -- which would be a good sign that the final volume will collect Sean Phillips' cover art. And, since the first hardcover collection was released in September, 2008, I'm guessing that subsequent volumes to collect the last of the series' forty issues will be published annually.
Even though I had read his work for the main Batman titles, it was Gotham Central that made me really notice the particular writing of Ed Brubaker and Greg Rucka. For me it has served as a "gateway drug" to Rucka's Queen & Country, and to Brubaker and Phillips's Sleeper and, now, Criminal and Incognito. Fans of Brubaker and Michael Lark's work on Daredevil should definitely check out this title, which is a kind of NYPD Blue under the shadow of the Batman and his dangerous enemies.
This volume should be particularly enjoyable. It collects, for the first time, "Daydreams & Believers" and "Life is Full of Disappointments," two low-key stories that provide some of the best character moments of the series. And, it reprints "Soft Targets," a story where the Joker terrorizes Gotham during the Christmas season; it wouldn't surprise me at all if this story was read by the writers of The Dark Knight.