Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Bullets: Double-Issue Incognito, Brubaker Interviews, Parker Preview, &c.

Here's the latest news from the world of Criminal and Incognito, with a little extra information regarding some of Ed Brubaker's other work, a couple interviews, and more.
  • Incognito Must-Have One-Shot. The Incognito double-issue "one-shot," which we announced earlier, has been released today, as scheduled.

    For those who haven't picked it up yet, it's the first time a Brubaker/Phillips comic from Icon does not feature a wrap-around cover: the back cover displays half-sized versions of the cover art for the first printing of the first two issues. Inside, the $4.99 issue includes little more than the first two chapters of the story of Zack Overkill. It omits Ed Brubaker's notes page and Jess Nevins' first two essays on pulp heroes, leaving only enough room for an ad for Criminal and an announcement that the third issue of Incognito is already in stores "because the sick fun is just beginning!"

    I would consider this issue necessary only for true completists; the more new readers can catch up with the story, the better.

  • Ed Brubaker's Marvel Solicitations. A couple weeks ago, Marvel released its full solicitations for July, and I've already noted the solicitation and scheduled release date for the conclusion to Incognito. What I didn't note was that the first comic listed is "Reborn #1," the first part of a five-issue mini-series written by Brubaker and drawn by Bryan Hitch, with covers by Hitch, Alex Ross, and John Cassaday. The solicitation contains no further information, and I haven't seen much else about the comic beyond reader speculation.

    This week, Comic Book Resources posted an image related to June's issue of Captain America, where the series reverts to the original numbering (#600 instead of #51). Brubaker has mentioned a big summer event for Marvel that has, thus far, remained mostly a secret. The project is apparently "Reborn," and this image related to Captain America might also have something to do with the upcoming mini-series.

    [UPDATE, May 14: In a CBR interview posted today, Captain America editor Tom Brevoort reveals that the teaser image we briefly mentioned in April is almost certainly tied to "Reborn." Asked about the ad, Brevoort responds with information that coincides with what little was available from the solicitation: "It's written by Ed, drawn by Bryan Hitch, and will be of immediate interest to anybody reading Marvel Comics."]

  • Brubaker Interviews, Preview of Darwyn Cooke's Parker. I've come across two online interviews with Ed Brubaker, and both are worth a mention. First, a couple months ago, Chris Mautner posted a lengthy interview, conducted around the time of the debut of Incognito. (Hat-tip to Robot 6.)

    Brubaker discusses the story's themes of identity and how they tie to Zack's being a twin, the inherent tragedy of noir, and the hard edge of classic pulp. He talks about working on multiple series with Sean Phillips, the success of Criminal in both monthly and trade formats, and the differences between his creator-owned work and his work for-hire for DC and Marvel.

    More recently, Brubaker was a "special guest" for a Comics Reporter interview of Darwyn Cooke, focusing on the Cooke's upcoming comic adaptation of the first Parker novel, written by Donald Westlake under the psuedonym Richard Stark.

    (The page may take quite a while to load: it consistently loads slowly for me, because, I suspect, the page is waiting for files from a very sluggish ad site.)

    The interview, conducted by Tom Spurgeon, is something of a long love letter to the crime fiction of the late Westlake, who passed away just a few months ago, but it also covers Brubaker and Cooke's collaborative work on Catwoman, Cooke's praise for Criminal, and the moral code that guides each protagonist in the series.

    Perhaps most notably, the interview points to a lengthy, 21-page PDF preview of the first Parker adaptation, The Hunter. With its monochrome art and thirteen consecutive pages without almost any dialogue, the book is very, very striking. It's scheduled to be released by IDW this July, and I know I'm ordering a copy.

  • Preview Art at Sean Phillips' Blog. Brubaker isn't the only one who's been busy. Sean Phillips continues to feature preview art at his blog, both for the upcoming Criminal short story for Dark Horse Noir, and for Incognito. Highlights include the first look at the sexually deviant husband for the short story, "21st Century Noir," and a first look at Professor Zeppelin.

    Phillips' fans should also check out a sketch of a zombie Sentry, drawn at the Bristol Comic Expo.

  • A Question of Copyright. Finally, speaking of Phillips' blog, during the course of a conversation in the comments, I noticed that Criminal and Incognito do not have the same copyright notice.

    Everywhere I've seen Criminal published, the copyright is for Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, but Incognito has a copyright of "Basement Gang, Inc.," which appears to be a small company owned by Ed Brubaker and his wife, independent filmmaker Melanie Tomlin. I'm curious to know if anyone knows the reason behind the different copyrights.
In addition to reading Incognito, I've been watching baseball and keeping up with Hard Case Crime and the definitive editions of Greg Rucka's Queen & Country, but I'll keep an eye peeled for more news and previews.

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