Thursday, September 24, 2009

Cover Art, Solicitations, and Interviews.



Sean Phillips has already posted the cover art for the fourth issue of the upcoming Criminal arc, "The Sinners:" the preliminary rough, the in-progress pencils, and the final cover, above.

Marvel's December solicitations have been released, and the third issue of "The Sinners" is initially scheduled for a December 23rd release.

And, at his Twitter page, Ed Brubaker highlights a couple recent interviews. First is a text interview at IGN, where he discusses how his past informs the ideas in Criminal. What I find most interesting is a vague allusion to what may be the series' final arc:
"There will eventually be a story in which we see almost the entire cast in one big story. I'm hoping to get to more stories before then, but I do have this story in mind that's sort of a mid-eighties period piece where our main characters are all teenagers and their parents are the main characters. That's the duel-tiered story I've been sketching out in my notebook. But that's at least a few Criminal stories away, because that'll be the biggest thing page count wise that we're going to tackle. I need to keep building up the fan base before we do that."
This sounds like more information about a story that Brubaker already mentioned, for instance, in a CBR interview we mentioned last year.

On the release of the trade paperback for "The Dead and The Dying," Brubaker was asked about subsequent flashback stories. He relayed that we'd probably see more such stories, but that they were not currently in the planning stages. The interview's final paragraph documents one notable exception.
"Although there is one big story that will probably end up being the longest story we do in the book. It will be about Leo and Tracy and Ricky's parents' gang and about them as teenagers. It's basically the story of how Leo's screw up ended up fucking up everyone's life. If we ever decide to end the book that will probably be the last story we tell." [emphasis mine]
It's entirely possible that I'm reading too much into these two interviews. Though it seems clear that both interviews allude to the same lengthy flashback story, that story may no longer be -- and may never have really been -- the planned finale.

The line, "I'm hoping to get to more stories before then," doesn't help things: one can very easily read into these statements the possibility, at least, that while the conclusion to Criminal remains on the definite but far horizon, it may be approaching sooner rather than later.

And, second, is the first segment of a two-part Word Balloon podcast interview with John Siuntres at Newsarama. The 100-plus-minute mp3 file includes talk about Criminal and Incognito, along with Captain America Reborn, The Marvels Project, and Brubaker's take on the Marvel/Disney deal.

In the long chat about Criminal [2:00-36:30], Brubaker reveals that the next arc was going to be "Coward's Way Out," about Leo's prison break, but that's been pushed back in favor of "The Sinners."

This new arc is planned to cover five issues -- then again, so was Incognito -- and, like all the previous arcs, it will push out the boundaries of what the creators and the series can do, this time by having a much larger scope in terms of characters and locations in the nameless city.

Those who are purchasing Criminal: The Deluxe Edition should take note that, although there appears to be enough room, Brubaker confirms that the hardcover will not contain all of the essays published for the periodical "crime magazine" version of Criminal. The hardcover will only include essays that Brubaker himself wrote, including -- presumably -- the prose story written from Gnarly's perspective, found in the debut issue. Other essays, such as Patton Oswalt's essay on Blast of Silence, will remain exclusive to the monthly issues, at least for the moment.

(He did mention that, in the far future, he may end up publishing all of the essays in an art book, something like "The Criminal Guide to Noir.")

Brubaker also discusses the pleasure of serialized crime fiction and the sources of inspiration for some of the comic book's heists.

About Incognito [36:30-42:30, briefly at 19:30], he discusses the thematic overlap between his Icon mini-series, the Marvels Project, and Alan Moore's Tom Strong -- and the unique approach Incognito takes, in combining elements of both Doc Savage and of Black Mask to create a modern, apocalyptic pulp noir. He confirms that he owns the characters in the series and that they are not in the public domain.

About the Icon imprint [46:30 - 51:00], Brubaker relays his hope that the Disney-Marvel deal will increase the visibility of the "creator-driven" line which helps Marvel by giving creators room to take a break from mainstream titles to work on their own projects.

And, in both interviews, he highlights the most recent Criminal arc -- the intricately plotted "Bad Night" -- as one of the best things he's ever written.

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