Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Cover Art for Criminal Deluxe.

Briefly, I just noticed this afternoon, that over on his fairly new Twitter account, Ed Brubaker pointed out the cover art to the Criminal omnibus at Comic Book Resources, art that has now been added to Marvel's September solicitations at CBR.



It's impressive: it looks more like an art book than does your typical comic book hardcover. It uses a white background on the spine, just like the trade paperbacks. The spine features a detail of the cover for Criminal #9 -- the apparently popular Tracy Lawless at his family's gravesite -- and the front features the part of the painting for the cover for Volume 2, #2.

That painting -- which I think is the best cover art we've seen for this series so far -- is not only striking in its brutal beauty, it features the man who is, in some ways, a key character in the three arcs included in this volume: the sociopath, Teeg Lawless.

The edition isn't listed as "Volume 1," but since "Bad Night wasn't included and "The Sinners" is already on its way, presumably this isn't the only "deluxe" hardcover we'll ever see from this series.

Finally, it wasn't listed in the solicitation, but the artwork indicates an introduction by Dave Gibbons, the artist and writer who's best known for his art on Watchmen.


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Sleeper and Incognito, In Stores Today.

This is just a reminder that the Sleeper: Season One trade paperback collection and Incognito #4 are both in stores today.

Upon the release the new edition of Point Blank -- the prelude to Sleeper -- I mentioned that I would provide an update "if there is any new material worth mentioning." The changes to the new release are extremely minor, and I documented them in an update to that original blog entry.

I haven't yet received my copy of Sleeper: Season One, but I'll relay what changes have been made after it comes in.

In the meantime, DC's WildStorm blog has an entry featuring drafts of Sean Phillips' cover art, which we highlighted earlier this year, and the official listing for the new trade paperback features a PDF preview of the first four pages.

What I haven't been able to find -- for the first time in a while, at least since early in the "Bad Night" arc for Criminal -- is an online preview for the latest monthly issue, not at the usual comic news sites, and not even in Marvel's official list of comics released this week.

I did pick up Incognito #4 today, and it's a doozy. In the back pages, Ed Brubaker describes the issue as one of his favorite so far in this series, an issue "where the knife just keeps twisting."


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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

September Solicitations: Sinners and Criminal Deluxe.

Marvel's solicitations for September, 2009, have been released today and can be found on both Comic Book Resources and Newsarama, and we finally have more details about the big news items we've announced over the last couple weeks, the return of Criminal with a new story arc in a monthly format and the Criminal hardcover that Ed Brubaker confirmed early last week.
CRIMINAL: THE SINNERS #1
By Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips

FROM THE CREATORS OF INCOGNITO -- THE AWARD-WINNING SERIES RETURNS!
"THE BEST CRIME COMIC EVER PUBLISHED..." – Comic Book Resources

One of the most award-winning and acclaimed comics series of the last several years returns to the shelves this September with a perfect new jumping-on point for new readers -- or those who’ve gotten hooked on Brubaker and Phillips hit series INCOGNITO and are craving more!

CRIMINAL’s most popular character, TRACY LAWLESS returns in THE SINNERS. It’s been a year since Tracy was forced into working for the bad guys, and now made men are turning up dead all over the city, in what appears to be mob-style hits. But since criminals don’t go to the cops for justice... only Tracy can solve this crime.

40 PGS/Mature Content/No ads.... $3.50

FINAL ORDER CUT-OFF 9/3, (ON-SALE 9/23/09)



CRIMINAL: THE DELUXE EDITION
By Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips

This oversized deluxe hardback edition features CRIMINAL books 1 thru 3 -- COWARD, LAWLESS, and THE DEAD AND THE DYING. A fantastically-designed and printed book showcasing the Eisner and Harvey Award-Winning crime comics from the creators of SLEEPER and INCOGNITO.

Also features many extras – including a Criminal short story and the never-before-printed five page “movie trailer in comics form” that Brubaker and Phillips created to announce the series online... illustrations, selected articles, behind the scenes looks, painted covers... and much much more!

A true collector’s edition spectacular from two of the hottest creators in comics, and a must-have for any fan!

400 pages/Mature Content... $49.99
There's a lot worth noting.
  • Release dates. Newsarama lists September 23rd as the expected on-sale date for "The Sinners #1", but neither site lists a sale date for the hardcover collection. When he confirmed the hardcover, Brubaker relayed, "it will come out in November."

  • Cover art. Both sites display the cover art for "The Sinners #1," which we've already featured from Sean Phillips' blog, but neither have the cover art for the early-solicited hardcover, artwork which will presumably be released closer to the actual publication.

  • De-emphasized numbering for Criminal. The next issue of the monthly title is referenced as simply Criminal: The Sinners #1. The issue may still be listed as "Volume 2, Issue 9" on the copyright page, but Sean Phillips' preview art did suggest that the monthly title would no longer list this number on the cover. This is probably being done -- wisely in my opinion -- to help draw new readers after the conclusion of Incognito and with the beginning of each new, largely self-contained arc.

  • "One year later." The last chapter of "Lawless," set on Christmas Eve, was released in November, 2007. I've been speculating -- quite out of nowhere -- that each present-day arc roughly corresponded to the release date, but if "The Sinners" does take place a year later, that speculation clearly was presumptuous.

  • Oversized hardcover. The "deluxe" collection isn't just a hardcover, it's listed as an "oversized" hardcover. My guess is that it might be 11.3 x 7.6 inches, like many Marvel hardcovers.

  • Extra content. I believe the first three trade paperbacks contain 128 pages, 128 pages, and 104 pages, respectively. This leaves a hefty forty pages of additional content.

    That content will apparently include the "preview trailer" that has been featured here, and I believe it has only been previously published in any official capacity in the back pages of Kirkman's Walking Dead #30.

    The "Criminal short story" might be the prose story, "Caught in the Undertow," written from Gnarly's point of view and included in the premiere issue -- or it might be "No One Rides for Free," the Criminal "emission" from Liberty Comics #1.

    In addition to the essays that are beautifully illustrated by Sean Phillips, the extra material in the monthly issues includes ads for friends of Criminal, like Hard Case Crime; Brubaker's personal page, which was eventually titled "The Secret Ingredient is Crime;" and an excerpt of an interview with Brubaker conducted by Daniel Robert Epstein before the journalist's death. Not including all that, I count FORTY PAGES of essays in the first thirteen issues, so unless some of these essays are reformatted, I suspect that this hardcover might only collect some of these essays as "selected articles."

    Even so, it appears that this collection really will be the rare instance of a book to meet its claim of being a "must-have."
As always, we'll relay more information about both the monthly comic and the hardcover collection as it becomes available. In particular, I'll work to update the blog as quickly as possible with any details about the Deluxe Edition's November release date, cover art, and bonus material.

UPDATE, June 17: The solicitation has been updated with the cover art; details here.


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Bullets: Reborn, Interviews, and Preview Art.

Bigger news is coming later today, but first, a quick survey of other stuff I've seen online, all about Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips.
  • Details on Reborn. There have been some significant complaints about the planned timing of this announcement -- see, for instance, Brian Hibbs' criticism in multiple parts, starting here -- but Marvel has now announced that Ed Brubaker's upcoming Reborn miniseries will feature the return of Steve Rogers, Captain America.

    I have not yet seen any interviews with Brubaker, but the news is getting extensive coverage at comic-book news sites and is even being mentioned in mainstream news outlets. In addition to providing a press release from Marvel, Newsarama reports that the New York Daily News first broke the story. The site also highlights a blog entry at the LA Times that features a six-page preview of Captain America: Reborn #1.

    The story apparently begins in Captain America #600, in stores this week, and the five-part Reborn miniseries will debut on July 1st.

  • Brubaker Podcast: Criminal Film Rights? I missed catching this earlier, but around April 16th, iFanboy released a podcast interview with Ed Brubaker, who discusses Incognito, Angel of Death, and his current work in the Marvel universe. The entire 40-minute interview is worth a listen, for details about how Brubaker uses notebooks to plan his stories (and how he plays with his dog while he brainstorms), and how he transitioned from doing work as a comic artist to focusing on writing.

    He mentions that there is already talks about a sequel to Angel of Death, but what I found most interesting is what Brubaker revealed about Criminal at the seven-minute mark, while discussing how Angel of Death came about.

    "John Norris, the producer on Angel of Death, was approaching me to see about getting the rights to Criminal to do for an Internet series. I was already in negotiations with a variety of people on some of those books, so I couldn't do that and wasn't sure I'd want to anyway." [emphasis mine]

    Very interesting.

  • Brubaker, Phillips, and New Technology. Ed Brubaker was also briefly interviewed by Newsarama, alongside others in the comics industry, on the subject of how technology might change the industry.

    "For my money, nothing beats printed comics and graphic novels, but the new technology offers one big advantage that makes it very appealing... the direct distribution of content to the reader/viewer. I don't think print is dead, or any of those old saws, and I don't think that ecomics or motion comics will ever give a reader the same experience as print does, but it's hard to argue the impact they'll have on the market in the coming years."

    The topic reminds of a Slate article by Jacob Weisberg on the effect Kindle and similar readers might have on the publishing industry. He theorizes that physical books may "decline as useful objects" but then "flourish as design objects." In comics, we might see fewer physical monthly titles, but a greater number of high-quality "Absolute" editions of major works. I'm not sure that could sustain specialty retailers, but I do hope it can.

    On the subject of how technology will change printed media, the June 1st issue of The New Yorker features cover art that was created on a iPhone app. The Unofficial Apple Weblog has a story that features the artwork and provides links both to an interview with the artist and to a video showing the creation of the cover art in-progress.

    Sean Phillips has used a similar paint application with a Nintendo DS he was given in early 2008, and he has posted on his blog some quite impressive work, including sketches of his son Jake and some Viking jewelry. He has also posted movies, here and here, of two nudes that he presumably drew during a life drawing class.

  • Preview art for Incognito and Criminal. I don't believe Sean has posted much DS art recently. For May and June, his blog has been dominated by work for Incognito and Criminal.

    For Incognito, Phillips has posted quite a few thumbnails, sketches, partial inks, and completed inks. Highlights include the sketch and final artwork for Jess Nevins' essay on Operator 5, presumably for Incognito #4, in stores tomorrow. Just today, he has posted a sketch for what I gather is the artwork for Nevins' essay for issue #5, on Fu Manchu.

    As we reported earlier, Criminal is about to make its return, and so Phillips has posted the sketch, the inks, and the colors for the cover art for part one of "The Sinners." We have also been treated to the sketch of the cover art for part two. As before, the issue number -- issue #9 of volume 2 -- appears to be omitted. More, the sketch suggests a striking and possibly deliberate contrast to the cover for issue #9 of the first volume.



    The final cover art has not yet been posted.
The bigger news on the Criminal front is coming shortly.


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Tuesday, June 09, 2009

CRIMINAL DELUXE HARDCOVER, SCHEDULED FOR NOVEMBER.

At both the BendisBoard forum at JinxWorld and at the blog Mah Two Cents, comic readers have recently noticed a "Criminal Omnibus" listed in this month's Previews, scheduled for a November release. The Discount Comic Book Service has a listing for the same product, with an "expected in-store date" of November 4th and apparent retail price of $49.99.

Lying in the Gutters, at its new home of Bleeding Cool, reported late yesterday that Ed Brubaker has confirmed the upcoming hardcover release.
Sneaking into Diamond Comics Distribution order sheets, but not the solicitations, themselves, the CRIMINAL OMNIBUS HC has been a strange anomaly for the last couple of weeks in certain Marvel Comics listings.

In response to enquiries my Little Bleeders, Brubaker confirmed that it was an early technical solicitation, and you can look forward to being able to order the title from the next Previews.

This will be the first creator owned Omnibus HC title from Marvel. And, of course, quite handy to defend yourself if an actual criminal breaks in. Just drop it on his head in self defence.
In the comment thread for this announcement, Ed Brubaker relays more information about the title, but declines to answer a question about how many issues the volume will contain.

"The book is actually going to be called the Criminal Deluxe edition, and it will come out in November. You'll see information in the September solicits because we're advance soliciting it."

"You'll have to wait for the official release to get the details, sorry. I'm sure you can wait a week or so for the online solicits."


A deluxe hardcover collection of Criminal is great news, and we'll relay more information as it becomes available.


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