Saturday, July 28, 2012

An Eisner for "Last of the Innocent" -- and Where It May Lead.

We would be remiss to let July come to a close without noting that, this month at Comic-Con International, Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips' Criminal was honored with the Eisner award for Best Limited Series for "The Last of the Innocent."

(It really is a great story, even apart from the references to Archie comics and other classics for adolescents:  it's a dark look at nostalgia and self-centeredness that wouldn't be half as effective without Sean Phillips' shifting between the desperate present and an idealized past.)

Criminal has received quite a few nominations since its debut in 2006, and it won the Best New Series Eisner in 2007. Ed Brubaker has also been thrice honored as Best Writer for his work at Marvel, within the mainstream superhero universe and beyond to his work with Sean Phillips.

In the back pages of Fatale, their surprise hit combining noir and Lovecraftian horror, we've seen an ad for all the previous collections of the most prominent works in Brubaker and Phillips' canon.


There's the espionage thriller of Sleeper, for DC's Vertigo imprint.  In the creator-owned category, we have the straight-up crime stories in Criminal and the "apocalyptic pulp noir" of Incognito, both published through Marvel's Icon imprint.

(For my money, Criminal is the magnum opus, and not just in terms of size. Readers might be interested to note that we've already compiled a more complete list of their collaborations.)

It's my hope that these honors, awards, and stellar reviews continue to encourage new readers to give Brubaker/Phillips a try, so that the market can sustain their moody and sometimes quite sophisticated noir comics.

Earlier this month, in an exclusive interview with Comic Book Resources, John Layman discussed his upcoming work on Detective Comics and put it in perspective alongside his twisted, hilarious crime comic Chew.
The good thing about the success of "Chew" is that I don't have to take work. I am in this really great position where if I am doing something, it's because I want to do it, not because I have to pay the phone bill. Basically, I looked at my schedule and said, "Yes." And also, it's awesome.
That's what I'd like to see for Brubaker and Phillips -- and, really, all the great talents who I see take chances on telling their own stories, their own way:  not just John Layman and Rob Guillory, but Scott Morse (Strange Science Fantasy) and Ken Garing (Planetoid).

A world where great writers and artists work on the intellectual property of others only when they want to:  they can reach for this prize with great work, and they can get there with support from us, their readers.

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