A Velvet Preview, A Brubaker Interview, A Criminal Trade, and an Eisner Nod!
Image Comics continues to release new editions of Criminal, and the fourth volume is out today: "Bad Night" is the first of three stories (and counting?) where the medium of comics strongly intersects with the narrative, and it showed that, with each new story, Brubaker and Phillips would continue to challenge themselves, the readers, and even their deeply flawed protagonists and their tenuous grasp on the world around them.
We believe that the interruption was definitely worth it, but the Criminal Special Edition one-shot was nevertheless a significant interruption in the usual output of creator-owned comics by Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips, and even Brubaker's other collaborator Steve Epting. The Fade Out #4 came out in the first week of January, and Velvet #9 came out in the first week of February, and we're only now seeing the next installments -- in back-to-back weeks.
The Fade Out #5 came out last week, to very positive reviews, with Comic Book Roundup aggregating views from 11 different critics, all giving the book an 8 or better on a 10-point scale. The review from Doom Rocket is particularly worth reading for noting the distinction between noir and detective stories, and it dovetails with an excellent, lengthy look at the first trade paperback, in a review published by Hyperallergic earlier this month. Rhymes With Geek has another good review, but it's worth noting that this issue is more the beginning of a new act in the sprawling drama rather than a "jumping-on" point for new readers.
Hot on the heels of Brubaker's latest work with Phillips is his latest with Epting, closing a chapter instead of starting a new one. Velvet #10 is in stores today, Graphic Policy has a three-page preview, and All-Comic.com has a quite positive advance review.
Image's July solicitations just came out yesterday, and we see the planned return to a more regular schedule. Between June and July, we should see the last two Criminal trades released (volumes 5 and 6), The Fade Out #8, and Velvet #14.
Ed Brubaker addresses the schedule in a lengthy interview published by Comic Book Resources last week: in an image caption for The Fade Out, we find that "Brubaker says the book is set to remain on a monthly schedule for the rest of the year."
The interview also reveals that Brubaker is currently working as supervising producer on an HBO series, set to debut later this year: he could not reveal further details, but the writer is juggling his work for TV and his creator-owned books.
I get up at 6 in the morning and I write my comics for like three hours, and then I go into a day job. I'm asleep by 10 every night right now.It's interesting. The structure's been really good for me. We have no phones or computers in the writers' room -- my attention span has totally come back. I really thought I had slowly developed ADD, but it turned out I was just looking at the Internet all the time and checking my email. Once you're untethered from that? Now I'm reading more books, I'm looking at the Internet in general so much less, and I feel so much mentally healthier from that. But it's a lot of work to carry.
In fact, Brubaker says that there is a unique appeal to a creator-owned comic book: "I'll tell you -- working in Hollywood has made me appreciate my comics job a lot. No one gives me notes, I don't have to involve a lot of people in the process. I love the hours of my day when I get to sit and write my comics. I think I appreciate them more now than I did when it was my full-time job."
Does he miss writing superhero comics for the big two publishers? Not so much.
Brubaker's work in creator-owned comics continues to pay off, in more ways than one.
The Image deal is so fantastic. This year, already, has been my best year financially in comics, ever. And it's only three months in. I've made more money from Image than I made last year when the "Winter Soldier" movie was out, on "Captain America" books.
Every project [Brubaker and Phillips] do sells better than the last one now, and it's not that more of our old readers are coming back. There's just a bunch of new people who are reading comics now. It's pretty fucking amazing.
But it's not just the financial rewards and the increased readership: critical acclaim is another reward, as The Fade Out joins Criminal, Incognito, and Fatale in being recognized in the list of Eisner nominees.
The 2015 Eisner nominations were released just two hours ago, and Brubaker and Phillips' latest collaboration makes a notable appearance, as The Fade Out is nominated for Best New Series.
As always, winners will be announced at Comic-Con International: the gala awards ceremony will take place on Friday, July 10th, in San Diego.
We heartily congratulate Ed, Sean, and Bettie for the nomination!