Wednesday, October 28, 2015

What's Next?

We're in the home stretch for The Fade Out:  the tenth issue arrived in stores last week, so all that remains is the penultimate issue and the grand finale, between which we plan a month's worth of posts to look back on this, Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips' period piece set in the golden age of Hollywood Babylon.

What next?  In the back pages of The Fade Out #10, Brubaker assured readers that this series is reaching its planned end, as sales have been "our best ever, with very little drop-off between issues," and he immediately hinted about the future.
"I hope this trend continues with our next project, because as soon as we finish, we're jumping right into the next thing as usual... So keep your eyes peeled, and stick around.  Me and Sean and Bettie aren't going anywhere."
There wasn't anything in Image's January solicitations, but we expect to hear the announcement sooner rather than later -- maybe in time for The Fade Out #11? is that why we had this hint in issue #10? -- and we'll be sure to cover the news here.

Until then, Sean Phillips is publishing preview art of The Fade Out, both in pencils and inks...



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News in the last month had me wondering whether the new series would kick things off with a magazine-sized variant, like the debut issue to The Fade Out and the one-shot Criminal Special Edition.  On September 29th, covering the Diamond Retailer Summit, Publishers Weekly reported, "Image‚Äôs director of retail sales Corey Murphy drew applause at the panel when she announced that Image will no longer be doing variant covers."

And yet, on October 14th, Image itself announced a variant cover for The Wicked + The Divine, and then the January solicitations contained variants a-plenty.

The writer seemed to miss a key detail that what Image Comics is ending isn't variant covers in general, but a type of variant covers in particular:  retailer-exclusive variant covers for monthly issues.  In an interview with Bleeding Cool published last week, publisher Eric Stephenson elaborates that Image will still offer promotional giveaways at particular events and even retailer-exclusive variants for collected editions -- for trades, not "floppies."

So we may continue to see the magazine-sized variants for special issues -- and I hope we do, since they have been so striking, especially Criminal's cover-to-cover pastiche of classic Conan comics -- but, so long as Brubaker and Phillips remain at Image and this policy is in place, we may not see any additional retailer-exclusive variants, and the two retailer exclusives for The Fade Out #1 may turn out to be a one-time thing.

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Coinciding with the Lakes International Comic Art Festival, Sean Phillips curated an exhibit of album covers created by comic artists, and the PHONO+GRAPHIC exhibition closed last week in Kendal, England.  On Twitter, Phillips hints that the exhibit may be touring other venues, and in the meantime he pointed readers to a BBC story on the exhibit, featuring a closer look at albums from artists including David Bowie and Johnny Cash.

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Finally, there's news for us fans of Brubaker's other current creator-owned title, Velvet, which features art by Steve Epting:  according to both ComicList's ever-changing preview of next week's releases and its permanent record of its 10/28 extended forecast for Image Comics, the retro spy series returns next week with the long-awaited Velvet #12.

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