Thursday, June 30, 2016

Bullets: UNDERTOW PODCAST EPISODE 2, Brubaker's Newsletter and Audio Interview, and More!

We have couple big items to wrap up the month.

Undertow Podcast Now Online!  The second episode of The Undertow Podcast has been released and is now available on iTunes and Podbean.  Robert and I pay tribute to the late, great Darwyn Cooke, with an emphasis on two acclaimed works that might be of particular interest to our listeners -- and to our readers here:  his work with Ed Brubaker redefining Catwoman for the modern era and his four hardcover adaptations of Richard Stark's Parker series.

We also discuss and recommend two works I mentioned in my last post, both humorous looks at the genre of crime fiction: a new comic called The Fix and the movie (and accompanying novelization of) The Nice Guys.

(About The Fix, it looks like issue #4 is out next week, along with additional printings of the first three issues.  In the meantime, we've noticed, via Ed Brubaker's Twitter feed, that Paste Magazine posted an excellent article on the series early this month, resulting from an interview with the creators.  Nick Spencer is said to be a fan of "crime comic classics such as Criminal and 100 Bullets.")

We anticipate our next podcast episode will be released in late July, after the release of Velvet #15 -- and we're looking forward to it already.

Ed Brubaker on "How to Be a Person" Podcast. We're not the only one recording audio discussions for an online audience, and last week the podcast, "How to Be a Person," published their episode interviewing Ed Brubaker.  There's not much new about his creator-owned comics, but the wide-ranging conversation covers his childhood and his early encounters with comics, his work on Captain America and Gotham Central, and his recent job as one of the writers for the upcoming HBO series Westworld -- all before less serious segments, a how-to on creating the text for cartoon sound effects and a short game devising supervillain names for people in real life.

In the interview, Brubaker describes Westworld as the most ambitious sci-fi television series since the updated Battlestar Galactica.  A teaser trailer for the series was released just last week, and Ars Technica has more details on the creative staff and premise for the show, which premieres in October.

The one-hour podcast is available on SoundCloud, and we think it's worth a listen. 

More on Velvet & Kill or Be Killed in the Brubaker Newsletter. We mentioned this in our news digest at the beginning of the podcast, but Ed Brubaker's second full-length newsletter was sent out by email on June 15th.  He discusses DC's latest controversial moves involving the world of Alan Moore's Watchmen, and he's inviting readers to send questions -- and lucky readers who have their questions answered will also win a prize from the writer.

Brubaker includes some great artwork from his current books, both in-progress and in their final version.  There's a couple pages of action from Steve Epting for the upcoming issue of Velvet, and there's an advance look at Sean Phillips' cover art for Kill Or Be Killed #2, which we're reprinting below.

Kill Or Be Killed #2 cover, From the Desk of Ed Brubaker
There are quite a few items of note regarding both series.
  • Velvet 15 went to print the week of June 15th, and Ed explains that all of the various delays were due to him, not Steve Epting:  his workload has been too much, and this particular story has been intricate and difficutl to write.
  • This upcoming issue is the "grand finale of the first big Velvet story," and Brubaker is just starting the script for his next project with Epting:  this project is "still top secret," and the artist will be drawing something quite different from anything else currently on the stands.
  • This new project does NOT mean the end of Velvet, as Brubaker assures us that the series will return -- and that he's been sitting on "huge" news that he can't wait to announce.
We we're quite surprised to see that Velvet is going on a kind of hiatus, and while we have our guesses, we do wonder what the big news is on that front.  As always, we'll relay all news as we find it.

In the interim, one great way readers can keep up with the news themselves is to subscribe to Ed's newsletter.

The Grand Finale of Transformers Vs GI Joe. Finally, one of our other favorite series -- and the book I recommended in our first podcast episode -- wrapped up yesterday after an amazing two-year run:  Transformers vs GI Joe, a bonkers and brilliant series that pushes the very limits of what comic books can do, a self-contained riff on two licensed properties that has no business being as great as it is.

In that article on The Fix that we mentioned above, Paste Magazine mentions Scioli's "intricate Kirby-esque chaos" that makes it (like The Fix) a meaty book well worth rereading.  In its size and scope, it actually compares to another book we discussed in the latest podcast, Darwyn Cooke's epic love letter to the Golden and Silver Ages of DC Comics, The New Frontier.

On Twitter, series co-writer and artist Tom Scioli highlights a blogger's lengthy review of this last issue that points out that the entire run does things you can only find in comics -- and does it often, about six times an issue.  Printed in a prestige format for its extra-long content, this "Armageddon" issue did have quite a few cards up its sleeve, and -- to my surprise and delight -- it even left me wanting more from this particular universe. 

I've done this a few times before, for the works of Brubaker and Phillips...

- The 30 covers for Fatale's monthly issues and trade collections.
- The 6 covers for Image's reprints of the Criminal trades.
- The 12 covers for The Fade Out.

...but I've been so giddy over this sci-fi series that I made a quick collage of the cover art for the series -- at least of the standard covers for issues #0-#13 by Tom Scioli, and his wraparound variant for the finale.  (There have been more than two dozen other variant covers.)

As before, an extra-large version is available on Google Drive, clocking in at 4-MB.

If you grew up with these characters, and if these covers pique your interest, do yourself a favor and check out the series.

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