Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Bullets: New Undertow Podcast, New Kill Or Be Killed, Solicitations, and More!

The newest episode of The Undertow Podcast came out just last week, and the newest issue of Brubaker and Phillips' Kill Or Be Killed reaches stores today, hot on the heels of a four-page preview -- one which promises that we'll finally reach the flash forward from the first issue, which was repeated in issue #11.

We have details about both new arrivals below, along with news on solicitations for January and much more.

One of these days, I'll actually blog often enough that I won't need these massive posts of bullet points...


• Undertow Podcast on KOBK #12.  We had a blast recording episode 17, which is now available available on iTunes and at Podbean.  After discussing what we agree is the best issue of the series, so far, we covered a few news items that we're repeating below (along with some we omitted), and offered a couple recommendations for our listeners.

I recommended The Hard Place, a crime comic mini-series from Image Comics, written by Doug Wagner (Plastic) with art by Nic Rummel and Charlie Kirchoff.  The story is about an former wheelman who gets caught up in a bank robbery and the kidnapping of a crime kingpin's daughter: I wouldn't normally recommend a book after only two issues, but so far the title is just that good, and I do hope it sticks the landing.

Meanwhile, Robert recommended a list of (about) five deep cuts from Tom Petty, who passed away earlier this month.  For convenience, here's his list along with YouTube links, some from official channels and some that may stretch the definition of fair use.
It's truly great stuff, though personally I'm hoping that we'll soon see the long-awaited additional material from the Wildflowers sessions, perhaps with the hard-to-find b-sides like "Girl on LSD."

• KOBK #13 On Sale Now, Preview Online.  The new issue's four-page preview was released just yesterday, it can be found at the link above, and the accompanying image is a detail from the first page.  In the preview, we see the promise that the timeline will reach the series' explosive opening -- "really soon," and "by the end of this chapter... for sure."

Presumably that means we'll see it this issue, but we also see Dylan giving more thought to the demon whose curse started this journey into vigilantism.  The issue's description hints that his investigation into the supposed hallucination might prove fatal to his mental health.

"Caught in the crossfire between the police and the Russian mob—and his sanity—Dylan begins to realize his problems are more dire than he thinks." [emphasis mine]

And, in the preview, Dylan acknowledges his rambling narration and alludes to The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, an 18th-century novel written by an Irish, Anglican clergyman named Laurence Sterne.  The book was published in nine(!) volumes over the course of nearly a decade, and Dylan's apparent graduate studies in liberal arts is probably why he's familiar with the notably digressive work.

• The Spirit Newspaper Comic, Available for Online Orders.  We were ecstatic with last month's announcement that the Spirit newspaper comic -- overseen by Sean Phillips, with a single-page contribution written by Ed Brubaker -- would be available for online orders and international shipping.

The comic was initially available at this past weekend's Lakes International Comic Art Festival, which Phillips attended, and it is now available for purchase for a mere 5 pounds at Page 45 Comics, a store in Nottingham, England.

In an extensive, somewhat spoiler-heavy review on the product page, Stephen from Page 45 notes that the project was "directed and edited by Festival Patron Sean Phillips" -- and he notes that Phillips "also paid for its printing from his own pocket."

The product listing includes a few preview images, no doubt provided by Phillips, and one image evidently gives us the entire page produced by Brubaker and Phillips -- with Phillips doing the uncommon task of providing his own colors, and with almost a great enough resolution to make out the text.

Even if we could read the story on this page, we'd want to hold the work in our hands and see the other contributions from what the Page 45 reviewer calls "a breath-taking, broadsheet-sized spectacle at a whopping 23 x 14.5 [inches]."

The reviewer notes that sales proceeds will benefit the festival's Creators' Development Fund, but we're just as glad to have pre-ordered a couple copies for our own enjoyment.


• Femme Fatales Prints at Sean Phillips' Big Cartel Store.  On Twitter, Sean Phillips mentioned his trip to Kendal for the Lakes festival, and that he would only be selling The Spirit newspaper in the Page 45 room.  But he also pointed readers to his Big Cartel online store, where he has just added prints of the four pieces of artwork that were featured on the Femme Fatale beer.

The prints' names include a numbering order -- the reverse of which the prints were featured at Phillips' blog -- and we wonder if this was the order in which the works were created.
  • #1 Rita Hayworth
  • #2 Lauren Bacall
  • #3 Gene Tierney
  • #4 Veronica Lake
• Maniac Cop and Fatale: One Brubaker Project Possibly Scrapped, Another Announced.  In less than a fortnight, two news items broke regarding Ed Brubaker's projects outside of the printed page, with both items receiving plenty of coverage beyond their original publication.

On September 24th, Birth.Movies.Death exclusively reported some details from an interview with filmmaker Larry Cohen, the screenwriter behind the original Maniac Cop trilogy.  Ignore the reporter's hyperventilating about contemporary politics, and you'll see that Cohen appears certain that the Maniac Cop remake is dead:  the film, to be penned by Brubaker, was earlier given a green light to be filmed over this past summer.

While not detracting from Brubaker's skills as a comic-book writer, Cohen was not complimentary of Brubaker as a screenwriter or his script for the remake -- but the reporter seems both confused and even skeptical about some of the claims that his subject was making.

(So are we, and we hope this isn't the last we hear about the movie.)

On October 4th, The Hollywood Reporter exclusively reported a television series adapting Velvet, the spy comic created by Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting.  Writer, producer, and showrunner Kyle Killen will adapt the comic to be the first original drama for the Paramount Network, the cable network that debuts on January 18th, a rebranded Spike TV.

No date was given for the series premiere, but the show is described as "in development."  Killen will write and serve as executive producer, along with two executive producers from Anonymous Content, which produces True Detective and Mr. Robot.

We suspect that this is entirely separate from the "still top secret" project by Brubaker and Epting, which the writer mentioned in his email newsletter in June, 2016.

• Phillips Projects: Office Drones and Other Zombies.  Like Brubaker, Sean Phillips works on several projects at any given time, and here again we see that some bear more fruit than others.

(As the nearly comatose sailor put it in Master & Commander, the Lord taketh, and the Lord giveth away.)

On Twitter, Phillips posted cover artwork he did for The Apartment, the 1960 Best-Picture Oscar winner from Billy Wilder.  The film stars Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine, and Fred MacMurray as office drones in what Mark Steyn brilliantly describes as "a sad but true urban Christmas fable."

The artwork was for Arrow Academy, a label for the British company Arrow Films, for which Phillips has produced artwork for at least four other films in the last few years.  As with Audition before it, Arrow ended up going in another direction, but a close look at Phillips' Twitter feed will reward fans with some in-progress pics from August, from digital pencils to "real" inks to colors.

We haven't yet seen what artwork Arrow went with, but we finally get to see what "Pink Shirley" was intended for...


...and we wonder if there are plans for that signed-and-dated drawing of Shirley MacLaine.

It seems Phillips is getting a reputation for his artwork of Hollywood stars -- I especially love his cover for the Criterion Collection's Sweet Smell of Success, another black-and-white classic set in NYC -- but the artist might always be known for zombies, and Phillips tweeted that he created the movie poster for the 4K re-release of The Night of the Living Dead.

At the end of September, the website Rue Morgue exclusively released the poster for the 4K restoration, which is being shown in select theaters throughout North America, now through January.

We're reposting the watermarked image below, and close readers can see Sean Phillips' signature and the year in the lower right:  we have no idea whether there are plans to make a print of this poster  available for purchase, but one could always talk to the theater owner where the movie's playing.


And this isn't the only zombie-related work that Phillips has produced recently:  two weeks back, he posted the following work-in-progress, and we're quite interested to see what it's for.


• January Solicitations and More Preview Art.  Finally, we turn back to Kill Or Be Killed and look forward to its future releases.  Image's January solicitations were released just yesterday, and they confirm our guess of a New Year release for the the third trade collection and the new arc's next issue, with both scheduled for a January 17th release.

Issue #15 is solicited with a full 40 pages, the full artwork for the detail which we previously noted, and a vague but intriguing description, that "Dylan is forced to confront the reality of his violent actions and his sanity...and nothing will ever be the same again!"


Sean Phillips used the same artwork to create a personal sketchbook, which he showed Twitter followers on Monday.  Even before that, he's treated fans to preview art of what appears to be the thematically similar cover for issue #16 -- created in acrylic paint, with red for the iconic ski mask, grays for the straitjacket, and an appropriately manic stare in the final version.


It's yet to be seen, how much of these images are literal or merely symbolic, and we hope readers don't go crazy waiting for the answer.

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