Wednesday, January 17, 2018

New Undertow Podcast, New Kill Or Be Killed, New Twitter Feed, and Catching Up for the New Year.

It's a big week:  Robert has recorded and released an abbreviated episode of The Undertow Podcast, reviewing Kill Or Be Killed #14, and issue #15 is in stores today with a four-page preview already online.

(Preview pages without the obscenities obscured -- and a fifth page -- can be found in the latest newsletter from writer Ed Brubaker; see below.)

The third trade paperback, collecting issues #11-14, is also in stores today.  Ireland's Big Bang Comics and the UK's Forbidden Planet has an exclusive variation on this third volume, with a different cover and a mini-print bookplate signed by the writer and the artist.  Both covers are shown below, along with the eerie artwork for the bookplate.

International orders can be placed at the Forbidden Planet online store or at Big Bang's eBay listing.  (And Big Bang tweets that they still have stock of their previous two trade paperbacks, with variant covers and signed bookplates.)

Interestingly, Forbidden Planet lists a "virgin wraparound" variant for the upcoming KOBK #17, but currently the page has no image preview and no additional details.

In the meantime, we have issue #15 out today. Last Saturday, John Jack at Comic Watch offered a brief "First Watch" advance review of the issue, awarding it a 9 out of 10.  The review has no spoilers beyond what can be gleaned from Image's official preview, with the exception of a single two-panel image, with the Demon suddenly back in the story, following Dylan.

And for those who are looking for a quick refresher after the series' brief hiatus, our good friend Robert Watson covers the previous arc, along with the previous issue, in The Undertow Podcast Episode #19.  As always, as always, the podcast is available on iTunes and Podbean.


I'm looking forward to joining Robert again for the next podcast, and it's been far too long since we've last blogged.  As the classic U2 song puts it, we've been "running to stand still" in real life, and there has been a lot of big news over the past few months.

For one thing, we have just created a dedicated Twitter account for the blog, @CriminalBlog, to separate our focus on all things Brubaker/Phillips from our personal account @TigerBeasley and my more idiosyncratic interests in faith, politics, movies, music, sports, and humor.

We do hope to blog much more frequently in the upcoming year, and we recommend that readers "follow" our new Twitter account to be notified of new posts and interesting retweets.

In the meantime, here is a very succinct timeline of the past few months, with the biggest news items highlighted in red.

• OCT 19, Page 45 Comics posted an extensive essay of reviews and photos from the Lakes International Comic Art Festival; among the featured festival-exclusive books is the Spirit newspaper curated by Sean Phillips (and featuring a one-page Brubaker/Phillips story) and Starting, a "one-day collaborative comic" that includes a four-page story from Sean's sun Jacob, and both products are available for international orders at Page 45's online store.

• OCT 30, Arrow Academy announces the upcoming Blu-ray and DVD release of Viva L'Italia, a 1961 documentary by Roberto Rossellini; the film is scheduled for a January 29th release and features cover artwork by Sean Phillips, shown below.

• NOV 13, Delcourt releases a 17-page preview of Fondu au Noir, the publisher's French translation of The Fade Out, in advance of its November 29th release.

• NOV 15, Image Comics announces its partnership with the Madefire digital program; details remain scant, but the press release includes Criminal in its reference to the publisher's back catalog.

• NOV 16, Marvel cancels two upcoming books from Brian Michael Bendis, a week after the writer announced his move to DC, effectively signaling the end of Marvel's Icon imprint for creator-owned works, at least for now; the imprint was the original home for Criminal and Incognito.

• NOV 16, Sean Phillips provided more information about the upcoming Criterion Collection release of Night of the Living Dead on DVD and Blu-ray February 13th; Sean Phillips painted the artwork for the cover, the wraparound sleeve, and the booklet -- the cover repurposes the poster for the recent 4K rerelease (also available at Criterion's online store) and the sleeve is the full artwork that Sean previously previewed in October and is reproduced below and on the artist's Twitter profile.

• NOV 21, director and co-writer Nicholas Winding Refn used his Instagram account to announce the main cast of Too Old to Die Young, highlighting the addition of Billy Baldwin; co-written by Ed Brubaker, the series stars Miles Teller and is apparently already in production.

• NOV 21, Image posted its February solicitations, listing a Valentine's Day release for KOBK #16; the cover art is the completed piece we saw as a work in progress, and the solicit confirms a literal interpretation of the artwork, mentioning Dylan's plight in a mental hospital.

• NOV 27, Robert and I released Undertow Podcast Episode 18; the podcast featured a review of KOBK #13 and recommendations for the comic books Whiteout -- artist Steve Lieber put the entire first issue online -- and Slots.

• NOV 29, Image Comics released KOBK #14 with a three-page preview; Hero Collector posted an essay explaining why people should be reading the title.

• DEC 14, The Hollywood Reporter exclusively announced that Chad Stahelski, the director of the John Wick films, is a directing a Kill Or Be Killed film adaptation; the script will be written by Dan Casey, who has written the script for the Incognito adaptation (not yet produced), and Ed Brubaker will be an executive producer.

• DEC 18, subscriber's received the latest installment of Ed Brubaker's email newsletter, his first in more than six months; the issue includes preview pages for KOBK #15, production work for the cover to issue #16, info on the KOBK movie, reposted news on a Velvet TV series, production photos from Too Old to Die Young, confirmation on his absence from Westworld's season two, and info on his research into the upcoming follow-up to The Fade Out.

(Not a traditional sequel, the story will be set in the late 1950's, when television became big in Hollywood, and it features "a side character" from the first story.  In earlier interviews, Brubaker specifically named Phil Brodsky, the studio's fixer.)

• DEC 18, DC Comics' March solicitations include an advance solicit for Sleeper Book One, in trade paperback; scheduled for April 25th, the book collects Point Blank and Sleeper Season One, both written by Ed Brubaker with the latter drawn by Sean Phillips in an early collaboration.

• DEC 18, Delcourt releases a French translation of KOBK #1, available for purchase online at Sequenicity.

• DEC 19, Image posted its March solicitations, with KOBK #17 listed for March 21 and described as "turning-point issue of the series so far;" perhaps meaningfully, the cover art has Dylan removing his now iconic red ski mask.

• DEC 20, Sean Phillips announces his work on the cover art for the Arrow Academy Blu-ray release of the 1947 Western Ramrod, starring Veronica Lake and scheduled for March 5th.

• DEC 20, Phillips also announces his work on a variant cover for Hellblazer #19, written by Tim Seeley; it appears that the issue has been solicited and is still scheduled for a February 28th release.

• JAN 10, the UK's Ink magazine publishes a retrospective review of Brubaker and Phillips' Sleeper, rightly describing the early work for DC's Wildstorm imprint as "a self-contained gem."

• JAN 15, Phillips announces new original artwork at Splash Page Comic Art, including paintings for covers of Kill Or Be Killed and Hellblazer.

• JAN 17, Phillips just announced that he's selling signed posters for Night of the Living Dead, at his Big Cartel store; it looks like quantities are very limited, possibly only two posters.

That just about covers it, but we'll have another blog entry up soon.

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