Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Bad Weekend Exclusives at England's OK Comics and San Diego's Comic Con!

Last week we mentioned how had real trouble tracking down the signed bookplate included with Bad Weekend for retailers ordering a particular number of copies.  There are four stores on our own internal "radar" for the Atlanta metro area, and none had ordered enough.

(I have no doubt that more than enough had been ordered between them, and this would have been a perfect opportunity for the stores to have pooled their resources.)

But we noticed that a few exclusives have been offered through OK Comics out of Leeds, England:  their copies of Bad Weekend have included the bookplate we've already noted, a second bookplate -- a store-exclusive, also signed by the three creators -- and a store-exclusive postcard advertising Jacob Phillips' Past is Prologue, expected from Image Comics next year.

As of last week, they also still had signed copies of Criminal #1.

That second bookplate is apparently limited to 100 prints, and it bears a close resemblance to the candidate cover which Sean Phillips preferred but was rejected for a color scheme too closely matching the previous hardcover novella, My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies.

OK Comics has been advertising the book on its A-frame sidewalk sign, shown below.  Apparently they originally ordered sixty(!) copies, and more than three-fourths of the store's initial stock sold that Wednesday. Even with putting a hold on mail orders that Friday, the store quickly sold out of its initial stock by Sunday.

The store now has more copies in stock and they're once again taking new orders by mail. We can confirm that they accept PayPal and they DO ship internationally.

If you're interested in ordering Bad Weekend from Leeds' OK Comics, email Jared at

On the other side of the pond -- and a couple mountain ranges past that -- there's another Bad Weekend exclusive being offered at San Diego's Comic-Con International, which has a preview tonight prior to its official opening tomorrow.

Image Comics announced their con-exclusive merchandise, panels, and signing schedule just last Friday.  Among the exclusive items available at booth #1915 is a "jacketed hardcover" edition of Bad Weekend, with jacket art by Sean Phillips, for the usual retail price of $16.99.

Shown above, the jacket art simulates a "special collector's edition" collection of Danny Dagger stories from Hal Crane, the subject of Bad Weekend.  The jacket wraps around the covers, with the fake book's description and its author's bio folded inside, and the jacket features the same worn look -- and, we suspect, the exact same digital weathering effect -- found on previous magazine-sized variants for Criminal and The Fade Out.

Ed Brubaker is attending the convention this year, on its 50th anniversary, and he sent out a newsletter late yesterday with the schedule for his appearances at the Image booth.

It's mostly the same schedule as last week's press release -- with one additional 10:00 am signing on Saturday, July 20th -- and the Image story notes that the signings are 45-60 minutes, and are "ticketed" events requiring wristbands given out on a first-come, first-served basis.

Brubaker also notes that the jacketed copies of Bad Weekend will be available to people who buy the book "while they last."
Please note: there are only a few hundred of these printed for the convention, I believe, so they will go fast - I don't even have one yet. I hope to escape with a copy or two when no one at the booth is looking.
By our watch, the first signing is just about to begin.

It's worth mentioning that Friday night, July 19th, is awards night at Comic-Con, with the 31st annual Eisner Awards.  Image Comics made history sweeping the "Best New Series" category, and a couple other nominations caught our particular attention.
  • My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies was nominated for Best New Graphic Album.
  • Sean Phillips was nominated for Best Penciller/Inker for his work on Kill Or Be Killed as well as Junkies.
We're sure we'll have more later about the Eisners and a few other items from Brubaker's newsletter, which includes a three-page in-progress preview of Criminal #7, details on a couple August appearances, and a link to a his recent commentary-track podcast for Bad Weekend.

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Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Criminal #6 and Expanded Bad Weekend Hardcover, In Stores Now!

Following Criminal's planned skip month in May, we had our own unplanned skip month in June, but we think we're back in the swing of things.

--and just in time, too, because it's an exceptionally noteworthy day, as today sees the release of both Criminal #6 AND the expanded hardcover for Bad Weekend.

Ed Brubaker has just sent out an email newsletter, featuring a preview of the first five pages of issue #6. There are a few panels of appropriately neon coloring, and it perfectly fits the setting of what Jacob Phillips probably considers ancient history, the Eighties.

(Brubaker also announced a few upcoming appearances -- first in the front half of next week's San Diego Comic-Con and then at LA's Skylight Books on the evening of August 1st.)

It sounds like we'll switch perspectives for each chapter of this sprawling arc "Cruel Summer," and the preview reveals that this second chapter is titled "Song to the Siren." That's the name of a 1970 Tim Buckley song that became a UK indie hit in 1983, when it was covered by music collective This Mortal Coil and released through 4AD, the British label that would become the home for The Breeders, the lo-fi rockers hailing from Dayton, Ohio.

Funny enough, our favorite songwriter David Gray opens his live covers album with his own haunting version of the song.

Turning to the other release, we find Brubaker confirming that Bad Weekend -- originally serialized in issues #3 and #4 -- now includes ten pages of new material, essentially "deleted scenes" that wouldn't fit in the monthly issues.

We're finding it a little tough to track down, but some copies of the book include a signed bookplate.  More specifically, the bookplate is found with retailers who had big enough orders for the book, and we believe this is the first bookplate signed by Brubaker, Phillips the Elder, and Phillips the Younger.

Looking back over the last few weeks, we see a few other items we don't want to overlook entirely.

First, The Undertow Podcast continues to release new episodes even when I been out of pocket. 
(More episodes are on their way, with our review of Criminal #5 already in pre-production.)

In that magazine's May edition (#23), fully half of the issue -- consisting of more than 100 ad-free pages -- focuses on Criminal, including "a big, in-depth interview."

A few other interesting reads have been released lately, many of which have been highlighted in Brubaker's latest newsletter, but one that already caught our attention is Paste Magazine's June 27th interview with both Ed Brubaker and crime writer Megan Abbott.  The most noteworthy revelation is that Brubaker is "about to start adapting one of [his] books for TV," an adaptation that hasn't yet been officially announced.

For collectors -- and fans looking to buy copies of Criminal for friends -- the last few months have seen a few second printings for the new ongoing series.  We previously noted a second printing for this year's debut issue, and we've seen similar reprints for issues #2 and #3, with a somewhat pink logos for the two parts of the original "Bad Weekend" arc.

Much more interesting is what we've found alongside the new issues which have already been solicited; the "Cruel Summer" arc continues with issue #7 in August, focusing on young Ricky Lawless and Leo Patterson, and then with issue #8 in September.  But over the last few weeks, including today's extended forecast for Image Comics, ComicList notes that one-dollar "Image Firsts" edition of Criminal #1 is due on August 8th, alongside seven other first-issue reprints due on the same day.

According to the linked product description at Things From Another World, the issue reprints the January debut of Criminal (2019), the third ongoing volume of the creator-owned crime series -- and this is exactly what we would expect among a series of other recent reprints.  But in that same description, we see cover art based on the #1 issue to the original volume, Criminal (2006).

We've already requested ten copies from our local retailer, to hand out to friends and relations, and we're very interested to see what we actually get next month.

[UPDATE, JULY 11:  We reached out to Sean on Twitter, and he quickly provided a somewhat surprising confirmation that the cover is correct while the text description is wrong:   the $1 comic book contains the very first issue of Criminal, from October, 2006.  It's a helluva book, immediately making me a quite devoted fan, and it should serve as a great introduction for new readers -- and I believe this is the first time Criminal Volume 1, Issue 1 has ever been reprinted in single-issue format.]

And we're even more interested to see what arrives next year, since two weeks back Jacob Phillips finally shed a little light on another project which he's been teasing on social media.

Past is Prologue is scheduled to arrive sometime in 2020, published by Image Comics and credited to New Jersey filmmaker Christopher Condon and English artist Jacob Phillips. It appears that the book will adapt Condon's script for "an unproduced short film" by the same name; Condon's site features the first six pages of that script and the concept art Jacob has already created for the project.

I'm sure we'll have more on the project in the coming months.

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