Saturday, May 31, 2008

Criminal in Liberty Comics.

Criminal completists should take note that Liberty Comics, an anthology comic to benefit the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, will include a Criminal story by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips. The 32-page, full-color comic features all-new material and is scheduled to be released on July 23rd. Newsarama has a copy of the press release announcing the comic; Comic Book Resources has an interview with the editor that features the two covers for the comic book; and the editor is promoting the comic at his own blog. In addition to the Criminal creators, the book will feature Garth Ennis, Mark Millar, Darwyn Cooke, and others. Editor Scott Dunbier strongly recommends that interested readers explicitly ask their local stores to order this book.

That's about all I know about this book, in terms of official information, but I do have a few speculations about what Criminal fans will see in Liberty Comics.

I suspect the story will be called "No One Rides for Free." This title is in an image that Sean posted to his blog, and it's probably worth noting that the work is "a Criminal emission" when each individual issue and trade collection is referenced as "a Criminal edition."

And, I suspect that the story will involve Jake and Tracy, and that it be set in the present day, specifically after the events of "Lawless." Sean's been showing a lot of artwork featuring Jake lately, and this blog entry shows the most information-rich image, a full-page rooftop conversation with Tracy Lawless that appears to establish that their hometown newspaper -- where "Frank Kafka" might be published -- is the Gazette.

(Readers of "Lawless" will recall that a rooftop is not the best place to meet Tracy.)

I strongly believe this page is not from the upcoming "Bad Night" arc, because the solicitation for the first issue of that arc establishes that it's set five years ago, when Tracy was still in the army and before he got the scars we see in this preview page. This image is definitely set after "Lawless."

It looks like the short story in Liberty Comics will be a very interesting addition to the Criminal canon, hopefully a good introduction to new readers and another wrinkle in the ongoing tale of crime, violence, and tragedy.

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Blogger Bubba said...

Look at what we know about the situation of our main characters in Criminal -- what Tracy and Jake now do for a living. Look at this page's apparent setting on the rooftop of the "Gazette", and consider the comic in which this story will likely appear. Given all that, I think I can take a good stab at the premise for "No One Rides for Free."

It's a story focusing on free-speech issues, making the point that no one enjoys the benefits of freedom without a willingness to stand in its defense.

Crime boss Sebastian Hyde sends Tracy Lawless to harass the staff of the Gazette -- perhaps Jake in particular -- to stop the paper from publishing something Hyde wouldn't like.

Mark it down that, on May 31st, I may have correctly guessed this story's premise literally months in advance, with only scraps of information to go by. Either that, or I just think way too much about this book.

Or both.

12:23 PM  
Blogger Bubba said...

Also, one thing I don't know is who's doing the colors for this story. The art would look great in black and white, but the press release mentions 32 full-color pages, so I'm guessing the final work will be in color.

Val Staples isn't explicitly mentioned anywhere. Either his participation simply wasn't included in the news stories covering this, or Sean might be trying his hand at coloring again, just as he did with the short comic in the Blast of Silence DVD.

12:29 PM  

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