Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Bullets: Eisner, the Sleeper Movie, and More.

News and notes from the world of Criminal...
  • Another Eisner for Brubaker! In its rookie season last year, Criminal won the Eisner Award for Best New Series, and Ed Brubaker won an Eisner for Best Writer in part because of his work on the crime noir series. As we noted earlier, Ed was nominated again this year, and at San Diego's Comic-Con last month, the winners were announced. Ed won Best Writer for his work on Criminal, alongside Marvel's Captain America, Daredevil, and Immortal Iron Fist.

  • The First Brubaker Interview for the Sleeper Film. MTV.com has the apparent first interview with Ed Brubaker concerning the possible film for Sleeper. In the brief story, Ed recounts how quickly things happened, and he hints that possible legal issues might be avoided in the Sleeper films by excising some WildStorm characters from the story. That would be one way to address the issues mentioned in the Hollywood Reporter story mentioned in the previous blog entry:

    "Sleeper" takes place in the same publishing universe as other Wildstorm books, and integrally featured characters from the company's flagship title "WildC.A.T.s" as well as characters from another book, "Gen 13."

    Both "WildC.A.T.s" and "Gen 13" had been set up at different places around town and some of those deals were made before DC bought the imprint in 1999.

    Warners, now involved in a legal wrangle with Fox over the rights to "Watchmen," appears determined to cross all the t's and dot all the i's in its contracts for "Sleeper."

    Frankly, I wouldn't want to see a Sleeper movie deviate too much from the books, and though Sleeper's really my only in-depth exposure to the WildStorm universe, it does seem like there are some WildStorm characters that were pretty indispensible to the narrative. (H/T Blog@Newsarama for the MTV interview.)

  • More than one Sleeper movie? There's another line worth mentioning from that Hollywood Reporter article:

    The project is being eyed not only as a starring vehicle for Cruise but also as a possible franchise for the studio.

    There's an obvious trilogy in Point Blank, Season One, and Season Two, but it would be an unconventional trilogy in that Holden Carver isn't Point Blank's protagonist. And, the idea of a franchise would be a reason I would prefer not seeing Tom Cruise play Carver. Cruise already has Mission: Impossible, and the most successful franchises seem to involve rising stars, e.g., Damon as Bourne, and now Daniel Craig as 007.

    Tom Cruise can seem very emotionally detached, and he often does best in roles that use this fact, such as in Magnolia or Jerry Maguire, so that's one thing that would lend itself to his playing Holden Carver. But I would reiterate what I've already seen online once or twice, that Tom Cruise would make an excellent TAO.

    Either way, a series of Sleeper movies would probably improve the chances that the comic's complex story would be more faithfully adapted.

  • Tangentially Related Articles. I've bookmarked a couple articles that, at best, only tangentially involve Criminal, Ed, or Sean, but Criminal fans might still find them interesting. First, in a Newsarama interview regarding how the movie industry affects comics, writer Steve Niles discussed the opportunity of introducing comics to new readers.

    "It's about to happen," Niles said, "and all we need to do is have [Ed] Brubaker make a movie out of Criminal, and then we've opened up another genre. I mean, I've sold horror comics, there are people selling crime comics, we've had Ghost World, we've had A History of Violence. We can do this."

    With the news about Sleeper, we're one step closer.

    Second, at a panel at ComicCon, several people in the comics industry discuss whether the comic book as a periodical is dying as a format. They discuss how to make monthlies attractive, the "break-even" point for monthly comics, and the risk of cancellation if too many fans "wait for the trade" for a particular book. This latter risk is what Brubaker is specifically addressing by offering exclusive content in the monthly issues of Criminal. I share his hope that those who can support the monthly format, do so.

    Finally, Waking Dead's Robert Kirkman posted a video editorial calling for high-profile creators to leave DC and Marvel and focus entirely on creator-owned comics, for the good of the entire industry. The argument is that the sophisticated work they're doing for the mainstream superhero titles isn't attracting younger readers to keep those titles from dying. So long as they don't work solely on creator-owned projects, their fans will have the choice to focus on their mainstream work, and they will exercise that choice.

    I'm not sure I find the argument completely compelling, as I doubt I would have been so easily drawn to Sleeper and Criminal if it weren't for Ed's work on Gotham Central. The leap from Daredevil to Criminal is a short one, so I wonder if the net effect of following Kirkman's footsteps out of mainstream work would really be a positive.

  • Brief observations on Criminal. In the last few weeks, we've seen the release of Liberty Comics, featuring a brief Criminal story, and Criminal #4 with the opening chapter of "Bad Night."

    "No One Rides For Free" is the five-page contribution to Liberty Comics by Ed, Sean, and Val Staples. It's a good story, and there's a minor bit of history being made with the short tale: it's the first Criminal story featuring first-person narration from a Lawless.

    And in Criminal #4, Ed conducts an interview with Charles Ardai from Hard Case Crime. This interview might be why future bonus material isn't publicized quite so much: it was mentioned at least as far back as December, originally to be included in issue #1 of the second volume.

    In the interview in issue #4, Ed confirms that Criminal and the noir paperback imprint did some "ad-swapping", and since I'm now getting hip-deep in Hard Case Crime, I will reiterate here that I would love to see Ed do a Criminal story for the imprint, with Sean doing the cover.

    And I know I'm not the only one to have had this idea.
In addition to our usual coverage of Criminal, we'll post more news about the Sleeper film(s) as news becomes available.

With any luck, we'll be discussing similar news for Criminal, too, in the not-too-distant future.

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