Thursday, April 22, 2010

Bullets: Digital Editions, Interviews, Conventions, and More.

The oddest bit of recent news is that, though the online preview doesn't indicate it, Ed Brubaker is heavily featured as a character in Marvel's self-parody comic, Captain America: Who Won't Wield The Shield?

The debut issue of Criminal also makes a cameo appearance, in a lengthy scene set in a real-world comic shop.

On to more important items.
  • Digital Editions for Criminal and Incognito. Recently on Twitter, Ed Brubaker has been relaying his experience with the iPad and digital comics, and his doing so has served as an obvious prelude to his announcement on April 17th -- beginning here -- that comics printed under Marvel's Icon banner are being re-released in a digital format.

    Newsarama covered the story Tuesday, with comments from both Brubaker and Sean Phillips. Brubaker apparently led the charge, and he and Phillips both seem pleased with the results.

    Chris Arrant reports, "The plan, as revealed this weekend at C2E2, sees both series serialized on the iTunes and PSP platform with the first issue of Incognito and first two issues of Criminal debuted Saturday for $1.99 each. Future issues are tentatively scheduled to be released on a weekly schedule with these digital versions catching up to its print counterparts by the end of the summer."

    Both titles appear to be available in multiple digital-comic applications, including Comixology, Iverse and Panelfly.

  • Brubaker Interviews on Marvel Projects. There's little other news on the Icon front, but with convention season upon us, Ed Brubaker has given a couple interviews for some upcoming projects for Marvel, both involving Steve Rogers, the original Captain America.

    Last Friday, Newsarama published an interview about the four-issue mini-series, Steve Rogers: Super-Soldier. Then on Sunday, Comic Book Resources published an interview about Brubaker's new ongoing series, Secret Avengers.

  • Phillips Projects and Books Sales. Over at his blog, Sean Phillips announced a project titled 7 Psychopaths, to debut in May, published by Boom! Studios.

    Details of the project were made clear in a subsequent Newsarama interview with Phillips: the book is a reprint of a 2007 French comic, drawn by Phillips and written by Fabien Vehlmann, now being translated for American audiences. Originally published in an over-sized album, it appears the English version will be released (at least at first) as a three-issue mini-series.

    The book tells the story of seven madmen on an impossible mission to assassinate Adolph Hitler during the height of World War II: the solicitation is frank about its being "In the vein of Inglorious Basterds, with art by the critically acclaimed Sean Phillips."

    In the interview, Phillips also revealed, "I'm working with the same editor and colourist again at the moment on a sci-fi book for Delcourt."

    Back at his blog, Phillips announced cover duties for The Calling: Cthulhu Chronicles, also by Boom! Studios, to debut in July.

    He has continued to add books to his Amazon page, and each book purchased from that page includes an original sketch by the artist.

  • Greg Rucka and DC. The most surprising news of the early convention season is probably Greg Rucka's announcement, made at WonderCon at the beginning of this month, that he has left DC comics. He has set aside plans to complete the third arc in a twelve-issue run focusing on the (relatively) new Batwoman, to devote his energies to creator-owned work, such as a Queen and Country novel that might lead to a relaunch of the espionage comic. He notes, "I haven't been able to work on a lot of the projects that I've wanted to do," and at his website he reassures fans that there is no "drama" behind the scenes.

    It appears that Batwoman is moving from a headlining stint in Detective Comics to an ongoing series of her own, to be co-written by J.H. Williams III, whose critically acclaimed artwork for Rucka's first Batwoman arc garnered multiple Eisner nominations. Newsarama has an interview with Williams about the new title.

    Hopefully, Rucka's departure will not affect DC's plans to collect in hardcover editions Gotham Central, which he co-wrote with Ed Brubaker. The third of what I presume will be four volumes, released annually, is still scheduled for a June 9th release, but its contents remain unclear.

  • Cooke, Ardai, and Parker. Comic Book Resources covered Darwyn Cooke's "spotlight panel" at WonderCon. There, Cooke relayed how he fought with Ed Brubaker (and won) to improve the finale of their four-issue arc in Catwoman, and he notes the striking visual similarity between their prelude story and his current work adapting Donald Westlake's Parker novels.

    The second adaptation, The Outfit, is due in October, but WonderCon attendees were treated with an advance preview, titled "The Man with the Getaway Face." The "prelude" contains an entire chapter from the upcoming book, and it covers the key events from the novel of the same name, bridging the novels The Hunter and The Outfit. The preview comic will be available nationwide in July, at the same low price of $2.00, and in the same over-sized 8-by-12-inch format.

    (The blog at The Violent World of Parker may have the first look at the cover art for Cooke's The Outfit, from the back cover of the WonderCon preview.)

    Cooke isn't the only one with Parker on the brain. Hard Case Crime editor Charles Ardai was interviewed about Parker by The Chicago Blog, of the University of Chicago Press. He discussed working with Donald Westlake (a/k/a Richard Stark), who passed away at the beginning of 2009.

    Readers might remember Brubaker's interview with Ardai in Criminal Volume 2, Issue #4, which had the first chapter of "Bad Night." His crime fiction imprint Hard Case Crime is now publishing Memory, Westlake's final novel, a noir story that Ardai describes as "a heartbreaking, beautiful book" that was too existential to find a publisher in the 1960's.

    Meanwhile, the University of Chicago Press is republishing the Parker novels, and it is in the process of releasing its fourth set of three books.

  • 4thLetter Podcast on Criminal and Parker. The very worthwhile blog 4thLetter has a "fourcast" devoted entirely to Criminal: The Sinners and the WonderCon preview for The Outfit. I need to get around to commenting on the discussion: they contrast Tracy's patronizing approach to protecting women and Parker's willingness to kill without any regard for the person's sex.

  • July Solicitations. Finally, we've recently seen the release of a few solicitations for July, and there are some noteworthy books coming out in the middle of the summer. From Newsarama, we see that Dark Horse is releasing the first two volumes of a newly redesigned third edition of Sin City, and IDW lists the Parker preview among its July releases.

    (A careful eye might note that the solicited image has IDW's new logo, while the advance release for WonderCon has the older "lightbulb" logo. The difference might eventually matter to collectors.)

    Between the two of them, Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips have six books in Marvel's solicitations, but there are no collaborations listed, and nothing from the Icon imprint.

    The trade collection for Criminal: The Sinners was announced for a June release, but that won't be followed up immediately by the sequel to Incognito.
The digital editions of Criminal and Incognito are to be released weekly, "with these digital versions catching up to its print counterparts by the end of the summer."

I hope it's not too much to infer that this means that Brubaker and Phillips' Icon work will resume by then as well.

Buy Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips comics from

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Thursday, April 08, 2010

Eisner Nominations for Brubaker, Phillips, and Incognito.

Nominees for the 2010 Eisner Awards were just announced -- hat-tip to CBR -- and we have numerous reasons to congratulate Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips.

In addition to a nomination for Best Single Issue (for Captain America #601), Brubaker has been nominated for Best Writer for his work on Cap, Daredevil, The Marvels Project, Criminal, and Incognito.

Phillips has been nominated for Best Cover Artist for the two Icon titles and 28 Days Later.

And, Incognito has been nominated for Best Limited Series.

This makes the fourth consecutive year for recognition by the Eisner Awards. In 2007, Criminal won Best New Series while Brubaker won Best Writer, an award he won again in 2008. In 2009, Val Staples was nominated for Best Colorist.

The winners of the 2010 Eisner Awards will be announced Friday, July 23rd, at Comic-Con International.

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