Thursday, November 25, 2010

Bullets: Incognito Reviews and More.

Lots of links from the past few weeks.
  • A Criminal Comeback, Part 1. From my point of view, the best thing about the Newsarama interview that ADD highlighted earlier is the eminent return of Criminal.

    Ed Brubaker relayed that we will soon see the story that might still be titled "Coward's Way Out" -- and even that story might not the last we'll see of Leo.
    "Depending on how I feel by the time I finish Issue #5 of Bad Influences, we may do an Incognito Annual first, before we go back to Criminal, but we'll be going back to Criminal as the next thing. Right now, it's looking like it's going to be the sequel to Coward, which is Leo in prison. But until I actually sit down to write it, it could change. I've had that mapped out since before I wrote Coward. I've had the idea for three stories with that character."
    Brubaker reiterates this plan on his Twitter page, telling Brad Meltzer that Criminal will return "As soon as Incognito is done."

    I really like Incognito, and along with titles like Chew and Scott Morse's Strange Science Fantasy, it's a book I look forward to reading every month, but it's no Criminal, and I wish Brubaker and Phillips didn't have to choose between the two titles. Their straight-up crime comic is like a pure, uncut narcotic, and I've been having withdrawal symptoms for far too long.

  • Bad Influences, Mostly Good Reviews. Quite a few reviews have been posted for the debut of Incognito: Bad Influences, and the ones I've seen have been mostly positive, but not without reservations.

    The most enthusiastic review I've seen is at A Comic Book Blog, where John Barringer admits that he would pay double for the issue.

    Comics Alliance lauds the issue as "a great read that's a welcome return to a well written, beautifully drawn and colored series." The critic notes the emerging similarities with Sleeper but trusts that the story will stand on its own.

    At IGN, the issue is given an "impressive" 8.0 review: compared to previous collaborations, the story "doesn't quite sing as loudly or as beautifully," but the issue "succeeds largely because Brubaker and Phillips again compliment each other so wonderfully."

    The Comics Panel at The A.V. Club gives the issue a solid B: "In spite of the rehashed plot elements, Incognito: Bad Influences has enough of its own identity to set itself apart from its predecessors, and looks to be the start of another memorable Brubaker-Phillips partnership."

    In their "Best Shots" reviews, Newsarama praises the artwork of Sean Phillips and the "seedy, subversive" colors of Val Staples while noting the issue's relative inaccessibility to new readers.

    And, Comic Book Resources gives the issue only two-and-a-half stars, praising it as "skillfully constructed" but describing its plot as mostly set-up and exposition.

    Even at our sister blog, Trouble With Comics, Christopher Allen praised the book as "better than a lot of what’s out there," but he still couldn't shake the similarities to earlier work.

  • An Award Nod, a Feature Article, and Preview Art. A few more miscellaneous links regarding Incognito, things I noticed from following Brubaker's Twitter posts and Sean Phillips' blog.

    First, the original mini-series has been included in the Official Selection for Angoulême 2011, a French award from the world's largest comic-book convention. Other noteworthy nominees are Asterios Polyp, The Walking Dead, and Darwyn Cooke's The Hunter. Awards will be presented at the end of January.

    Prompted by the sequel "Bad Influences," Comics Alliance posted an article listing some of the more notable instances of comic-book villains becoming heroes.

    And, while Incognito: Bad Influences was absent from Marvel's February solicitations, Sean Phillips has already posted the striking cover art to the fifth and presumably final issue.

  • Phillips Art for the Criterion Collection. As he did for Blast of Silence, Sean Phillips has created the cover art for another release from the Criterion Collection: Sweet Smell of Success, a 1957 film starring Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis. The Blu-Ray and the two-disc DVD will be released, separately, on February 22nd.

  • A Criminal Comeback, Part 2. Finally, Hard Case Crime is back on track, with new material on the way. Its original publishers ceased production of mass-market paperbacks this year, but the imprint will be published through Titan Books, beginning in the fall of 2011.

    As before, The Violent World of Parker has the details, first with the breaking news, then with the full text of the newsletter email. Reading further down the latter, it seems that new material will be released as trade paperbacks, possibly with a MMPB reprint to follow.
More Criminal and more Hard Case Crime? It looks like 2011 is shaping up to be a great year for crime fiction.

Buy Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips comics from

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