Monday, July 11, 2011

This Week, Noir Reprints, New and Old.

If one were to attempt collecting all the work created, individually, by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, he would have to hunt down over twenty years' worth of work for each. Altogether, the two have produced on the order of a thousand comic books.

Their collaborative work is much more manageable. The two have worked together, off and on, for over a decade, to produce what I would consider to be four (correction: five -- no, six! -- no, SEVEN!) major works:
  • Batman: Gotham Noir (DC, 2001) - A single-issue, prestige-format Elseworlds comic.
  • "The Turning Point" (DC, 2002) - Batman #603, part 11 of the event "Bruce Wayne: Fugitive," the issue is also a fairly self-contained story where Batman visits a retiring police officer who asks him to solve his one remaining open case.
  •  Sleeper (WildStorm, 2003-2005) - Two 12-issue "seasons" of the super-powered espionage thriller.
  • "The Black Bird" (DC, 2004) - A single-issue story found in Hawkman Volume 4 #27, dated June 2004, since republished in last year's Brightest Day: 100-Page Spectacular.
  • "Only Takes a Night" (DC, 2004) - A single issue story found in Catwoman Volume 3 #32, dated August 2004, republished nowhere, so far as I know.
  • Criminal (Icon, 2006-present) - Twenty-three issues thus far, counting last month's debut of "The Last of the Innocent," plus two short-story "emissions" have been published in anthology collections.
  • Incognito (Icon, 2009-2011) - Two mini-series for this modern take on pulp, totaling 11 issues, so far.
(Update, August 20th. Originally overlooked the Hawkman issue, the reprint of which we noted only very briefly last year.)

(Update, December 30th. Also originally overlooked the Catwoman issue: I just discovered the story and tracked down the back issue, only over the last couple months.)

(Update, February 11th, 2013.  Also overlooked Batman #603; I re-read the back issue a few months back but failed to update this list.)

There are two works that I would consider "minor" collaborations, NOT because the work isn't great (it is), but because neither are emphatically Brubaker-Phillips creations.

First, way back in 1999, Sean Phillips inked Michael Lark's pencils for the last three chapters of Ed Brubaker's four-issue Vertigo mini-series, Scene of the Crime. The story, "A Little Piece of Goodnight," was then collected in a trade paperback.

Then, in 2005, Sean Phillips began creating cover art for DC's Gotham Central, starting with issue #33 and "Dead Robin." That was the last story arc Ed Brubaker worked on, and Phillips continued creating the covers for stories by Brubaker's co-writer, Greg Rucka, until the series' end in 2006. Gotham Central has been collected a couple times, and the complete 40-issue run has been released in hardcover and is being re-released this year, in trade-paperback format.

Brubaker and Phillips' collaborative work is relatively easy to hunt down, especially in collected editions. I've checked a couple of retailer lists -- through The Savage Critics and the home page for Great Escape Comics -- and they confirm two more arrivals this week.

First, we have the trade paperback for Incognito: Bad Influences, collecting the second story arc, which wrapped up earlier this year.

Second, we have Batman: Gotham Noir, being republished (for the first time!) as DC Comics Presents Batman: Gotham Noir #1. I believe the book will be a one-shot collecting the entire story -- and the official site lists a second story by Brubaker and artist Scott McDaniel, from Batman #604 (2002).

So, we have Gotham Noir, and we have what Brubaker has described as Apocalyptic Pulp Noir. We have a reprint of Brubaker and Phillips' first major collaboration, and we have the collection for their latest work.

This is going to be a good week for those who want to see how the pair's work has developed over the years.

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