Monday, December 26, 2011

Bullets: Looking Back and Looking Ahead.

Been a while for hail of bullets, but we have a few news items as we wrap up the year.

  • Looking Back, Part I: Flashmob Fridays Discuss Criminal. The thought-provoking writers at Flashmob Fridays tackled "Last of the Innocent" this past week. Our own Alan David Doane introduced their collection of reviews and essays, and I had the honor of being a guest contributor. The essays are as provocative as the mini-series that inspired them, and I highly recommend them.

  • Looking Ahead, Part I: Brubaker and Phillips Discuss Fatale. Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips' Fatale debuts the first week of the new year -- January 4th, specifically, with two different covers for this first issue -- and last week both creators spoke with Newsarama about the horror noir comic they're publishing through Image Comics.

    Brubaker mentions that the book's origins trace back to before Criminal, but even now he's experimenting with the book's structure. As is usually the case with his collaborations with Brubaker, Phillips doesn't know where the story's going. He notes that the genres of horror and noir are right in his wheelhouse, and he discusses the difficulty in drawing a woman who's sexy and charismatic, at least more so than his typically realistic characters.

    (I think the women he's drawn are often quite stunning already.)

    The interview confirms that Fatale will run at least twelve issues; a couple days later, Brubaker wrote that the series will run "probably 15 or 16 issues."

  • Looking Back, Part II: Phillips and Criterion. It's been a great year for fans of crime fiction. There's Darwyn Cooke's "Martini Edition" of his Parker adaptations, reviewed here. The University of Chicago Press published another five Parker novels and announced the publication of some of Richard Stark's Grofield novels for next year. And after a year hiatus, Hard Case Crime returned with four books in two months, including its first hardcover.

    It's also been a pretty good year for Sean Phillips fans, even beyond Criminal. We reported that he had created the cover art for the Criterion Collection's February release of Sweet Smell of Success, and we highlighted the creation of that artwork, but we completely missed his work for the November release of the classic courtroom drama, Twelve Angry Men.

    At his blog, Phillips posted the original painting, the subsequent cover, and a detail of the painting.

    As Phillips later highlighted, the film made Vanity Fair's Holiday Design and Technology Guide.

    If you got a gift card for Christmas, you know what you can do with it.

  • Looking Ahead, Part II: Phillips on Conan. It hasn't been published too frequently, but I get a real kick reading Robert E. Howard's Savage Sword, an anthology series by Dark Horse, featuring all sorts of characters created by the pulp giant. Scheduled for a late March release, the fourth issue has Sean Phillips drawing Howard's most famous creation, Conan. All through October, Phillips posted artwork, including thumbnails, pencils, details, and works-in-progress.
In the coming weeks, we'll link to the end-of-the-year lists that recommend Criminal, and we'll pass on previews, interviews, and reviews to the next big thing from Brubaker and Phillips, Fatale.

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Wednesday, December 07, 2011

New in Stores: a Criminal Trade and a Fatale Preview.

The trade paperback for Criminal: The Last of the Innocent is out today, and that's not the only noteworthy material in stores today. In the back of Chew #22, we find the three-page "trailer" of Fatale along with the "Beauty" cover art to the first issue.

Cross promotion between Layman and Guillory's offbeat crime comedy and Brubaker and Phillips' upcoming horror noir is a good thing: both are being published by Image Comics, and I believe they both appeal to the same sort of twisted but sophisticated reader.

The preview may appear in other comics this month, but fans should check out Chew if they want a print copy of the teaser that's already appeared online, and the book's main event is well worth reading, too.

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