Saturday, July 12, 2014

30 Days of Fatale: Plans Change.

I believe that, whether published by Marvel's Icon imprint or published by Image (as is now the case), Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips' creator-owned work involves very few people:  just the two of them and a colorist, with Brubaker acting as the editor.   The lack of a large editorial organization probably results in a few more errors slipping through than would otherwise be the case: I believe the character Grey/Gray wasn't spelled consistently in "Lawless," and I really wish that the deluxe editions didn't have the occasional minor printing error.

On the other hand, the comic is also a little more "alive" for lacking that tiny bit of polish:  the greatest R&B records emphasize soul over perfect production values.

With the conclusion of the second arc, "The Devil's Business," Fatale shows that there was the occasional change of plan.

  • The cover art for issue #6 -- and again for issue #16, as we mentioned before and republish below -- changed between the solicitation and the publication.   A high-detail image of the original cover's artwork can still be seen at Sean's blog, but in the writer's page at the end of issue #5, Ed explained that the cover had changed "because I'm a slave-driver and I made Sean re-do it."  I think both covers are good, but I think the new cover is a bit more effective in setting a mood.
  • This arc appears to be the jumping-off point for the new stories that Ed didn't originally intend in the 12-15 issue run for the series.  Going by the three-page trailer for the series, I believe the original idea was just to cover the 50's, the 70's, and the present day.
  • Issue #6 is the last time that the inside front cover relays the title for the story arc -- "Book Two: The Devil's Business" -- and Issue #10 is the last time Ed attempts to use the inside front cover to summarize the previous issues, the story clearly becoming too sprawling for easy encapsulation.
In interviews, Ed Brubaker has revealed that he usually knows how a story ends but allows for flexibility in how he gets there:  a four-issue arc can suddenly become a five-issue arc, and this is probably the reason why the next series, The Fade Out, isn't being publicized as having a particular number of issues.

In the less skilled hands, this sort of improvisation would be very risky indeed.  As it is, it's thrilling to discover the latest chapter in their serialized work, almost as Ed and Sean are working out the final details for themselves. 

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