Sunday, January 10, 2016

Two Pairs of Interviews -- and Criminal in Production!

In the wake of Wednesday's conclusion to the noir epic The Fade Out, both two-part post-mortem interviews wrapped up on Thursday.  We see that, in the second part of his interview with Comics Alliance, Ed Brubaker alluded to our humble blog!
"There’s a guy who does a blog about all of the comics Sean and I do together, and he’s been doing this intense re-read and posting recaps of the issues. He’s been putting together all these little stories, and there’s a lot of things that you can pick up, bits and pieces of the story of Thursby and Valeria. You can pick up Dottie’s story, and Maya’s story. You have to piece some of it together yourself, but the details are there. They’re not just in the correct order."
We've had fun digging deeply into this serialized graphic novel, and we hope our readers have been encouraged to take their own long look at The Fade Out.

And we're not done yet!  We have perhaps a half-dozen more posts or more in our increasingly misnamed "30 Days" of looking back, but we'll continue writing as our quite hectic schedule permits.

In the meantime, it may be worth summarizing the highlights for all four articles below, as we recommend everyone to follow the common Internet adage and "read the whole thing."

Newsarama Interview with Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, Part One

  • Brubaker says the complex story was tough but fun, and he urges readers to read it again for the details, background storylines, and moments that may resonate more:  all their books reward additional readings, and here there are not extraneous details.
  • Brubaker is thankful for the team's faithful and growing readership, as it allows them to experiment and try new things, and it lets them end each series at its natural conclusion without filler.
  • Phillips bought a stack of movies that might be useful but didn't get around to watching any of them -- an unusual approach to research, to say the least.
  • The story's origins were in the idea of the writer and veteran with writer's block, the blacklisted best friend and ghost writer, and the aspiration to create art compromised by the economic need to survive.

Newsarama Interview, Part Two

  • Brubaker tried to keep Chandler in mind, that he wrote "who cares who dunnits," with the mystery serving as the framework around which everything else hang -- the characters, their reactions, and what people are willing to do in the aftermath of a movie star's murder.
  • Phillips thinks Val and Maya look totally different (we agree), with the former being more realistic and based on a specific actress from the period, while the latter was slightly more cartoony and a more obvious bottle blonde.
  • Brubaker has been wanting to do one long piece that is focused toward one ending -- perhaps confirming our take that the trades' three-act structure isn't obvious -- and the last half of the finale "was almost exactly" how he pictured it prior to writing the very first issue.
  • Brubaker wrote from a huge notebook of outlines and chapter ideas, and after finishing each issue, he would outline the next few chapters, but doing so would "constantly alter" the overarching, running outline.
  • "A noir about the people who made the noir films," The Fade Out is intended both to evoke the era and to feel more realistic and harsh.
  • Brubaker doesn't want to discuss the ending because it's important for the reader to figure things out on his own:  getting inside Charlie's head, he might see what was left unwritten and "understand what [Charlie is] going through."
  • Phillips relays that Brodsky and Dottie were the most fun to draw, and he reveals the inspriations behind both.
  • Brubaker has had a loose idea of the film being produced, Shadow of the Valley, but "suffice it to say, it wasn't a masterpiece."  (We might piece together what we can in a future "30 Days" essay.)
  • Brubaker recommends two podcasts, You Must Remember This on Hollywood history and Charlie Manson's Hollywood on true crime.
  • As fun as it was for Brubaker to write dialogue for him, we might see more of Brodsky, as he's starting on an idea for a story starring Brodsky, set in the 1950's.

Comics Alliance Interview with Ed Brubaker, Part One

  • Part of the allure of Hollywood as a setting is the temptation of moral compromise for fame and fortune in an industry obsessed with youth and beauty, still controlled by a few large conglomerates.
  • One real-life inspiration for the murder mystery is the sexual assault at a party held at Hal Roach's ranch and the susbsequent cover-up by "the studio fixers."
  • One central relationship is between Charlie and Gil, which survives despite unforgivable acts and constantly getting in trouble.
  • Throughout the series' run, readers would email their firm conviction that Charlie killed Val while he was blackout drunk.
  • Brubaker's favorite characters to write were Dottie, Brodsky, and Gil:  she's a nerdier Hepburn, Brodsky sees the world as it is, and there's probably more Gil in the writer than Charlie.

Comics Alliance Interview, Part Two

  • The back cover movie stills were the last thing Phillips created for each issue, and they ended up doing more than world-building:  they showed a young Val Sommers in the background of a Krazy Kids film and -- for the last issue -- a partial review that hints at where things ended up for Val and Maya, with the former's death being forgotten and overshadowed by the latter's star turn.
  • The "Cast of Characters" page was partly the result of the comic's structure in print:  there was an extra page between the two-page title page and the chapter itself, opening on a right-hand page.
  • For Gil, Sean Phillips was instructed to draw a very young Raymond Burr, only fatter, and Brubaker points out how much happier Gil seemed when he resolved to stand up to the system.
  • Before launching his next big project, Brubaker wanted to do more Criminal, and after the sprawling story of The Fade Out the upcoming one-shot felt like "a breath of fresh air" -- and then he decided to write the story from the perspective of a 12-year-old boy, presumably Tracy Lawless.
  • The interaction of the Lawless boys promises to be hysterical, since Teeg is so bad at being a father to Tracy.
  • Brubaker wants readers to know that they'll keep coming back to Criminal, with longer runs eventually:  he has at least three years of stories he could do, with a look at Leo in prison -- the long-awaited sequel to "Coward"? -- and the orphaned Greta, all grown up.

(More Criminal?  We can't wait!)

As with that last article, we're looking ahead to the next project, the tenth anniversary Criminal one-shot.  In the first part of the Newsarama interview, Phillips relayed that he had taken a couple weeks off between projects, he had just received the script for the next book, and he was easing himself into it.

On the same day these interviews wrapped, Phillips released a detail of work in-progress, noting that the Criminal one-shot won't draw itself.

The line from the Rubaiyat holds true for the writer and the artist, as well as this blog:  the Moving Finger writes and, having writ, moves on!

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Blogger hugh.c.mcbride said...

Just a quick note to let you know how much I've been enjoying your posts & how much I appreciate the obvious time & effort you put into what you write about THE FADE OUT. Found this blog shortly after Issue #11 came out - so not only have you enhanced my appreciation of this fantastic series, but reading through your "back catalog" of posts has helped alleviate my sadness that it's all over :-)

So, thanks for all that!

6:52 PM  
Blogger Bubba said...

You're very welcome! --and more is coming by the week's end.

9:37 PM  
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9:38 PM  
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7:45 PM  
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