Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Bullets: Velvet #15 Out Now, Advance Reviews of KOBK, and More!

We have a long post that could have been made even longer, but we'll start with a couple big items, as one big story reaches a momentary conclusion and another one looms larger on the horizon.

Velvet #15, In Stores Today, with a Preview Online.  We recently covered the news that Ed Brubaker, Steve Epting, and Bettie Breitweiser's espionage period piece was going on a hiatus following this new issue and its "grand finale of the first big Velvet story."  The new issue hit stores today, following a three-page preview that Comic Book Resources published yesterday, and we can confirm that Brubaker doesn't reveal many additional details in the back pages, beyond plans "to return to Velvet, hopefully soon and often."

(Okay, there's also a hint of what we might see in the future, a reveal that might be considered a bit of spoiler in light of the preview.)

At the beginning of the month, ComicList's extended preview for Image Comics included a product change for the issue.
VELVET #15 will now run 40 pages at a price of $3.99, not 32 pages at a price of $3.50.
We can confirm both the slightly higher price and the extra-sized issue; we notice that finales tend to run long with Brubaker stories, but we're not complaining in the least.

Advance Reviews and Previews for Kill Or Be Killed.  In the back pages of Velvet, we find an extended preview of Kill Or Be Killed #1, the upcoming crime comic from Brubaker, Sean Phillips, and Breitweiser.  It's the same six-page preview that we mentioned earlier.  These first few pages of the debut issue were first released in Image+ #2 and then expanded upon with in-progress art in Brubaker's first email newsletter, and it has since made it to other publications.

Two weeks back, it was announced on Twitter that the preview was included in the new issue of The Walking Dead, and we see that it's in issue #156, upside-down in the back -- tête-bêche, a format popularized by the Ace Doubles books introduced in the 1950's --  which allows Phillips' cover art to serve as a proper cover to the preview.  Long-time readers may remember that, despite being published through the Icon imprint of Image competitor Marvel, Criminal was featured in TWD ten years ago next month, with the five-page "trailer" for its first arc "Coward" being included in issue #30, and four years ago this month, Sean Phillips created a variant cover for the series' milestone 100th issue.

From Sean Phillips, we also learned that the book is featured in a five-page article of the latest issue of British comics magazine Comic Heroes.  The issue, released in early July, features Harley Quinn and Man-Bat on the cover, and the article evidently includes an interview with both Brubaker and Phillips.

And, advance copies of the debut issue is apparently reaching select readers, resulting in advance, reviews -- and advance tweets, as Rick Remender calls the book "an eerie layered bit of stunning greatness."

In a spoiler-free review, Nerdist raves that issue #1 "is so much darker and more twisted than anybody guessed. It’s also freaking glorious and an awesome first issue of a promising new series."  Elsewhere, Comic Bastards gives the book a 5 out of 5, describing the issue's narrative structure but still avoiding much more detail, particularly for readers of Brubaker's newsletter.

The book should be hitting stores in just a couple weeks, on August 3rd, and ComicList's latest extended forecast for Image relays that the issue "will now run 48 pages, not 40 pages, with no change in price."

Solicitations, with Preview Art in the Latest Newsletter.  The latest issue of Ed Brubaker's email newsletter came out Sunday, and as before the issue is archived online, and readers should DEFINITELY subscribe to stay up-to-date.  In addition to fielding reader questions, Brubaker provides a ton of rare artwork:

  • a Fatale giclée that was available at the 2014 TCAF, where both Brubaker and Phillips made an appearance
  • several behind-the-scenes drafts of the cover art for Fatale #9
  • a "non-spoilery tease" for KOBK #2, black-and-white in-progress artwork for a single page, with text
  • the cover art for KOBK #3, along with an earlier sketch
We're reprinting the final cover art below, and it appears to have been omitted from the October solicitations that were released on Monday.

Kill Or Be Killed #3 cover, From the Desk of Ed Brubaker

(These first three issues' covers seem almost to tell a single story.  We wonder if that's deliberate, and we wonder if this "story" will continue to unfold on the covers.)

We overlooked Image's September solicitations, and the story's premise remains vague but very intriguing:
#2: Every killer has to have his first kill, and they're never easy.
#3: As our hero is drawn deeper into the shadows, his secret vigilante life begins to put everything he cares about in danger.
As with the first issue, these next two issues are solicited at $3.99 for 40 pages.

Fundraising and Tributes.  Finally, a couple brief notes, much more abbreviated than any one of these items deserve.

  • Ed Brubaker was announced among the first wave of the 2017 JoCo Cruise, a weeklong excursion down Baja California in early March, and it appears that the cruise continues its partnership with the Worldbuilders charity, where booklovers work together to help worthy causes.
  • Sean's wife Jeanette Phillips has set up a JustGiving page for Epilepsy Research UK. The 5K run/walk took place this past weekend, and she has already exceeded her goal, but people can still donate online.
  • Almost Darwyn Cooke's Blog has highlighted a tribute panel for the late, great creator at this year's San Diego Comic-Con International.  The one-hour event will start this Saturday evening, moderated by Jimmy Palmiotti and including Mike Allred, Scott Dunbier, Cully Hamner, Frank Tieri, and Bruce Timm.

We plan to pass along any reports on this panel.

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