Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Brubaker's Birthday and Interview -- and New Books for February.

We noted it elsewhere, retweeting warm birthday wishes from our podcast host Robert along with Sean Phillips' plug for their latest hardcover collection, but we missed noting here that November 17th was Ed Brubaker's fiftieth birthday.

Comics Alliance published a tribute to the writer, with a very good primer on his work.  The piece briefly reviews his career in creator-owned and work-for-hire titles -- with a few omissions, most notably 2000's Deadenders and the more recent Velvet -- and it captures the tone of most of his works, which the writer describes as nihilistic.
"Life truly has no meaning in Ed Brubaker’s greatest stories. It just is, and it is rarely generous. It provides little triumph. Heroes typically have victories; their stories end on high notes. In Brubaker’s best, there are no real victories to be had. Just survival, and sometimes not even that."
(I'm not sure I'd quite agree that the stories are nihilistic and not merely tragic. The Christian worldview makes room for noir, and in the sort of stories Brubaker tells,the weight of the moral law is felt, albeit much more in its violation than its fulfillment.  Even when it's the main characters who do terrible things, as with "The Last of the Innocent," we're invited to see that their actions really are terrible.  Like ours, their world is fallen and without any earthly hope, but that does not mean it's without any transcendent meaning.)

John R. Parker writes, quite correct that, since the debut of Criminal through Marvel's Icon imprint, Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips "have released reams of brilliant material that is consistently short-listed for the best of the year, every year."

Brubaker's been busy with other work, too, and yesterday Moviefone published a wide-ranging interview with Brubaker, on Westworld, Marvel movies, and more.  He discusses his longtime goal of working in both comics and film, including the long process to breaking into Hollywood, having worked on screenplays since about 2000.  Now, he's happy to have both the collaborative work in the writers' room and the more independent work on his creator-owned comics.

He mentions the origins of his interest in noir -- his screenwriting uncle, his father letting him see his uncle's movies on late-night TV, and his aunt sending him his uncle's now-leatherbound screenplays with clippings inside.  

And, most intriguing, we have hints of new projects that may be soon to be announced.
"I have two different projects that are based on my books that are in development, at various stages. One is pretty close to being announced. Currently, I'm actually working on a TV show with a director that is a friend of mine, and that we've already sold, but it hasn't been announced yet. It'll probably be announced in the next week or two. And that's a thing that we created together." [emphasis mine]
As always, we'll keep our eyes peeled for the latest news.

In the meantime, Image Comics' February solicitations came out yesterday, with a full list online and available as a free digital comic, and another issue of Kill Or Be Killed is on the schedule, from Brubaker, Phillips, and Breitweiser.

FEBRUARY 15 / 40 PAGES / FC / M / $3.99 
The second arc in BRUBAKER & PHILLIPS' runaway bestseller keeps the hits coming, as Dylan realizes how close he may be to being caught by the NYPD.  
Also, remember that every issue features all the backpage extras that BRUBAKER & PHILLIPS fans have come to expect.
This issue notably features the first cover without the narrator and vigilante, Dylan Cross.

One week after KOBK's Valentine's week publication, an even bigger release is scheduled for Brubaker fans: the deluxe hardcover collection of Velvet, his twisting espionage tale with art from Steve Epting and Bettie Breitweiser.

FEBRUARY 22 / 400 PAGES / FC / M / $49.99   
From the creators of Captain America: The Winter Soldier comes VELVET, a slick and sexy new take on the Cold War spy genre. What if the secretary to the man running the world's most top secret spy agency was actually their most dangerous weapon, once upon a time? VELVET is groundbreaking new work from one of the bestselling teams in comics, and now Velvet Templeton's first major storyline is collected in one oversized deluxe hardback with behind-the-scenes extras and articles. A must-have for any BRUBAKER & EPTING fan.   
Collects VELVET #1-15
We're guessing that the "oversized" hardcover will nicely complement the deluxe volumes from Brubaker/Phillips, and we note that this book only covers the "first major storyline."

Velvet Templeton will return, evidently, and we're still curious about the "huge" news that Brubaker teased in June, along with the "top secret" project with Steve Epting, who has since committed to the new Batwoman book.


...and that wasn't the only big news for us, as our favorite sci-fi comic finally returns!  Ken Garing's Planetoid was a sparsely written, gorgeously illustrated mini-series that concluded in 2013, and we're thrilled to see the sequel mini-series -- Planetoid: Praxis -- is scheduled for a February 1st release.

From Newsarama's version of Image's solicitations, it appears that the trade paperback for the original series is being offered again, and we couldn't recommend it more highly.

The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away, and this announcement brings a kind of symmetry to today's big release, Chew #60 and the stunning conclusion to Layman and Guillory's surprisingly epic story.

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