Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Ides of March Bullets: New UNDERTOW Podcast, New KILL OR BE KILLED, Sean-centric Solicitations, and More!

It's the Ides of March, and we have a lot to cover from the past few weeks.

UNDERTOW Podcast #10 on KILL OR BE KILLED #6!  The latest episode of The Undertow Podcast was released late last week, and Robert and I take and in-depth look at last month's issue of Kill Or Be Killed.

It was a good discussion on a dense issue, with the resolution of the cliffhanger in KOBK #5, the callbacks to every previous issue, the introduction of two antagonists for our vigilante Dylan, and an unexpected Easter Egg involving a previous work of Brubaker and Phillips.

As always, episodes are available at iTunes and Podbean.

KILL OR BE KILLED #7 In Stores Today! Our podcast is a great way to review the last issue before diving into the next one, which focuses on Dylan's best friend and former lover Kira. 

In February, Ed Brubaker provided an advance, black-and-white preview of the issue, and Image Comics has recently posted the same three-page preview, completed with Elizabeth Breitweiser's subtly increasing colors as Kira's scrapbook photos become more recent.

...and we see that Brubaker just sent out another email newsletter, describing this issue as his favorite for the series, at least so far.  The newsletter includes an additional preview page, proof that "the entire issue isn't all photo album pages."

Kill Or Be Killed #7 interior art detail,
  From the Desk of Ed Brubaker
And we can find one more preview image on Sean Phillips' blog, for the artwork accompanying the essay at the back of the new issue.  Writer Kim Morgan describes the subject as the "psycho-superb" Pretty Poison, and it's another crime story starring Tuesday Weld, this time paired with Anthony Perkins in a 1968 film.

• Advance Preview of KOBK #8.  In today's newsletter, Brubaker also treats readers to a few in-progress pages from the next issue, since he anticipates that some readers will miss Dylan this month.

Kill Or Be Killed #8 interior art, in-progress detail,
  From the Desk of Ed Brubaker
With the pages, Brubaker provides some insight into the production, noting that Sean Phillips moves directly from layouts to the final drawing.  For his part, Phillips has posted bits of a few other in-progress pages through Twitter and Instagram -- all evidently from the same issue, including a sketch of Dylan with the demon, the militarized NYPD, and "too much detail" of Dylan leaving the newsstand.

• KOBK #9 and More Sean Phillips in May Solicitations.  Toward the end of February, Image Comics released its May solicitations, and it includes Kill Or Be Killed #9. 

"Time is running out, and the demon won’t wait for the police to stop hunting him. Trapped between his curse and his own survival, Dylan takes to the streets."

With no gaps planned since issue #5, we infer that the second trade collection will probably include more than the first volume's four issues.  Since Brubaker and Phillips tend to produce ten issues a year, we're guessing that the typical trade will collect five issues: there will be a one-month gap after the conclusion to each "arc" in this ongoing series, and the following month will feature that arc's trade collection and the first issue in the next arc.

Phillips is also listed for another book, a hardcover reprint of User, an award-winning three-issue miniseries originally published through DC's Vertigo imprint in 2001.  Written by Devin Grayson with art by John Bolton and Sean Phillips, the story "explores sexual identity and online role-playing in the text-based MUDs [Multi-User Dungeons] of the nineties."

• KOBK #10 Cover Art.  We recommend subscribing to Ed Brubaker's newsletter -- and those who read the latest issue will find very interesting news about Fraction and Zdarsky's Sex Criminals and an homage to Brubaker and Phillips -- but there's one more item we'd like to mention here, on the subject of advance looks at Kill Or Be Killed.

In answering a question about the design of the comic's demon, Brubaker talks about the pleasant surprises that can result from collaboration, and it appears he gives us a first look at the next cover.

Kill Or Be Killed #10 probable cover
  From the Desk of Ed Brubaker
Those who follow Sean Phillips' Twitter feed will recognize the motif of the demon and Lady Liberty, featured in several work-in-progress Instagram posts from February: one, two, three, and four.

• More Sean Phillips in Movies for Criterion and Arrow!  We've previously reported on the artwork Sean Phillips has done for home video releases, both for the Criterion Collection and for Arrow Films.  We really should account for all his work in a single, organized list, but for now it suffices to note that, in February, both companies released work with art design by Sean Phillips.

On February 6th, the UK company Arrow Films released Willie Dynamite, a 1974 blaxploitation film.  The Blu-ray and DVD release features a reversible sleeve that has both the original artwork and newly commissioned artwork, the latter from Sean Phillips, who posted the full piece through Twitter.

On February 21st, the Criterion Collection released Mildred Pierce, a 1945 noirish melodrama starring Joan Crawford:  on his blog, Sean Phillips shared some artwork including the cover and additional sketches.

• Sales Surging for KILL OR BE KILLED?  Finally, we noticed that KOBK makes an interesting appearance in CBR's February sales report.  Apparently, KOBK led the month in gained sales for continuing titles, as shown in the excerpted graph below.

We might have to do some digging about just how good the title's sales have been...

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