Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Heroes in Stores Today, More Criminal in January, a Mini Book Tour and More Podcasts!

It's a big day -- big enough to eclipse the very busy schedule that's been keeping me offline recently.  It's been more than three months since the conclusion of Kill Or Be Killed, and the killer team of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips is back with their first original graphic novel, the hardcover My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies.

Image Comics is promoting the book on its front page, and while the book's webpage still has the three-page trailer, Ed Brubaker's recent email newsletter includes three new preview pages.

An additional, exclusive four-page preview is available at The Hollywood Reporter, along with a brief interview with Brubaker, touching on how the story connects to his personal life and updating fans on Too Old To Die Young.

(The Amazon-exclusive series is in post-production, probably to be released in the spring: "it's the most Nicolas Winding Refn thing that ever existed, honestly. It's stylish and shocking," and the cinematography is especially good considering its being made for television.)

The book hits stores today.  At certain stores, readers can purchase the book with one of apparently THREE signed bookplates.  The most common one, based on the cover art, is signed by Ed Brubaker.  It's apparently available at stores such as London's Orbital Comics, where we found the photo below; at Pittsburgh's Phantom of the Attic, which I used to frequent in grad-school days, when it was located on Craig Street; and at the stores hosting Brubaker's upcoming book tour.

Two other bookplates are exclusively available at two stores in the British Isles.  They feature the front or back of the book's main character Ellie, and they're signed by all three creators -- writer Ed Brubaker, artist Sean Phillips, and colorist Jacob Phillips.  Sean posted images of the bookplates through Twitter, announcing that the former is available through OK Comics and the latter is at Page 45.  OK Comics evidently also has the original artwork on which these bookplates are based, along with the Brubaker-signed bookplate, signed copies of Jack & Lucy by Rachael Smith and Jacob Phillips, and a giveaway for signed promo posters.

Looking at the copy we just picked up from our local shop, we can confirm that it's the standard comic-book dimensions, and its matte paper is quite nice, making the physical copy really stand out.
We can also confirm that, on the title page, the book is described as "a Criminal novella."

(We think Sean ought to use his Big Cartel store to sell dust jackets for the book, to match the design for Image's new printings of the Criminal trade paperbacks.)

Much to our delight, more Criminal is coming, much sooner than expected.

Rich Johnston broke the news on September 23rd, after talking with Sean Phillips at Thought Bubble in Leeds, and the news was confirmed by Brubaker's October 4th newsletter and Phillips' October 5th tweet, with a look at the cover art for issue #1 in this third ongoing monthly series to bear the name.

As with this new hardcover, the ongoing series will be colored by Jacob Phillips, "our new regular colorist," and it sounds like the series will include long arcs, done-in-one stories, and everything in-between. 

Brubaker shared some interior artwork from this first issue, confirming that the cover above features Teeg Lawless from the 1980's and setting at least part of the story in March of 1988.  With one young, as-yet unidentified character breaking into a house, we wonder if we'll see Leo Patterson, Tracy Lawless, and Jacob Kurtz as teenage friends and lawbreakers.

Brubaker teases that this debut issue is "an extra-length single issue story that is different than anything we've ever done before with CRIMINAL."  Especially considering the turns the series has already taken, we're more than intrigued.

(In the interview given to THR mentioned above, Brubaker adds, "We'll definitely be seeing more of Ellie in the new Criminal monthly series that launches in January.")

And, Brubaker explains that his work on the Junkies may have inspired him to return to the world of Criminal more quickly than he had planned, setting aside (for now) the planned follow-up to The Fade Out.

Fans probably have questions for the writer, and he used his newsletter (with a subsequent addendum) to announce a miniature book tour -- a "signing tour" which Image Comics publicized in its own press release yesterday.

So far only four stops have been announced, three in California and a fourth in the "other" LA -- Louisiana, the first time the writer will be a guest at an event in this area and his first time in the Big Easy.

The tour STARTS TONIGHT, and the event links below should be up-to-date.
Finally, if you still can't get enough of Brubaker and Phillips, The Undertow Podcast has released a few new episodes since we last posted here at the blog.
  • In Episode 25, Robert and I review the 20th and final issue of Kill Or Be Killed, with some broader thoughts on the overall series.
  • In Episode 26, Robert opens our second "cold case" to take a look at some of the earliest collaborations between Brubaker and Phillips, the prestige-format comic Batman: Gotham Noir from DC's Elseworlds line and Batman #603 from the Bruce Wayne: Fugitive crossover event.
We'll be back with another podcast very soon, and it's clear we'll have lots to talk about.

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