Friday, March 31, 2017

Bullets: Brubaker's Green Light, Velvet Deluxe, and More Books on the Horizon.

• Green Light for Brubaker-penned Maniac Cop. There was big news late last week, as Variety exclusively reported that Nicolas Winding Refn’s Maniac Cop has been greenlit and is scheduled to film this summer, to be produced by Nicolas Winding Refn and directed by John Hyams.  As we noticed almost two years ago, Ed Brubaker has written the screenplay for this remake of the 1988 cult thriller.

Variety's Elsa Keslassy writes that, according to co-producer Lene Børglum, Maniac Cop "will not be a pure horror film but rather a contemporary and realistic action thriller."  We think the most interesting part of this news story is the summary of the movie's premise, which we believe we're seeing for the first time.
Set in the present, “Maniac Cop” follows a determined L.A. police officer who sets out to reveal the truth about the brutal murders of innocent people by one of her fellow cops.
Sounds like the protagonist is a female cop, perhaps much like Lily Sharpe, recently introduced as a likely antagonist in Kill Or Be Killed, or "Genuine Jen" Waters who has a minor role in Criminal, working in the city police's Internal Affairs Division.

• Velvet Deluxe Out This Week.  We noticed that the deluxe hardcover edition of Ed Brubaker's spy comic Velvet was rescheduled for release this week, on 3/29, moved from its original solicited date of February 22.

Comparing our original post on the book with the official listing on Image's website, we see two different cover images, and we believe the book features all-new cover art by Steve Epting, shown below.

The series is described as "a slick and sexy new take on the Cold War spy genre," and we note that this oversized volume collects the eponymous character's "first major storyline," so it appears we haven't seen the last of Velvet Templeton.

• More KILL OR BE KILLED in June.  We have some news items on a few upcoming releases.  First up, Image Comics released their June solicitations this past Wednesday, and it includes Kill Or Be Killed #10, with the cover Ed Brubaker showed fans in his most recent newsletter.

As his life spins out of control, Dylan and his demon come face-to-face once again.
The 40-page issue is described as the end of a story arc, and we presume this means that this will be the last chapter in the second trade paperback.  That would confirm our earlier theory that this second volume would be larger than the first, 4-issue volume, and we can now guess the schedule through the summer.
  • April: KOBK #8, currently scheduled for its solicited release date of 4/26
  • May: KOBK #9, also currently scheduled for its solicited release on 5/31
  • June: KOBK #10, solicited for 6/28
  • July: planned skip month
  • August: KOBK #11 and Volume 2, collecting #5-10
If past releases are any indication, Kill Or Be Killed Volume 2 and issue #11 will be released on the same day.

At The Undertow Podcast we'll take an in-depth look at each issue as it's released, and between arcs we plan to continuing our occasional series looking back through the collaborative works of Brubaker and Phillips, a series we started in January with Scene of the Crime.

KILL OR BE KILLED Image Firsts Edition in May.

In visiting ComicList and glancing at a recent extended forecast for Image Comics, we noticed an Image Firsts edition of the debut issue of Kill Or Be Killed.

As with their other popular titles -- including the previous books the publisher has produced for Brubaker and Phillips -- Image is releasing a one-dollar reprint of the title's first issue.

The Image Firsts series is "perfect for readers interested in trying out a variety of new titles without feeling the effects on their wallet."

 Original Graphic Novel Coming from Brubaker? Finally, Barnes & Noble's college-focused site The College Juice began this month with a spotlight interview with Ed Brubaker.  The article had quite a bit we already knew, but it included the intriguing revelation that the writer's "top secret" projects include "an original graphic novel."

We don't know anything else about this book, but we'll be sure to keep readers posted.

In the meantime, we'd like to thank Kevin Sels on Twitter for the heads-up!

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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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