Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Kill Or Be Killed #9 Out Today, Online Preview Available Now!

The latest issue of Kill Or Be Killed is in stores today, from Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips, and Elizabeth Breitweiser.  We see that Image Comics has just posted a four-page preview, showing that the story picks up with the last issue's ominous cliffhanger.

The Image website also shows a slight change to the cover: a blurb has been added to highlight the series' Eisner nominations -- four of the five nods we noted at the beginning of the month, one each for the book and its three creators, with the fifth nomination being for the Criminal 10th Anniversary Special.

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Saturday, May 27, 2017

Undertow Podcast Episode 12 on Kill Or Be Killed #8 -- plus August Solicits and Preview Art.

The latest episode of The Undertow Podcast was released yesterday.  In addition to examining Kill Or Be Killed #8 in great detail, Robert and I discuss the news on this year's Eisner nominations and offer some recommendations for comic fans and film buffs.

(I mentioned work on a blog post reviewing the Eisner nods and wins for Brubaker, Phillips, their collaborations, and their collaborators:  that post is still coming, and it should be up soon.)

As always, The Undertow Podcast is available at iTunes and on Podbean.  We really enjoyed the discussion as we watch the tension and the danger ratchet up for Dylan, and we hope listeners enjoy the show as well.


This second arc wraps in June with issue #10, and issues #5-10 will be collected in July with  Volume 2.  After that one-month break, the monthly issues return:  issue #11's cover art and August release date was mentioned in a recent Brubaker newsletter, and they were confirmed by Image's solicitations, released earlier this week.
"The insane third arc of BRUBAKER & PHILLIPS’ hottest book yet begins with a bang, as Dylan turns the tables on the men hunting him."
The issue is scheduled for an August 2nd release.


Issue #9 is on-schedule for its release this Wednesday, May 31st, and we expect an online preview, a new newsletter from Ed Brubaker, or both.

In the meantime, we've seen a few bits of in-progress preview art from Sean Phillips' social media feeds, and it looks like things are going to get very interesting indeed.

A few weeks back, Sean posted a few bits of work in-progress -- the thumbnail and the subsequent inks of the action shot shown below, and a panel of a closeup -- and these are presumably from the upcoming issue #9.  It looks like the mobster from the last scene in issue #8, and it seems things don't go according to plan.

Just yesterday, Sean posted another preview image and a photo of the smudge guard he sometimes wears while doing his digital inkwork.  The former is explicitly described as a preview of issue #10, and in both we see Lily Sharpe alongside, we're guessing, detectives in the NYPD.

Things look particularly grim for a body found in a van -- and I have a sneaking suspicion about exactly whose bitter end we'll see.

We'll have more previews for issue #9 this week, as we find them.

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Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Eisner: Nominations and a "Newspaper" Comic!

Just yesterday, the San Diego Comic-Con International announced the nominees for the 2017 Eisner Awards, and we're thrilled to find nods to Criminal, Kill Or Be Killed, and all three of the books' talented creators:
  • Ed Brubaker was nominated for Best Writer, for his work on the Criminal 10th Anniversary Special, Kill Or Be Killed, and Velvet.
  • Sean Phillips was nominated for Best Cover Artist (for multiple covers) for the Criminal Anniversary Special and Kill Or Be Killed.
  • Elizabeth Breitweiser was nominated for Best Coloring for the Criminal 10th Anniversary Special, Kill Or Be Killed, Velvet, and Outcast by Kirkman & Azaceta.
  • The Criminal 10th Anniversary Special was itself nominated for Best Single Issue/One-Shot.
  • And Kill Or Be Killed was nominated for Best Continuing Series.
In the nominations, both books were credited to Brubaker & Phillips, but we would be remiss not to note that, on the covers to both, Bettie Breitweiser is prominently listed -- quite rightly -- as the the third creator.  We're glad to see her receive her own nomination in recognition of her mesmerizing contributions.

(And we would be equally remiss if we didn't express our firm conviction that Steve Epting was snubbed for not receiving a nomination for his work on Velvet.)

Brubaker and Phillips have been earning awards and nominations and other accolades for well over a decade, including a 2006 Best New Series Eisner for Criminal and a 2012 Best Limited Series Eisner for "The Last of the Innocent."  We're glad to see that they continue to be recognized, both for maintaining their high-quality work and for frequently exceeding the already lofty expectations of their readers.

The awards will be announced Friday night, July 21st, at Comic-Con International.

But now is a perfect time to acquaint yourself (or your friends) to Brubaker, Phillips, and Breitweiser's latest twisted take on crime comics:  Kill Or Be Killed #1 was re-released just today (albeit without the bonus content) in a one-dollar "Image Firsts" edition.

...and, we have more interesting news involving Will Eisner, for whom the comics industry's most prestigious award was named.  

This past March, the Lakes International Comic Art Festival announced a trio of projects to honor the centenary of the comic creator's birth -- namely, an extensive exhibit of Eisner's work; a competition inspired by his famed creation The Spirit, inviting art students to invent their own vigilantes; and a newspaper-style comic featuring new work by some of today's top writer and artists.

Titled The Spirit of  Eisner, this 12-page publication is described as "a celebratory broadsheet comic" that honors both The Spirit and the original format in which the series was published.  The book is officially sanctioned by the Will Eisner estate, its original artwork will be featured in an exhibit in the festival site of Kendal, England, and Sean Phillips recently commented at our blog to elaborate that "a few of the contributors will be appearing in person, some for the first time in the UK."

(Comparing the list of contributors against those already announced as guests, I found five attendees other than Phillips himself:  Sergio Aragonés, Michael Cho, Duncan Fegredo, Jason Latour, and Peter Milligan.)

As a festival patron, Sean Phillips is quite heavily involved with the festival in general and with this centenary celebration in particular.  As well as judging the student competition with crime author Ian Rankin, Phillips is coordinating this comic's publication, and -- as he mentioned in the festival's official podcast, which we referenced last week -- he and writer Ed Brubaker are contributing a page to this comic.

That's news that is definitely worth emphasizing:

Ed Brubaker & Sean Phillips are creating a one-page story for The Spirit of Eisner newspaper-sized comic for this year's Lakes International Comic Art Festival.

A few weeks back on social media, Sean posted see two bits of related artwork.  One is a definite in-progress preview of the first panel of what he subsequently describes as "one (giant) page" of a story, which we're reprinting below; the other is reprinted at the top of this post, and it may just be a sketch of Eisner's famous crimefighter.  (But what a sketch!)

The press release announcing these projects also states that the book "will be launched" at the festival, which is scheduled for the weekend of October 13th to the 15th.

Sean Phillips has another quite interesting project, which was also recently announced by the Lakes Comics Art Festival:  he has designed a republication of the first ever book on creating graphic novels, first published by Rodolphe Töpffer in 1845(!!!), with this new edition translated, edited, and introduced by John McShane.

In the press release for this special edition of this historically significant work, we find that the book will be available at the festival, but it "can also be ordered online from Page 45, the Nottingham-based comic shop that has been a longtime supporter of LICAF."

We haven't seen anything similar, stating that The Spirit of Eisner will be available anywhere other than the festival itself, but we're encouraged by the verbiage that the book will be "launched" there.

We'll certainly keep our eye out for any news about the book's availability for fans unable to attend the festival, and we'll be sure to pass along what we find.

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