Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Haven't really written too much about the upcoming Ed Brubaker/Sean Phillips project Criminal yet, so I shall now endeavor to make my tiny little contribution to the hype machine.

You may all recall that I was a big fan of the duo's previous collaborative effort, Sleeper, which spun pure gold out the most unlikely of places- Wildstorm's spandex-fest W.I.L.D.Cats series, specifically the Point Blank spinoff GN. I really need to get that trade someday. Anyway, from everything I've seen so far, Criminal will be more of the same: intelligent, but captivating and not short on action and thrills script-wise, and solidly drawn in matchless chiarascuro by the fellow that I consider one of the top ten artists working in the business today.

I do have my concerns, though, especially given the lackluster reception the undiscerning comics buying populace at large gave Sleeper. Like its cousin, Criminal just doesn't seem to have anything the average 52CivilIdentityWar devotee would be interested in. No shocking deaths of established characters, nobody revealing a secret identity, nobody shooting force beams out of their hands or slicing people open with their adamantium claws. No time-bending, reality-twisting melodramatics. No righteously sexy, rubber-band-spine-contortionist mega-powered babes, straight or otherwise. It's straight-up twelve o'clock crime fiction, and to the average Green Lantern or Spider-Man fan, especially of a certain age, you might as well tell them it's going to be on Turner Classic Movies- right before the silent films on Sunday night.

Maybe, just maybe, I'm being ol' mister curmudgeonly cynical pessimist again and I'm wrong about these people. I sure as hell hope so- because I can tell, just after reading the first five pages, that this is going to be something exceptional. And diety of your choice bless Brubaker and Phillips for going to the well once again and throwing their pearls around the ol' pig sty.

Anyway, the distinguished Mr. Alan David Doane has guzzled down the Criminal Kool-aid and has asked for seconds. He has set up a blog, A Criminal Blog to be precise, which shall be infomation central for all things Criminal-related. You can go there and find all kinds of good links already, including a PDF preview link and his review of #1.

Other links:

An interview with Sean Phillips, mostly about Criminal, even though some folks can't resist asking about Marvel Zombies, which kinda reinforces my pessimism;

A preview will be available in the 30th issue of Walking Dead, according to this Newsarama report. You'll have to let me know if it's any good- I'm not buying that comic again for anything...

My good pals at PopCultureShock (no, I don't know when the second Confessions of a Spinner Rack Junkie is going up- things seem to be in flux there right now) have a preview right che'yre.

Here's Phillips' website. Don't confuse him with the 70's long-haired singer who goes by the name of SHAWN Phillips, and whose Do You Wonder LP graces my turntable once every two or three years;

And, Ed Brubaker's website.

So...what have we learned, kids? We should ALL GIVE THIS BOOK A CHANCE...even if it doesn't have Wolverine. Brubaker and Phillips have been toiling long and hard in the spandex vineyards (Brubaker's Daredevil has been especially choice lately), and deserve the opportunity to do something that has a little bit of themselves in it, and see it reach a larger audience. Those, and by "those" I mean "comics buyers", who do not learn from their mistakes are doomed to repeat them- or so the saying goes to the best of my memory- and I hope that this doesn't share the ignoble fate of the pair's previous collaboration.

And aren't you proud of me for not making a single "Smooth Criminal" joke? OOPS!

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