Wednesday, April 04, 2007


Just found out about and started reading the new comic series Criminal, written by Ed Brubaker and drawn by Sean Phillips. How did I not know about this? It's right up my alley...

It's really a noir tale told from the point of view of Leo - a career pickpocket who is a mastermind of planning jobs (heists and the like). He has a set of rules that he follows, but events spiral to a point of drawing him in to a high dollar heist against his better judgement. On top of all this, he's regarded as a coward by those that would draw him into this job, which is a nice twist to the usual anti-hero protaganist of these types of tales. There's also a colorful cast of characters including a bartender, an ex-junkie with a heart, a epileptic con man, and crooked cops.

The writing style - gritty and real - is fantastic. The art then pulls it together with shadowy details that capture the noir feel.

Really its like reading a movie. Like an old noir film. Brubaker even does a writeup of one of his favorite noir films - the classic Out of the Past - at the end of issue 2. And that's another thing that sets this series apart. Most comics feel like you can blow through reading them in 3 minutes. This one packs in quite a bit of written word and wonderful art and then has an extra backup story in issue 1 and the aforementioned movie writeup in issue 2.

I'm only 2 issues in of a 5 issue first story arc, but so far its worth the read.

You can download a "trailer" for Criminal here. It's unique in that its not just a few first pages of the book, but a series of comic panels from the books put together like a movie trailer - a voice over narration to read, while getting quick clips and quips from throughout the story. First time I've seen something like that, but it really works well. You can easily envision this as a movie.

You can also find an interview with creator Ed Brubaker here.

EDIT: Ok, just finished the 5 issue first arc. Great story, pure noir. Apparently, the next story arc starts in May, so I'm looking forward to more. I can only imagine somebody is going to option this for a movie at some point. A character driven heist / revenge flick. Is he really a coward? Is it fear or intelligence that keeps him walking away? What happens when you break your own rules?

And the best part of the issues is the extra bits at the end with the author riffing on his fave books and movies of old and the process of writing as well. It's like getting a DVD commentary or something with a comic book.

Highly recommended read if you're into noir. Apparently there is a trade paperback collecting these 5 issues coming out May 16. Worth picking up.

Comments on "Criminal"


Blogger The Original LRU said ... (April 06, 2007 1:29 PM) : 

Hey, that does look pretty cool. I suspect I'd enjoy the non-superhero stories more than the superhero ones.


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