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Bad Weekend


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FORBES -- Bad Weekend paints an acid-etched portrait of fandom, comics professionals and Comic-Con itself - one that rings true to anyone with connections to the industry and culture. As comics and comic art have grown in prominence, and the latter has become a very big-money business indeed, it's important to keep it real when it comes to the shady dealings and complicated legacies that form the roots of the industry. It's also entertaining as hell. After more than a dozen years of the award-winning comics-noir series, Brubaker and Phillips know how to blend their art and storytelling styles into a polished page-turner. Bad Weekend from Image Comics will be available in comics shops on Wednesday, July 10 and available in bookstores on Tuesday, July 16. and makes a fine summer read for anyone who's heading to Comic-Con next week, or wishes they were.
LIBRARY JOURNAL (STARRED) -- Aging cartoonist Hal Crane is renowned for his body of work and infamous for his bad behavior, so when he's selected to receive a lifetime achievement award at a large comics convention, the organizers hire Jacob, Crane's estranged former assistant, to keep him out of trouble. The task proves impossible, as Crane quickly embarks upon a ruthless quest to reclaim original artwork he's convinced was stolen from him. As he observes his former mentor encountering shady art dealers, indulging old grudges, enduring disrespectful fans, and enlisting the assistance of career criminals, Jacob can't help but wonder how an artist who once possessed such passion and vision managed to sink so low. Is the comic book industries' history of forcing creators into unfair work-for-hire contracts and then discarding them once sales decline to blame, or were Crane's own demons his undoing? More important, can Crane be redeemed, or will helping him drag Jacob down into the same mire of resentment and rage?
VERDICT With this Eisner Award-winning volume, expanding stories first serialized in the "Criminal" series, the incomparable team of Brubaker and Phillips (My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies; The Fade Out) once again prove themselves among the best creators of crime fiction in any genre.
PUBLISHERS WEEKLY -- The lauded crime comics team of Brubaker and Phillips (My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies) take a meta approach with a hard-boiled mystery set at a comics convention. Cartoonist Hal Crane, "a collection of bad habits and worse moods," is traveling to an event clearly based on the San Diego Comic-Con to receive a lifetime achievement award, and his former art assistant Jacob, now a detective, is hired to escort him. The two are quickly embroiled in a mystery involving stolen art, murder, and decades of industry feuds. Set in 1997, when the comics speculation boom of the '90s was going bust and comic books were at a sales peak but a creative nadir, the period's perfect for a tale rife with creative frustration, seedy backroom deals, and betrayal. It helps that the creators know the behind-the-scenes workings of the comic convention inside and out, which lends verisimilitude, as does the semifictional comics history they tell, a blend of reality, gossip (did an inker really get work by procuring sex workers for his editors?), and pure imagination. Phillips's art looks heavily photo-referenced, but poses and layouts that would be stiff in a lesser artist's hands fly by as realistic, while still loose and lively, in his practiced lines. Brubaker proves again that, as in the words of legendary creator Jack Kirby, "Comics will break your heart," as he digs under the colorful surface of his setting and touches on injustices within the industry.

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