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Some news this time, and some previews

There's big news about my TV show and my and Sean's next graphic novel collection this time, but first up... let's do a preview of issue 4 of CRIMINAL, which is out this week, however and wherever you buy your comics. 

Here's the first six pages of a standalone story called ORPHANS, starring Ricky Lawless (and a younger Leo, from CRIMINAL vol 1: COWARD). 

That's out this week, and sadly, I've been getting a lot of emails from readers having trouble finding the issues. Lots of reports of first-day sellouts. So you may want to call your comic shop and make sure they hold one for you or place a standing order.

I hate to be that "pre-order your comics" guy, but the market is tightening its belt right now, and many retailers are ordering to sell out immediately. So if you want CRIMINAL every month, make sure your shop knows. Even comics' smartest retailers cannot read your mind. 
Issue 5 comes out the first week of June, and is the beginning of a long arc called CRUEL SUMMER, which tells the story of how Teeg Lawless died in the summer of 1988, a story that was alluded to in the very first CRIMINAL book.  

I was going to call this arc something else, and even did in the first solicits, but I changed my mind. (I did that for issues 2 and 3, as well). And speaking of issues 2 and 3... 
BAD WEEKEND the (sort of) Director's Cut
You may have seen this announced last week on the Hollywood Reporter, but we're putting out a hardback edition of the story from issues 2 and 3 of CRIMINAL.
This was sort of a surprise, even to me, because as I mentioned in the last newsletter, I wasn't really thinking about how these first issues of CRIMINAL would be collected when we were making them. I figured we'd probably put them all in a book of short stories somewhere down the line, but when we sent in issue 3, Eric Stephenson (our publisher) called me up saying he wanted us to release BAD WEEKEND as a hardback, in the same format as MY HEROES HAVE ALWAYS BEEN JUNKIES. He felt it deserved to stand on its own, that there were a lot of readers who had missed it that would want a copy, because of what it was saying about the comics industry. And there was just enough time to get it on the schedule for convention season, even. 

So Sean and I discussed it and started working. I had several scenes in my notebook that I didn't have room for in the serialized version, so we decided that this would give us time to expand and revise it, instead of just collecting what we already had. So we did a bunch of brand new pages for this version (while Sean and Jake were also doing issues 4 and 5 of CRIMINAL) and in a few places I rewrote narration or changed a scene to add dialog. The story is about 20% longer now, the same length as JUNKIES. I jokingly called it a director's cut, but that's probably the closest comparison to what we did here. 

Here's a few panels from the new stuff: 

Anyway, the book is gorgeous, and we're really proud of it, to the point we nearly killed ourselves getting it done in time. Here's the description from the press release: 

Bad Weekend takes readers on a dark ride through the secret history of comics, an industry that’s always been haunted by crooks, swindlers and desperate dreamers. 

Hal Crane, a legendary cartoonist who’s been around since the earliest days of comics, knows that comics won’t just break your heart. Comics will kill you. Stuck at an out-of-town convention waiting to receive a lifetime achievement award, Crane must confront a history of old grudges and terrible mistakes.

Bad Weekend will be out in comics shops on Wednesday, July 10 and bookstores on Tuesday, July 16. Please order it from your local comic shop or bookstore. If you don't have a comic shop or bookstore in your area, it can currently be ordered on Amazon, Amazon UK, and Barnes & Noble

In the last few weeks, there's been a lot of news about the Amazon Prime show I co-created and co-wrote with Nicolas Winding Refn. (I also want to mention one of my best friends, Halley Gross, who co-wrote a lot of the show with us. Halley worked on the show while still juggling her writing on THE LAST OF US 2, and she is the best).

Anyway, here's a link to an article with the launch trailer and release date for the show:

Many people writing about that trailer said something along the lines of: "This is gorgeous, but it leaves me wondering what the show is actually about."  And to any of you who watches the trailer and thinks the same, I would say go watch some of Refn's movies before you check out the show when it debuts -- JUNE 14th. 

Watch VALHALLA RISING, watch DRIVE, watch NEON DEMON, and ONLY GOD FORGIVES. Refn's movies are very divisive, and he's completely fine with that. They're more like insane European midnight movies from the 60s and 70s than anything you'd normally see on TV or a streaming platform, and this show is not in any way like a typical streaming show. It's almost like a series of interlinked pulp art films, with the same characters and overlapping stories and themes. There's a lot happening in there that is buried in layers of subtext, and it doesn't hold your hand, and at times it probably wants to piss you off, even, or provoke you. It's hypnotic and surreal, and as Cliff Martinez said, the episodes are long. Usually from an hour and twenty minutes to an hour and a half (and Cliff's score for them is amazing).

So what I'm trying to say is, that trailer is actually a perfect representation of the show, and tells you just enough, while showing you exactly how amazing it looks and what it feels like. It's a Refn film, but as a series.

I did a Word Balloon podcast last month, where I talked in-depth about my experience working on it (among many other things):

The other news about TOO OLD TO DIE YOUNG is that it's debuting at CANNES:

And to highlight what I said before about the show being completely unlike traditional TV, Refn is screening episodes 4 and 5 at Cannes under the subtitle: NORTH OF HOLLYWOOD, WEST OF HELL
My friend Warren Ellis has travelled back in time and decided to start blogging again and you know what, he's still great at it. 

Check out his regular missives at:

I don't know if I've mentioned it before, but there's a show called BROCKMIRE that is one of the funniest things on television right now. Hank Azaria as a legendary sportscaster booted down to the minors for his explosively bad behavior. Some of the best and funniest dialog I've ever heard. I laugh hard at every episode and I do not follow baseball at all. Check it out, they're already on Season Three. 
Either funny or fucked up or just plain fascinating... here's this month's highlights...

The sub-headline really makes this one. 

All right, that's it for this time out. Send interesting questions or comments to: and I'll see your inbox sometime next month. 

And don't forget to look for CRIMINAL #4 at your comic store this week. 
Copyright © 2019 Basement Gang Inc., All rights reserved.

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