Brubaker and Phillips on Incognito from Icon

I hope this doesn’t mean they’re getting bored of Criminal, but it’s been a couple of years doing that, so I can understand the need to switch things up. I look forward to this book very much. I think Sleeper is probably a bigger favorite of mine. I think the guys are both better creators today than when they did Sleeper, so Criminal is a book of greater craft, but there was something intangible, exciting, and addicting about Sleeper that I just couldn’t get enough of.

It’s interesting that this is about superheroes though, since you’d think Brubaker would be getting enough of that in his “day job.” It also feels, just a bit, like a movie pitch, and I’d be shocked if, in the wake of Sleeper getting picked up, that this hasn’t already been optioned for a film. I’m sure news of that will follow the Millar model, where the movie is in development before the book is out.

But I’m not complaining, because Phillips and Brubaker have never let me down, not even for a single issue, and I’m glad they get the freedom to do whatever projects they want. I hope Kurt Busiek doesn’t find out about this…

Here’s the press release:


* *

*From the team that’s won EVERY MAJOR AWARD in comics comes the most insane and evil comic you’ll ever read!*

* *

The man who killed Captain America was just getting started. As superstar creators Ed Brubaker (Captain America, Daredevil, Uncanny X-Men) and Sean Phillips’ (Marvel Zombies) previous genre-twisting series Sleeper heads for the big screen with Sam Raimi and Tom Cruise attached, the team takes a short break from their multiple Eisner Award-winning comic Criminal to launch Incognito, a twisted mash-up of noir and super-heroics.

What if you were an ex-supervillain hiding out in Witness Protection… but all you could think about were the days when the rules didn’t apply to you? Could you stand the toil of an average life after years of leaving destruction in your wake? And what if you couldn’t stand it? What would you do then?

Incognito is a project that I’ve been waiting to do for some time now,” said Brubaker. “Where Sean and I previously explored a good guy pretending to be bad and losing sight of the difference, Incognito is the flipside. The story of a bad guy forced to be good, and what happens when he starts to go stir-crazy from the monotony of normal life. It’s a dark look at good and evil and pulp and noir all in one hard-hitting package.”

Incognito launches in December from Marvel Comics’ Icon line, and will continue the tradition begun in Criminal of special features and articles that will only be available in the individual issues.


Written by ED BRUBAKER
Art & Cover by SEAN PHILLIPS
Mature Content/No Ads …$3.50
FOC—11/21/08, On-Sale—12/10/08



  1. I know Phillips is probably doing more work than he has time for, but I’d like to see Brubaker drop off Uncanny and just write the hell out of Captain America, Daredevil, Criminal and this book.

    Slightly off topic, but I need hardcover collections of Sleeper. My paperbacks are falling apart.

  2. This is the true meaning of Christmas.  


    Can’t wait! 

  3. Bring it. To me, Criminal is good, but it’s all about this team doing the fantastic mojo they do well…

  4. @Scorpion  I wouldn’t worry.  Brubaker isn’t likely to be with Uncanny long.  Either Fraction is getting another cowriter or writing it himself.

    And re: the main post — w00t!  (Though I realize, with some guilt, that the last half of Sleeper has been languishing in my stack for over a year.  I should really finish that book).

  5. That cover looks incredible and I hope this really is a straight up super-villain noir, and not brubaker and phillips doing WANTED. But that promise of something evil and twisted does reak of Millarness. But they are hyping it well, and it will probably pull in a lot of people who aren’t reading criminal. I would just be really dissapointed if this is brubaker trying to be some else.

  6. *someone else.

  7. I think this will be great, but I am so sad to see that it requires them taking a break from Criminal. Is this a limited or ongoing series?

  8. Wow.  It’s a concept so simple, yet so filled with potential.  I can’t wait for this book.

  9. Just for reference, I will be kicking people in the face if I find out Holden or Tao is being played by Tom Cruise for the Sleeper movie.  He can be Steeleye… but that’s all I’ll give him.

  10. SWEET. I was late on the Brubaker/Phillips bandwagon (I’ve been buying Criminal in Trades) but I can’t wait. I love that cover image.

  11. Christmas is going to be sweet !!!

  12. WOOHOO!

  13. Great pitch. Do we really have to wait until december?

  14. I hate myself for being cynical about this, and maybe I’m just a little sad that it means less Criminal, but it does feel like a movie pitch/cash in – by more than just the bit that Josh mentions. But who can blame Bru & Phillips for looking at the instant success of something like Kick-Ass, thinking now is the time to strike with an idea like this, and going for it. I’m sure it’ll be good, and the promised backmatter on pulp sounds great, but there’s part of me that laments a crime book being replaced by a superpowers book, even for an interim period…

  15. Looking forward to this. Brubaker & Phillips can do no wrong!

  16. Not to be Debby Downer, but isn’t this book just Powers, Criminal, and Wanted smashed into one?  I’m excited to see where Bru and Phillips will take the concept, but I don’t find much "newness" in this concept.

    …In thinking about it, this could just be me bummed that Criminal will be going on hiatus.

  17. @Neb I don’t see much newness either, but with this kind of thing, it’s really all about how it’s carried out. If what we’re getting here is kind of captain america meats criminal but more violent, it could be really good. I started out a little more negative about it, but more than playing to Millar’s audience and the news about Sleeper, this really probably just Brubaker and Phillips out to have some fun. Which should be good.


    The art looks wonderful by the way. The colors are great, too. I like that restricked palate. Not quite black and white, but still with the feeling of a black and white movie. Reminds me of Jean-Pierre Melville flicks (which all criminal fans should check out).

  18. I found all the Sleeper trades half off at San Deigo and I proceeded to read the hell out of them. So having just finished the series a couple of months ago this is just awesome news.

  19. @Neb – Story > Idea  

    Have faith, brother.   

  20. I like that MeanOldPig read "hell out of" those books.  That’s hardcore comic booking.

  21. I look forward to picking up the trade.

  22. @paper and NealAppeal~  Dudes, I’m with you.  I’m sure this book is going to be fun and good.  I mean, these guys are an awesome combo. 

    BUT I can’t help but feel disappointed that they’re putting Criminal on the back burner to do this.  Where Criminal is this amazing, fresh kind of comic that is like nothing else (and insanely good), This idea does not leap off the page at me, which makes me wonder at my need for it.  I can get my superhero cop thing with Powers, my noir with Criminal, and a super villain perspective on life in Wanted. 

    There is great potential here though, and I’m sure in December I’ll be sprinkling hot sauce on my foot so I can eat it.

  23. Your use of appositives in the second paragraph reads almost like a haiku.  It’s pretty awesome.  

    As for the comic, I was apprehensive at first, but I’m a sucker for a guy in a domino mask lighting a cigar with cash.  If Archie did this, I’d probably buy every double digest.  

     Keep on rockin, Ifanboys.   

  24. It was indeed hardcore comic book reading. This was due mostly to the extremeness of Tao and Genocide Jones.

  25. And… I just got another book I’m going to be reading…. Can’t wait

  26. I just had a scary thought:  If Incognito is crazy successful (like Kick-Ass), would these guys even come back to Criminal?  Oh man, so much more depressed about this…

  27. I love Criminal too, but what’s most important is that they’re working on something they’re passionate about.  And when they come back to Criminal it’ll be all the better for it.  

  28. I’m sorry to see Criminal go (even for a while) but this book sounds awesome. I just hope Criminal isn’t one of those books that gets put on the back burner & is just forgotten. That would be criminal!

  29. Sleeper is certainly on my eventual to-reread list. This book sounds just great and can’t wait for it.

  30. Why does it matter if it’s being auctioned as a movie? It’s not like burbaker would auction something off as a movie and then just write a shitty book to cash in. Most of the money would be comming from the movie anyway. This looks pretty rad.

  31. @Neb – I had the same thought. If this takes off, it could be a slippery slope towards the postponement, or shudder to think, end of Criminal. Hopefully I’m just being Chicken Little, but yeah, I can’t help feeling bummed.

  32. Also, they’ve confirmed that the next Criminal story is another Tracy Lawless arc. Which is awesome.

  33. Hmm… maybe I’ll finally be able to jump in on one of these hip, awesome books from the ground floor this time.

  34. this sounds really good!! i love Criminal when I jumped on.