It's the end of the year, as we know it... 
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From the Desk of Ed Brubaker... 

All right, I've been meaning to get another one of these out all month, but end of year depression set in much harder for me this time around. I won't belabor the point, because we all know 2016 was the worst, and you all probably get at least a few other newsletters that have gone into detail about it. So I won't bother.

From politics to fear of the future to deaths of beloved icons, friends, and pets, this year was hard. And since nothing in life is ever simple, at the same time 2016 was also a good year for me in many ways. WESTWORLD finally came out and got nominated for a bunch of awards. KILL OR BE KILLED was a big hit, as was the hardback edition of THE FADE OUT, and I have a few secret TV projects in various stages. One that you could hear about at any moment. So I'll try and spend this newsletter focusing on the silver linings. I think we'd all prefer that, really.

And as it turns out, one of the last things we did this year was send issue 5 of KILL OR BE KILLED to print. The start of the second arc, which skips ahead a few months as it begins... Here's a preview: 

The new issue is out in mid-January, alongside the trade of the first arc, which is another one of those 10 dollar trades that all the retailers and readers love so much. So be sure to check them both out. 

I thought you might like to see a few behind the scenes things for the new issue, so here's Sean's cover sketch, which ended up being altered a bit by the time he did the final version: 
As you can see, we were briefly toying with changing the logo design for the arc, too, but decided against it. The book is doing really well, so why mess up the brand. Although we did come up with a new idea for these covers, which was inspired by the print Sean did a few months back. 

You can still order that print from Sean, at his Big Cartel store: 

Which, in case you missed it before, looks like this: 
Also starting this issue, we have a new writer joining our back pages, the amazing Kim Morgan, whose work I've been reading for years. You can find her at and in tons of magazines and film festivals, and curating movies on, I believe. 

Kim's first article is about an old Jules Feiffer movie, and Sean did a fantastic illustration for it: 

Anyway, look for the issue in a few weeks, bringing you joy and death in the New Year.
Last month, thanks in part to Westworld, I got a nice feature interview in GQ, which also talked up THE FADE OUT a lot. You can check that out here if you missed it. 
When I was digging through my old files, I found a rare item I thought I'd share. Generally, Sean just sends me the finished art for the back page articles, but for our first article in FATALE, I actually ended up with his layout sketch, as well as the finished piece: 
That's always been one of my favorite back page paintings. I have the poster of it framed, and it's huge. 
If you don't know the deal, this is the part where you send in questions, about whatever you want, and if I pick your question to answer here, then you get a signed GN as a prize. 

To participate, email your questions to: with the subject line QUESTION and ask something good, that hopefully no one has asked before. 

Okay, first up this week is BRYAN R. who asked...

When you initially announced KILL OR BE KILLED you talked about how it would be a "monthly comic" as if that was somehow different from CRIMINAL or THE FADE OUT. Can you explain what you see the difference being? 

Thanks for asking, Bryan, I will try to do that, actually. What I meant at the time, was a serialized "what happens next" kind of story. When I was a kid discovering comics, that's what they were to me, an ongoing unfolding story, told in monthly installments, for better or worse. 

Some months you'd have a fill-in, or some months a side character would take over the book for an issue, but ultimately, something like say, Spider-Man, was always about what it meant to be Peter Parker and Spider-Man. What that did to this poor kid over time. Or to be Batman, or Captain America... I loved coming back to their stories and watching them unfold, through the ups and down, through the bad runs and good. 

So, after a year and a half of writing a highly detailed and complex serialized graphic novel with THE FADE OUT, I felt drawn to the more elastic form of the monthly comic. I wanted to be able to take an issue and just do a done-in-one story from the POV of a supporting character, that still built on the larger whole of the story. I wanted to have cliff-hangers and stakes being constantly raised, sometimes even if I wasn't 100% sure how they'd resolve.  That was one of the great satisfactions of writing DD and CAP at Marvel, letting those stories grow and go in different directions as they unfolded. 

That was one of my underlying thoughts when I started figuring out KILL OR BE KILLED, how could I use the things I liked from serialized monthly comics in a way that made sense in a crime/maybe horror story? Was there a way to use that ongoing soap opera format and still try to push ourselves to try new things, too? 

That's why, if you look at the book's structure from certain angles there are similarities between KILL OR BE KILLED and regular "mainstream" monthly comics. But if you look at it from other angles, it's also structurally similar to TV shows like Breaking Bad. It's that blend of soap and pulp that to me, says "monthly comic" I guess. 

So, that was longwinded. I hope there's an answer in there somewhere. 
Okay, so the next question is a very simple one, from Andrew Gerald...

Favorite Elvis Costello song? 

Which should be easy, but it isn't, because I discovered Elvis when I was like 12, so I have too many favorite songs from him. I'd probably go with either New Amsterdam, from Get Happy, or Hoover Factory which I think is a B-side. There's something mournful about both those songs. But really, give me just about anything from the first decade and I'll listen to it. 
The final question is from Sean "Wolf" Mullen... 

I noticed the Brubaker twitter account has disappeared. I understand completely if you're focused on work and eliminating distractions and hope that is the cause for the removal of the twitter account.

Thanks for inquiring, Sean. I deleted twitter after a lot of thought and waffling, for a few reasons, at least. The biggest one probably being that it's a huge time suck. I'd rather be reading books or writing or going to the movies than scrolling endlessly through a bunch of random thoughts or interjections. The last few years, I've been watching it evolve, and I feel like it's now become more of a nuisance than anything, at least to me. I did get some abuse here or there over the years, but that isn't what drove me away. 

At some point, I realized I don't need to hear what's on everyone's mind all the time, selectively, in 140 character sound bites. I don't think it brings out the best in communicating or understanding, and on some level, it's changed the way people act in their day-to-day lives. I saw it happening to myself, this sense that you're compelled to state an opinion on everything, that you can't just read an article and nod in agreement, you must tweet a link to it, that if someone tweets something you disagree with, you must engage and argue with them -- in 140 character sound bites. And the worst one, that weird pull to constantly look at it -- what are people saying? "What if someone's being an idiot and I'm not there to tell them?" 

Twitter is in large parts an illusion, too. It lets you talk to a dozen people and feel like you're on a soapbox in front of thousands. In all honesty, way more people read this newsletter than ever saw most of the things I tweeted. So, I'd rather spend my time offline as much as possible from now on. And I can tell you, after almost a month without it, I do not miss it at all. 

This newsletter and the email in our comics gives me a way to keep in touch with readers and tell them what we're up to, and like I said, more people read this. (Although now there's a billion newsletters, so I'm going to have to start keeping these shorter, I'm thinking). 

Oh, and if you know someone you think would like to be on this mailing list, you can send them this link to sign up:

Anyway, that's it for this time out. If your question was picked, please email us at with your mailing address and the subject line WINNER. 

I hope you all have a happy new year and that 2017 somehow manages to be a great year. Who knows? Maybe aliens will arrive from space to save us all? 
Copyright © 2016 Basement Gang Inc., All rights reserved.

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