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Brubaker and Phillips have a very popular book for Image with Fatale and have also collaborated on Incognito, Sleeper, and the Criminal series (which includes Coward and Lawless) for different publishers. Now they will have freedom to do any series they want for the next five years. Image’s press release quotes Brubaker saying “It’s like have an overall deal with a studio, except that we get to greenlight our own projects.” The movie studio analogy seems appropriate because the first new project between Brubaker and Phillips under the new deal is set in the old, studio system Hollywood world. The Fade Out will be a crime story set in the 1940s in Hollywood, involving the murder of a movie actress. The series will begin in summer 2014, following the wrap up of Fatale with issue #24.
Even Brubaker’s and Phillips’ previous project may see new light. Both Coward and Sleeper are currently under development as film adaptations. Although Image Comics has been a destination for creator-owned properties since its inception, this is the first time I can remember a creator (or creators) being given the keys to do whatever they want. The team at Image have reason to trust Brubaker and Phillips, since the duo's projects have been sold well and been praised by fans and critics. Now they know that the team’s work will have the Image imprint on it for at least the next five years.