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My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies (Review): Brubaker and Phillips Deliver Another Hit

Updated: Jan 24, 2020


Writer: Ed Brubaker

Artist: Sean Phillips

Colorist: Jacob Phillips

Publisher: Image Comics


If you read this book, chances are that you're already familiar with Brubaker and Phillips' work. If not, then what are you waiting for, go grab every book they've done and relish in the pure enjoyment that these guys bring with every project.

Anybody that knows me, knows that Ed Brubaker is my favorite writer and the team of Brubaker and Phillips are my favorite creative team. Last night I had the privilege of meeting Brubaker at a signing and talking to him about the book and what inspired it. He talked about going to AA/NA meetings with his mom as a young boy being a main inspiration for the book. As a recovering addict myself, who's been sober 6 years, I related to this book in a lot of ways. This

book isn't the usual book you would expect from these guys but don't let that deter you from one of the most honest and unique stories you'll read this year.

On the surface, this book is a love story between Ellie, the main protagonist, and a fellow patient at an upscale rehab. But there's so much more to this story. Ellie has been admitted to rehab but has no desire to get sober, her inner monologue as she talks about her fellow patients was so spot on. I can't tell you how many times I would do the same thing myself while sitting in meetings. She's that person in rehab that's always trying to pull one over on somebody or hustle someone.

What I really loved about the story was learning about Ellie's past. Showing her as a young girl attending these meeting with her mother, who was also a junkie, and witnessing her moms addiction first hand. But after losing her mom to the disease she becomes infatuated with all of these musicians who happened to be heroin addicts as well. While some people may think Brubaker was glorifying addiction, pay closer attention, he's simply showing how influential music and your surroundings can be in your life.

The story takes a turn halfway through, when longtime readers are introduced to a character from the "Criminal" series. It is here that I realized that not everything was as it seemed. I don't want to give away the ending but, this book clearly sets up future stories that are sure to be picked up in the new "Criminal" series launching in January.

Brubaker writes the most human characters I've read in any medium. They are far from perfect and have real consequences. But, it is Sean Phillips that breathes life into these characters and truly gives Brubaker's words life.This is some of Phillips best work and I can't imagine this book without him. The care that is put into each image and characters emotion shines through with each passing page. This book wouldn't be complete with the amazing colors by Jacob Phillips. The contrast between the past and present was done through the brilliant coloring by Phillips, he has bright oranges and blues that pop off the page and are almost dreamlike. I don't know where Ed and Sean have been hiding him but I hope he's gonna be coloring their books for the foreseeable future.

This was the perfect story for their first story in the OGN format. I hope they plan on doing more of these in the future, beautifully packaged in a nice hardcover and printed on non glossy paper stock. This book is just another fantastic book to add to the growing library of Brubaker and Phillips.

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