Writer Ed Brubaker and artist Sean Phillips with a one-shot hardcover graphic novel: My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies. Fans of this duo’s phenomenal work could almost be thrown by the creamy pastel colored cover, and even the interior work is in a lighter palette than you’d expect…in fact, the story, as it opens, seems like a puzzler for this team. Will it be some sort of ‘rehab romance’? Two troubled recovering young addicts form an awkward friendship and then something more, all grim but sweet at the same time, as only Brubaker could write it. But of course, there’s much more to it than just a bittersweet romance, suddenly racing towards an unexpected resolution (though once you’re done, of course you feel that you should have seen it coming all along).
My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies technically is a spin-off of Brubaker & Phillip’s incredible Criminal series, though I didn’t even realize that when I read it, only clarifying the connection when I read the back-of-book notes in the latest January 2019 issue of Criminal #1. But there’s no need to be familiar with the Criminal milieu to enjoy this excellent graphic novel.