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My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  2,859 ratings  ·  319 reviews
The first original graphic novel from the bestselling creators of CRIMINAL, KILL OR BE KILLED, THE FADE OUT and FATALE.

Teenage Ellie has always had romantic ideas about drug addicts, those tragic artistic souls drawn to needles and pills have been an obsession since the death of her junkie mother ten years ago. But when Ellie lands in an upscale rehab clinic where nothing
Hardcover, 72 pages
Published October 10th 2018 by Image Comics
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Average rating 3.58  · 
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Sam Quixote
Oct 05, 2018 rated it it was ok
Two junkies in rehab fall in love and get back into the habit. But one of them isn’t who they say they are…

My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies, a “novella”, is the first book in Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’ Criminal series, and their first collaboration in a long time, that I didn’t think much of. The story is a bit too one-note and unexciting: two young junkies sneaking around rehab while the girl recounts the artists she idolises who had drug problems like Billie Holiday, Gram Parsons and Va
David Schaafsma
Oct 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“I was much too far out all my life
And not waving but drowning”—Stevie Smith

My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies (Jeopardy: Related titles for 100? Cowboys are my Weakness, by Pam Houston; Cowboy Junkies) is yet another Brubaker-Phillips collaborative exploration into the Criminal universe, with thematic links to the Kill or Be Killed series, which is to say there are some direct links to Criminal, and what I think are thematic links to Kill. It’s a kind of set up for the continuation of the seri
Chaunceton Bird
Oct 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: noir-narcotics
Like all great noir, this story is devastating. Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips's return to the Criminal universe is thoughtful and restrained. My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies is original, nuanced, and right at home with other works from these creators. Familiar themes of drugs, crime (duh), and hopelessness are present, along with new insights into the collateral damage from the Criminal universe.

This book is short—it took me less than 45 minutes to read, and I took it in at a leisurely pace.
Oct 05, 2018 rated it did not like it
Like most everybody who reads comics, I am a fan of the Brubaker/Phillips creative duo. So I am really sad to say that their new comic novella, My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies, is pretty bad.

The story is about a girl who is placed in a rehab clinic against her will. There she meets a cute guy and everything goes bad very soon afterwards. The main thing of this book is that the girl is a huge fan of drug addicts, mostly musicians. The entire book is accompanied by her narration where she tells
James DeSantis
Oct 11, 2018 rated it liked it
When I picked this up I was pretty excited, so I can't help but feel a bit let down. Thankfully though, this duo still delivers a solid story just not one I hoped for.

This is a story of a woman who's in rehab. Right away she begins to link herself to old musicians and their drug habits. Then she tricks a man into falling in love with her. Sad part is she is actually falling for him as well. By the end you'd think this runaway couple might be together forever but the whole time you know the sini
The latest from Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips is a short graphic novella about a young woman at a rehab clinic that is fascinated by drug addicts and forms a destructive relationship with another patient. It's a bit forgettable and I'd call it lightweight Brubaker/Phillips. But it does connect heavily to his old Criminal series (and maybe its upcoming reboot?) in ways that I won't spoil. Not this team's best, but read it if you're a big fan like me.
Paul E. Morph
Jan 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Heart rending story, great semi-minimalist line art and colour art that’s undeniably ugly but is the closest visual representation of what the world looks like when you’re on morphine I’ve ever seen.

Don’t do drugs, mmmkay?
Oct 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
When it comes to graphic novels, Brubaker and Phillips are the dudes. My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies is a bit brighter, more colorful than their other work, but there's a grittiness and a darkness swimming under the surface ready to break out at any time. Rehab, drugs, fantasies about the creative folks who achieved success and imagination with drugs, sneaking around, breaking in. Real well written. This is just the start of this series.
L. McCoy
So I was going to wait a little before reading this, as in I was gonna read it because this creative team is fantastic but was not in as much of a hurry… then I heard it ties in with Criminal. Had to read it ASAP then.

What’s it about?
There’s a girl named Ellie who is a junkie. She is obsessed with famous people and their drug use. All the people she admires… junkies. Well, she’s being forced to go to rehab and she thinks it’s all bullshit. She thinks that her drug problem isn’t a problem. She’s
Stewart Tame
Nov 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
How did crime comics even exist before Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips came along? I know there were some--I was particularly fond of Collins’ and Beatty’s Ms. Tree among others-- but Brubaker and Phillips have been so ridiculously successful in the genre that modern readers can be pardoned for thinking they invented it. Suffice to say that I look forward to everything they do.

We first meet Ellie on the beach. It's a brief scene, but it serves to introduce us to one of our central themes: her obse
Feb 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novels, 2020
Read Feb 19. 2020

Wow. This was not at all what I expected! What a surprise! But damn was it good. I of course noticed that this had won the Will Eisner award, & that’s actually what caused me to pick this one up, and I saw the glowing review blurbs on the back but I still wasn’t expecting this to be so good.

I think I expected some commentary on drug addiction and sobriety, possibly even going into the psychology behind it all, but it really was the polar opposite of that. If anything, it almost
Rod Brown
Feb 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Brubaker makes a pretty standard crime story a little more interesting by having the lead character be a young woman who processes her messed up childhood as the daughter of a drug addict by idolizing musicians and singers who seemed to find greater creativity through their drug experimentation and addictions.
Elizabeth A
Mar 10, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: graphix, 2019, novella
Book blurb: A coming-of-age story, a pop and drug culture-fueled tale of a young girl seeking darkness — and what she finds there.

Ellie's an older teen whose junkie mother died, and ever since then she's been fascinated by the lives of artistic drug addicts. She knows them all. She knows their music, their words, their drug of choice, and when and how they died. Unsurprisingly she ends up in rehab - a very upscale one - and she's cynical and not into the whole thing, though she does fancy this c
Scott Rhee
Dec 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Like noir? Like comic books? Tired of boring old superhero comics? Try the writing team of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips. Nine out of ten doctors recommend Brubaker/Phillips as an important part of one’s graphic novel literary diet.

High in cynicism but without all the unsettling side effects, Brubaker/Phillips’s comics are riveting, suspenseful, and smart.

From the makers of “Fatale”, “My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies” follows the tragic tale of a girl named Ellie, who is just starting out in
Oct 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime, image
Always enjoy a dip into Phillips and Brubakers Criminal-verse, and this novella is a good addition to that world.
Oct 13, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5* Brubaker and Phillips have created a solid entry into their collection. Its a little more drama than crime noir. A simple love story set around a rehab centre with a twist. The art is perfect, really one of my fave artists doing what they do best. Thr story is a little short and too simple. Definitely dont go into this expecting action or crime like their previous novels.
Kyle Berk
Oct 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2018
My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies is a small hardcover comic from the pairing of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips.Who do really good stuff and this is also really good. It's well put together drawn really well except for some faces which I think look off.

Color is a big thing here and it looks really good. Flashbacks are desaturated and play with the shadows really well. When in present day daytime hours it plays with purples, pinks, green, and yellows. During the night it uses the blues, blacks w
This wasn't as bad as I thought based on reviews I've seen on here. I liked the bit about it makes you question if drugs are fully bad or not. It points out how some artiest created their best work on drugs and when off drugs their work wasn't as good. For artiest reason I can see why someone would defend drugs. I have no idea if Brubaker takes drugs or not, I'm assuming h doesn't, but I liked the fact you couldn't hear his opinion on the matter, he left it to the reader.

I didn't like this becau
Dec 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
An unrepentant junkie in rehab ruminates on the benefits of drug addiction and the artistic achievements of drug abusers. Until late in the book when we finally learn that she does in fact have an agenda.

Despite being an explicit addition to the Brubaker/Phillips Criminal universe, it reads more like a memoir than a noir. The pink/yellow/pale blue color scheme recalls the golden age of hippie stoner culture more than it does the book's shadowy, pessimistic crime genre parentage. For me this was
Nov 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Nice to see they can reenter the world years later without missing a beat.
Peter Looles
Dec 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-comics
Two people, Ellie and Skip meet at rehab and they fall in love. Together, when the night falls and the lights are out, they snick out, to the rehab center's garden and they smoke. One time they are caught smoking pot. They know that consequences are going to be huge and they decide to escape. Everything after that is a spoiler. The writing is remarkable. It's the second Ed Brubaker's comic that I read and I can say with no doubt that the guy is one of the greatest comic writers of all time. The ...more
Aug 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Only a 30min read but it knocks your socks off!
Story seemed a bit average, except for some excellent song references and then comes the unexpected twist!
Beautiful graphics enhance the story. Might have to pick up others of Ed Brubaker's Criminals series.
Rory Wilding
Oct 09, 2018 rated it it was ok
If you look at the entire bibliography from Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips published under Image, from Fatale to Kill or Be Killed, they are stories within the crime fiction genre about ordinary people who find themselves stepping into the wrong side of the law and, in the process, losing their soul. Although the two creators do manage to find different angles toward the same premise, it depends on the execution if it rises or falls, whether it’s The Fade Out or their latest graphic novel, My Her ...more
Nov 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is so god damn good I wanted to read it again the instant I finished it the first time! It's short, so I can't say much without spoiling things, but despite the bright cover and the vibrant palette inside, this book is so wonderfully dark. It's perfect!
Dec 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow. I truly adored this. Short though it may be, Brubaker and Phillips still manage to tell a real gut-punch of story, while also doing a fantastic job talking about addiction in a completely non-patronizing way. And while this is billed as a "Criminal novella," it really barely matters at all that this is technically set within the greater Criminal universe. It's just a fantastic character study of a young woman who has always idolized artists who did most of their best work high.

Also, I reall
Mar 23, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: comics-fiction
The story alternates between current events that have a mysterious layer only revealed at the very end and the main character's youth when she gained her appreciation of some of the greatest people, mostly artists, of the 20th century who were all drug addicts. It shows the lengths some people have to go to in order to help their loved ones who have fallen on bad times. The story is too short to really get into it, but the twist at the end is unexpected.

Ellie is a young woman forced by her famil
Mar 28, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: comics, crime
Well written and illustrated but somewhat boring. Saved by a decent ending.

I never felt anything for the 2 main characters- I'm afraid I don't have much empathy for junkies. Ellie is way more developped than average but her weird fixation over drud-addicted artists, though interesting at first, gets old after a while, just like too many flashbacks going really nowhere.

The end is predictable early on, by Ellie's own admission, but the one thing that saved the book in my eyes is the why. Tying the
destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]

I don't really know what I expected from this, but what I got was a cross between a mystery and a very bland slice-of-life story about two teens/young adults who run away from rehab and try to make it on their own. There's a twist ending that I didn't really see coming, but at the same time, I just couldn't attach to the story enough to be invested or surprised. I also really was not a fan of the art style.
Randy Lander
Oct 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
A quieter outing from this team of comic masters, more reminiscent of earlier Brubaker like The Fall than the longer term work they’ve been doing. Beautiful as always, although the change in coloring took some getting used to, and thoroughly engaging, reminding me oddly of David Lapham’s Stray Bullets.

Don’t miss the sneaky Criminal tie in at the end.
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Ed Brubaker (born November 17, 1966) is an Eisner Award-winning American cartoonist and writer. He was born at the National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland.

Brubaker is best known for his work as a comic book writer on such titles as Batman, Daredevil, Captain America, Iron Fist, Catwoman, Gotham Central and Uncanny X-Men. In more recent years, he has focused solely on creator-owned titles

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