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Comics and Graphic Novels

| COMICS | GRAPHIC NOVELS & COLLECTIONS | WORTH LOOKING FOR |



COMICS (Current & On-Going)

Can't get enough of Mikael Blomkvist & Lisbeth Salander? Dig into this second graphic adaptation, a decidedly different but equally potent take than the Mina/Mutti/Manco version done for DC/Vertigo a few years ago. Frst published in French via Editions Dupuis back in 2013, that ultimately collected all three of Larsson's original novels in six graphic volumes. Hopefully, Titan/Hard Case Crime, who are now serializing the first novel in English (with a collection slotted for November) and are quickly becoming a major player in the crime comics racket, will eventually release Runberg and Homs' adaptations of the other two novels. (July 2017; mini-series)

  • Clue

The world's most famous mystery board game has spawned generations of spin-offs and knock-offs, and even a goofy-but-fun Hollywood film, so it was only a matter of time before it became a comic book. Fortunately IDW does the beloved game right, expanding the Clue universe to include even more suspects (Dr. Orchid? Detective Ochre?), tweaking a few old favourites (Miss Scarlett is now a performance artist from Down Under, Mrs. White is now a U.S. senator), and having Upton, the Butler/narrator frequently break the fourth wall with pithy asides. As he pointedly reminds us, These people, gathered together one fateful night, "don't know they're in a comic book." And just to sweeten the pot (and possibly drive up variant sales) each comic will come with one of three extra clues, and the five-issue series will wrap up with three alternate endings. (June 2017; mini-series)

Yet another original, limited series, featuring Jim Butcher's stressed out wizard P.I., this time out in the Texas boonies looking into a string of grisly murders. The client? A senior member of the White Council of Wizards. (Jume 2017, mini-series)

Holy crap! The new limited series comic from crime sisters Megan (Dare Me, You Will know Me, etc.) Abbott & Alison (Brenna Spector) Gaylin, published by HardCaseCrime, is NOT what I expected. Washington state sheriff Normany Gold comes out of the woods and goes undercover (way, way undercover) to track down her missing kid sister in the Big City. (June 2017; mini-series)

A whole new era begins, with a new smonthly eries from Marvel featuring the bulletproof private eye, scripted by David F. Walker, the man behind the recent Shaft comics. Not sure how much private eying he'd actually do, or how it will tie in with the recently revamped Jessica Jones book, but with Blaxploitation expert Walker on board I was definitely expecting some street level grit to be involved. (May 2017; monthly)

A supposedly hard-boiled take on the perennial kids' reads, as they return to their pulpy roots (well, sorta). Nancy femme fatales it up a little (Ooh! Stilettos!), as she travels to Bayport to clear the boys of the murder of their father, world famous detective Fenton Hardy. It's being billed as "a twisting, hard-boiled tale, complete with double-crosses, deceit and dames..." and promises to "bring the iconic teen detectives into the modern age, and redefine noir for a new generation of readers!" We'll see... but in the meantime, it's fun to spot the other Stratemeyer kids who pop in for cameos. (March 2017; mini-series)

Aaarrrggghhh. More anthropomorphy. This time it's a giraffe private eye, in a world of gangster hippos, porn-dealing leopards, stoned monkeys, wildebeast thugs and paranoid zebras. (and why not? In this world, they're near the bottom of the food chain). (February 2017; mini-series)

A new monthly! No, not that Hawkeye, the arrow-slinging one whom we've known since the sixties, as played by Jeremy Renner in the endless glut of Marvel movies currently clogging our cinematic arteries. This is the new Hawkeye we're talking about: Kate Bishop, the spunky, "adorable archer" who'll be working the mean streets, back alleys and Coppertone-reeking, sand-coated promenades of Venice Beach in Los Angeles, trying to make a go of it as a private eye/superhero. We'll see... (December 2016; monthly)

The third and latest mini-series from IDW adapts Douglas Adams' final, incomplete novel, featuring the affablly annoying British holistic private eye. (October 2016; monthly)

Following the success of last year's gritty, street-level TV series revolving around Marvel superhero-turned-Manhattan P.I., the comic book publisher has announced a new series from original creators Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos. Whether the new series will return Jessica to her rough-edged roots (YES!), or follow current Marvel continuity which last saw her cast as pretty much just another spandex-bedecked member of the New Avengers (meh) remains to be seen. (October 2016; monthly)

  • Kill or Be Killed

Not to be outdone, Image Comics has just launched a new monthly: the latest from the Eisner-winning team of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips. It's a deliberately pulpy, hard-boiled tale of a shy young NYU grad student who must kill at least one person a month... or else! Dark, violent and thoughtful are the buzzwords. We'll see... (starts October 2016; monthly)

GRAPHIC NOVELS & COLLECTIONS



The world's most famous mystery board game has spawned generations of spin-offs and knock-offs, and even a goofy-but-fun Hollywood film, so it was only a matter of time before it became a comic book. Fortunately IDW does the beloved game right, expanding the Clue universe to include even more suspects (Dr. Orchid? Detective Ochre?), tweaking a few old favourites (Miss Scarlett is now a performance artist from Down Under, Mrs. White is now a U.S. senator), and having Upton, the Butler/narrator frequently break the fourth wall with pithy asides. As he pointedly reminds us, These people, gathered together one fateful night, "don't know they're in a comic book." And just to sweeten the pot (and possibly drive up variant sales) each episode of the comic in its original run came with one of three extra clues, and the series, collected here in graphic novel form) wrapped up with three alternate endings. (March 2018)

The tag team of Ed Brubaker (words) and Sean Phillips (pictures) have provided us with arguably the greatest extended series of crime comics ever with Criminal. The series follows a loosely connected gang of pickpockets, deserters, hitmen, thieves, thugs, cons, ex-cons, victims and innocent bystanders. Each of the six story arcs were initially released as monthly comic books, but you don't have to hang with the fan boys to score the whole collection -- you can find out what all the excitement's about with these two oversized, deluxe hardback graphic novel editions that collect every episode of the Eisner and Harvey-winning series. Both volumes come jam-packed with bonus goodies, including short stories, behind-the-scenes pieces, art and articles. Witty, hard, and heart-breaking at times, this is true noir for smart people.

Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys return to their pulpy roots (well, sorta). Definitely non-canon-- but it should appeal to anyone whoever learned to love crime fiction by reading the original books as kids. Nancy femme fatales it up (just a little), as she travels to Bayport to clear constantly squabbling sibs Frank and Joe of the murder of their father, world famous detective Fenton Hardy. This defiant but affectionate reimagining's been billed as "a twisting, hard-boiled tale, complete with double-crosses, deceit and dames," and there are certainly a few moments that'll spin the heads of traditionalists, but basically, it's a lot of fun, and sharp-eyed readers should enjoy spotting the other Stratemeyer Syndicate kids who pop up in cameos. (November 2017)

A twenty-something French kid fantasizes about being a hard-boiled dick, just like in the books he translates. Only problem? He's more Will Ferrell than Humphrey Bogart. The long-awaited English translation of the extremely popular French BD. (September 2017)

John Arcudi, creator of The Creep, returns to crime with this graphic novel which collects all five parts of the steel-clawed mini-series from Dark Horse. Hardass Detective Linda Caruso of The Jail Crimes Division of the Mariposa County Sheriff's Office, investigates crimes committed inside county jails. Or at least tries too. Illustrated by Veil artist Toni Fejzula. (August 2017)

Gabe Soria's noirish graphic novel valentine to American roots music follows damned and doomed record company owner Nate Theodore as he tries to shake the hellhounds (and creditors) on his tail, only to discover Donny and Marvell Fontweathers, two talented young African-American brothers whose dark, violent country blues may just be his salvation -- or maybe not. To finance a new record by the two gifted sibling, the three of them decide to go on a crime spree. The stark, moody art by Paul Reinwand and Chris Hunt slides on by easy, and the accompanying blues music by bluesman Robert Finley and The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach, all grit and hurt, brings it on home. (July 2017)

Fantagraphics translates and reprints another couple of adventures featuring BD superstar Belgian private eye Gil Jourdan. In"Ten Thousand Years in Hell" there's a South american prison break, and in "Boom or Bust" a drive in the country takes a wrong turn. Rest assured, though -- plenty of cars will be wrecked and bad guys will be chased. (July 2017)

A gorgeous re-issue of French comic legend Jacques Tardi's adaptation of Leo Malét's classic detective novel Brouillard au pont de Tolbiac, in noir-ready black and white. It's 1955, and Parisian private eye Nestor Burma is hot on the trail of the killer of an old friend from his anarchist days. In English. (July 2017)

Duane Swierczynski revamping of the old vigilante hero from the 1940s from Archie Comics' Dark Circle imprint loses some of the whiz bang, but ups the grit, the soul and the violence. This one collects the first big arc. (July 2017)

For over fifty years in the funny pages, girls made passes at this P.I. with glasses. Volume 10 collects the strips from 1970-73, originally created by Alex Raymond and continued by Fred Dickenson and John Prentice. (July 2017)

Sleaze alert! Deliciously tawdry and co-scripted by long-time friends of this site, Christa Faust and Gary Phillips, this graphic novel collects the entire run of the Hard Case Crime comic series, as peepbooth worker Roxy Bell and her punk rocker pal Nick Zero find themselves on the run from the Mob and crooked cops. It's billed as "a semi-autobiographical neo-noir mini-series with a punk edge, set in the seedy Times Square peep booths of 1980s New York City." Soap not included. (July 2017)

The first of two volumes from IDW that will collect -- at long last -- all of Alack Sinner's classic adventures by argentinian ex-pats Carlos Sampayo and Jodee Munoz, arranged in chronological order in English for the first time. You want down and dirty NYC from the seventies and eighties when the maggots had begun to devour the Big Apple? This is it! Classic P.I. comic stuff! (June 2017)

Gloves off, bench-clearing noir. Not a private eye book, but Canadian Jeff Lemire's one-off graphic novel about a former NHL player Derek Ouelette and his estranged sister who's fleeing an abusive boyfriend is just primo hard-boiled storytelling. (April 2017)

Collects the first four issues of the latest series from the Eisner-winning team of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips. It's a deliberately pulpy, hard-boiled tale of a shy young NYU grad student who must kill at least one person a month... or else. Dark, violent and surprisingly philosophical are the buzzwords. (January 2017)

STILL WORTH LOOKING FOR

  • The Assignment

Still reeling from Hard Case Crime two-fisted venture into comics? Brace yourself, because they're releasing another left hook, right into the solar plexus of spandex complacency. The Assignment is a three-parter penned by legendary screenwriter and film director Walter Hill and French writer Matz, with art by Jef that's sure to rock a few boats. It follows a hitman who undergoes gender reassignment. Very trendy, very au courant. Except... it wasn't his idea. (January 2017; mini-series)

It's been way too long since we've had a visit from B. Clay Moore's slacker Hawaiian P.I. Byrd but he's back, in a brand new mini-series! (April 2016)

Rounds up the first two stand-alone series, "The Interconnectedness of All Kings," and "A Spoon Too Short." Plus a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the BBC America show. (October 2016)

Cartoonist Gendy (Dexter's Laboratory, Samurai Jack) Tartakovsky's riffs hilariously on Marvel's original Shaft-like badass, ignoring his current gritty street-level Netflix vibe or Marvel's current Avengers continuity in this 4-issue mini-series, and playing it all for slapstick laughs, zeroing in on his over-the-top seventies superhero roots, reviving his original yellow disco shirt and tiara outfit, and pitting the brother with bulletproof skin against some of the goofiest foes around. Not sure if it's spoof or satire, but it sure is fun. (October 2016)

Paperback edition of final graphic novel adaptation of Steig Larsson's bestselling Millennium Trilogy by British crime novelist Denise Mina and illustrators Antonio Fuso and Andrea Mutti. (October 2016)

If you're not really into the superhero thing, but want to know what happened to Jessica after Alias and The Pulse, but before her return to her own title, this collection hits all the key points, including her spandex days in the Avengers and her ongoing relationship with Luke Cage, raising their daughter, working their first case together and their breakup. (September 2016)

The super duper deluxe edition by Eisner-winning Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, collecting the entire run collects the entire run of the acclaimed series; a primo slice of Hollywood noir set in the 1940s. (October 2016)

Ace Atkins' blues-lovin' college prof/amateur sleuth who thinks he's Spenser lays it down in the first of a proposed series of graphic novel adventures! (May 2016)

More Crime Comics! Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips returns to Criminal, their award-winning anthology series, with a one-off 10th Anniversary Special. There's a standard edition, but the limited edition, over-sized special with the kung-fu werewolf on the cover (don't ask!) is the one to get. If you can find it. Also includes articles, illustrations, and behind-the-scenes extras. (April 2016)

Award-winning screenwriter David Fincher and acclaimed comic writer Matz team up with artist Miles Hyman to bring the James Ellroy classic crime novel to comics. Moody, violent, and disturbing. Still. (June 2016)

Hard Case Crime's first stab at the comic book jungle gets the graphic novel treatment, collecting the entire run of Triggerman, written by legendary screenwriter and film director Walter Hill and French writer Matz, with art by Jef, revolving around Roy Nash, a Prohibition-era gangster trying to set the world right. (June 2016)

The longest-running modern adventure strip ever! Starring suave, debonair private eye Rip Kiby, created by comics legend Alex Raymond and continued by Fred Dickenson and John Prentice in this handsome volume, which collects the strips from 1970-73. (October 2016)

Exactly what it says. A collection of stories featuring the Dark Knight, scripted by one of the all-time great crime writers working the comic book vein. It was Brubaker's first step up to the majors, and what a step. Batman! Collects Batman #582-586, #591-597 and Batman: Our Worlds at War. (February 2016)

Dynamite Comics unleashes its second mini-series featuring the cat who won't cop out when there's danger all about. This one's sure to press a few buttons, as our man wades into the gay community, looking for a lost boy. (February 2016)

A dark, bittersweet, nostalgic romp from writer Matthew Rosenberg and artist Tyler Boss; imagine Reservoir Dogs if Steven Spielberg had directed it. Eleven-year old page and three pals decide to pull off a bank heist to get her dad out of a jam. A four-issue mini-series. (January 2016)

Hard to believe he originally gave this away for free on the web! Superstar comic writer Brian Vaughan's ambitious, cinematic mish-mash of P.I. and sci-fi pays off in spades, and now all ten books are collected in one handsome hardccover volume. (December 2015)

This graphic novel rounds up the complete recent Dynamite mini-series by David F. Walker, as well as scripts pages, concept art, variant covers and more. (November 2015)

Chris Mill and Rick Burtchett's raw-knuckled, loving tribute to Richard Stark's Parker and Lee Marvin, finally collected in print. Collects both The Scavengers and The Predators miniseries. If these stories were any more hard-boiled, you might spit out a tooth.

Second collection of sprawling noir saga by Ed Brubaker (words) and Sean Phillips (art) set in 1948 Hollywood (pretty much noir ground zero), revolving around blacklisted writers, doomed starlets, closeted matinee idols, blackmailers, possibly insane studio heads and, oh yes, the publicity flacks and guns-for-hire who try to keep a lid on it all. To no avail, of course -- this is like lifting the Hollywood sign up, just to see what's squirming around under there... (October 2015)

Obligatory reprint and repackaging of the complete run of Brian Michael Bendis' groundbreaking Alias, which introduced troubled down-and-out former superhero turned New York gumshoe Jessica Jones to the Marvel universe. the perfect tie-in to the new Netflix series. (September 2015).

British crime novelist Denise Mina and illustrators Antonio Fuso and Andrea Mutti wrap up Steig Larsson's bestselling Millennium Trilogy, and boy do they kick ass. (July 2015)

Reprints the classic detective strips from January 22, 1934 through October 31, 1936, including the entire run by co-creators Dashiell Hammett and Alex Raymond strips, Also featuring subsequent stories by Raymond and Leslie (The Saint) Charteris, as well as the Charteris stories drawn by Charles Flanders. (May 2015)

Greg Rucka's rough tough Portland private eye Dex Parios looks into the murder of a local soccer star, with the reluctant aid of a Seattle cop, in this five-parter. (April 2015)

ALSO OF INTEREST

Sub-titled "Awesome Female Characters from Comic Book history," this amazing volume by hope Nicholson traces the evolution -- and sometimes the de-evolution -- of female characters in Canadian and American comic book history, giving us the scoop on superheroes, detectives, nurses, Lois Lane and even Wendy, the Good Little Witch. Among the female P.I.s covered are Sally the Sleuth, A.Y. Jalisco, Ms. Tree and Dakota North. Sharp where it needs to be, and smart all the way through, this is just a fascinating romp through comic book history. (May 2017)

This hefty brick of a paperback, edited by Paul Gravett, is like a warning tossed through the plate glass window complacency of all those skinny, over-priced little graphic "novels" that offer a lot of overblown pretentious artwork and precious little actual plot. You want story? This collections offers a virtual who's who tour of crime comics from the forties to the present, offering samples of everything from Will Eisner's The Spirit to Collins' and Beatty's . The earliest selection is a dry run of Spillane's ("Mike Lancer and the Syndicate of Death" from 1942) and winds its way to the present, offering mostly complete stories (or story arcs, in the case of strips) of such familiar classics as Dashiell Hammett and Alex Ross' . Sure, even clocking in at close to 500 pages, there are some glaring omissions (No Dick Tracy? No ? No or ?), but the spattering of off-beat choices and outright rarities they offer instead (a tale from 1962, a 1975 vignette, a 1948 Simon-Kirby short) more than make up for it. I'm a crime comic geek, but there are enough lost treasures here to satisfy even grumpy nitpickers like me, and the unflinching noirsih sophistication offered here by some of the European entries wil be a knock upside the head for American fanboys who think the cartoonish Sin City is the be-all and end-all of crime comics. Please, please, please may this be an annual collection. (August 2008)

This 2006 title, by Christopher Hart, claims to give you the skinny on how to draw for "crime noir," which he proclaims the "hottest style around". And he does talk a good game, I admit -- he mentions "windswept streets, dark shadowy figures, reckless women, gleaming pistols, men without conscience, boulevards of fear," blah blah blah and he even namedrops Chandler at one point. But mostly he reduces the genre to a series of visual cliches, and then tells you how to render them.. He does offer some interesting and useful drawing tips, though (providing you can alreadydraw relatively well). It's when he expounds on the genre itself that he gets into trouble, and joins the long line of people (directors, critics, popcorn chewers, etc.) who wouldn't know noir if it bitchslapped them across the face.



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