Monday, November 16, 2009

A Survey of Modern Crime Comics

My favorite comic of the past few years has been Ed Brubaker/Sean Phillips CRIMINAL series, Brubaker has been a big influence on my reading habits (I first started reading Ross MacDonald way back when he mentioned him in his TCJ interview) by mentioning current and classic crime authors in the back pages of this series. Anybody wanting to try something besides a mainstream superhero or an alternative graphic novel couldn't do any better than trying this straight-up crime comic with well-defined characters on the wrong side of the law in a noir-heavy world.

CRIMINAL is, in my opinion, the best crime comic published currently, but searching the internet and turned up a lot more crime/noir titles from the past few years by some well-known to unknown creators.

B.C. (Before CRIMINAL) the most well-regarded crime comic was probably Paul Grist's KANE comic book series (recently seen in NOIR: A CRIME COMICS ANTHOLOGY). Guido Weisshahn has a thorough fan website on Paul Grist, in general, and KANE in particular. He has a complete bibliography of the series and an online sample of the comic.

Christopher Mills has numerous crime-comics-related websites including many with his own creations, FEMME NOIR and GRAVEDIGGER: reviews of crime/mystery comics, books etc. by Mills focused on Christopher Mills writing projects character site for Mills's character with online comics samples previews of and influences on Mills and Rick Burchett's hardboiled "Gravedigger" graphic novels

Michael Lorah interviews Rick Geary on his newest book (FAMOUS PLAYERS: THE MYSTERIOUS DEATH OF WILLIAM DESMOND TAYLOR. NBM, 2009) and the history of his true crime graphic novels.

Here is a link to another interview with Rick Geary on his true crime graphic novels that originally appeared in the magazine CRIMESPREE 32.

Boom Studios, well known for their new Disney/Pixar line of children's comics, has also put a lot of effort into more adult-oriented series/graphic novels including a lot of crime-style books:

  • 10 (2005) Keith Giffen/Andy Kuhn large-sized one-shot
  • HUNTERS MOON 1-5 (2007) James L. White/Dalibor Talajic+Sebastian Cardoso
  • LEFT ON A MISSION 1-5 (2007) Chip Mosher/Francisco Francavilla
  • POTTERS FIELD 1-3 (2007) Mark Waid/Paul Azaceta preview
  • 2 GUNS 1-5 (2007) Steven Grant/Mataes
  • HIGH ROLLERS 1-4 (2008) Gary Phillips (HIGH HAND, BANGERS)/Manoel Magalhaes
  • POTTERS FIELD: STONE COLD (2009) Mark Waid/Paul Asaceta [sequel]
  • UNKNOWN 1-4 (2009) Mark Waid/Minck Oosterveer
  • UNKNOWN: DEVIL MAD FLESH 1-4 (2009) Mark Waid/Minck Oosterveer
  • UNTHINKABLE 1-5 (2009) Mark Sable/Julian Totino Tedesco

Another mainstream publisher who has a crime-line is Joe Gentile's Moonstone, it's called Moonstone Noir consisting of original crime stories and licensed (or public domain) characters. Look here for individual titles with preview pages, prices, and more information:

  • BLACKSHIRT Adi Tantimedh/Diego Olmos
  • BOSTON BLACKIE Stefan Petrucha/Kirk Van Wormer
  • BULLDOG DRUMMOND William Messner-Loebs/Brett Barkley
  • HAT SQUAD Jay Faerber/Eric Yonge review
  • JACK HAGEE CJ Henderson/Richard Clark
  • JOHNNY DOLLAR David Gallagher/Eric Theriault preview
  • LONE WOLF Dan Jolley+Marie Croall/Terry Pallot+Corey Greene
  • MISTER KEEN: THE TRACER Justin Gray/Lee Ferguson
  • MR. MOTO Rafael Nieves/Tim Hamilton
  • MYSTERIOUS TRAVELER Joe Gentile/Trevor Von Eeden
  • PAT NOVAK Steven Grant/Tom Mandrake

    Vincent Danks and Roger Gibson's HARKER series is profiled here.
  • Erik Skillman's EGG: HARDBOILED STORIES 1, can be linked to through his website, following the link takes you to a sale page on someplace called "Indy Planet" with synopses, artists credits, and sample pages.

Michael H. Price's SOUTHERN FRIED HOMICIDE can be found here.

Joshua Williams and Alejandro of OVERLOOK 1-3 are interviewed here with preview pages of series.

The above images are used for non-profit purposes only:

HIGH ROLLERS 2 cover by Brett Weldele (c) 2009 respective copyright holder

PAT NOVAK FOR HIRE cover by Tom Mandrake (c)2009 respective copyright holder

Please remember this is not a qualitative review, none of these titles is necessarily recommended by this site. (Although I will be checking out the Steven Grant books, the Gravedigger graphic novel, and always enjoy Rick Geary's work.)

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