Gotham City: Year One| Kindle/ComiXology it! This promising mini-series, set two generations before Bruce Wayne’s birth, stars Slam Bradley, the hardest-working private eye in the DC universe, who’s hired by to investigate the high profile abduction of infant Helen Wayne, the so-called “Princess of Gotham”—a crime which is already being dubbed the “kidnapping of the century.” It’s a noirish, brooding tale, all dark shadows and family secrets, with nods (so far) to the notorious Lindbergh kidnapping and Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon.(October 2022)
The Variants| Kindle/ComiXology it! SHE’S BACK! Jessica Jones, the super-powered, super-troubled private dick returns in a suitably gritty series scripted by Gail Simone and drawn by Phil Noto that just feels all kind of right. Sure, the spandex crowd are all over the place, but each issue bills it as a “A Jessica Jones Mystery,” promising a real return-to-roots. (Begins June 2022).
Hit Me | Kindle/ComiXology it! Bad grrrl noirista and fashion plate Christa Faust is at it again, this time with a new mini-series revolving around Lulu, an Atlantic City sex worker who gets paid by the bruise. But when the Masochistic Madame witnesses a mob hit, she has to take it on the lam. Art by Priscilla Petraites. (Begins March 2022).
Angel Just like Buffy, the adventures of her vampire P.I. pal Angel have continued in a seemingly endless string of comic book limited series from various publishers, many written (or at least approved of) by Joss Whedon and therefore considered canonical. But not all of them. Like this latest 8-issue series from Boom! Studios, which has has our favourite bloodsucker reimagined as a celebrity sleuth with his own reality show, Angel for Hire, although of course it’s just a front for his real job: hunting down assorted monsters for Angel Investigations.(January 2022)
The Human Target Christopher Chance, the Human Target, is back! And as if bodyguarding Lex Luthor isn’t enough, now he has to solve a murder–his own! It’s a neat and clever spin on the old film noir classic, DOA by writer Tom King, with tone-perfect art by Greg Smallwood.
Newburn Finally! An honest-to-goodness regular series starring an honest-to-goodness hard-boiled private eye! And what an eye! Ex-cop Easton Newsom has some very special clients–he’s the official investigator for organized crime in NYC, cleaning up the messes and (hopefully) keeping the peace. Written by Chip Zdarsky, with amazing art by Jacob Phillips. (Series starts November 2021).
GRAPHIC NOVELS & COLLECTIONS
Homicide: The Graphic Novel, Part 1| Buy the graphic novel The Wire creator David Simon and artist Philippe Squarzoni team up to present the first volume of this bold, gritty graphic novel adaptation of Simon’s 1991 true crime classic, which followed his year-long embedment with the Baltimore Police Department’s homicide unit. The book served for the inspiration for the acclaimed television show Homicide: Life on the Streets. (July 2023).
Night Fever | Buy the graphic novel | Kindle/ComiXology it! Putting aside the worlds of Criminal and Ethan Reckless for a while, Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips cough out a noirish nightmare for mild-mannered American businessman Jonathan Webb, lost and alone on a business trip to Europe, wandering the streets at night, unable to sleep. Until he meets the mysterious Rainer, who exposes Jonathan to the secrets of the night—and himself. STRANGER DANGER! (June 2023)
Bixby Grant, Private Eye Tomb It May Concern: A crowd-sourced graphic novel featuring the world’s first mummy detective! Written by Patrick Coyle and illustrated by Gonzalo Martínez. (April 2023)
American Criminal| Kindle/ComiXology it! Not a P.I book, but worth checking out. Colton Ward, a master thief who once specialized in ripping off other thieves, is forced by a rogue FBI agent to go undercover to help him take down a notorious crime boss, Magnuson, whose gang are planning a casino heist. Written by Benjamin Percy, with art byMichael “Alias” Gaydos.(March 2023)
The Variants| Buy the graphic novel Rounds up issues 1-5. Everyone’s favourite super-powered private eye, Jessica Jones, has a problem—the multiverse has dumped a shitload of alternate versions of herself on her and not all of them are friendly. (March 2023)
Finally! An English translation of French comic master Cloé Medhi’s acclaimed noirish tale of 11-year-old Mattia, who decides to look into the controversial death of a local fifteen-year-old, apparently killed by the police, as his neighbourhood seethes around him. (February 2023)
Noir Is The New Black Presents: Watson And Holmes
Holmes and Watson reimagined as Black dudes in modern day Harlem. Collects the first five issues of the 2012-13 series by Karl Bollers and Rick Leonardi, with a new cover by Khary Randolph. (January 2023)
The Continental Op| Buy the collection I didn’t even know this was in the works. John K. Snyder III, whose work I first became aware of a few years ago with his masterful graphic novel adaptation of Lawrence Block’s Eight Million Ways to Die, digs even deeper into the hard-boiled canon with this moody, twitchy (and spot-on) illustrated edition of Dashiell Hammett’s first five Continental OP short stories. It’s not a graphic novel, but check out those ten drop-dead gorgeous art plates.(November 2022)
Follow Me Down| Buy the graphic novel | Kindle/ComiXology it! The last installment in this outstanding series, The Ghost in You, had under-the-table eighties P.I. Ethan Reckless out of the action, stomping around San Francisco, allowing his long-suffering assistant Anna, to work a case on her own back in the City of Angels. And now we find out what Ethan was up to, and it’s a stone-cold heartbreaker. (October 2022)
The Human Target| Buy the graphic novel | Kindle/ComiXology it! The DC Universes legendary bodyguard Christopher Chance has 12 days to solve a murder—his own! It’s a nifty take on the classic noir flick DOA, and each issue of this 12-part mini-series counts down his death, issue by issue. Written by Tom King and illustrated by Greg Smallwood. (September 2022)
Hit Me!| Buy the graphic novel | Kindle/ComiXology it! Christa Faust’s noirish tumble into the world of a hooker, Lulu, with a real speciality: she gets paid by the bruise… and she likes it. Well, until she crosses paths with the Atlantic City mob.Collects the entire mini-series. (September 2022)
Jinx| Buy the graphic novel | Kindle/ComiXology it! Yet another roundup of all of the original Jinx issues originally published by Caliber Press and Image Comics, featuring the trouble-bound Cleveland bounty hunter and her low-life pals, with an introduction by acclaimed comics creator David Mack and more than 60 pages of behind-the-scenes bonus material. (August 2022)
Mucho Mojo| Buy the graphic novel Graphic novel adaptation by Finnish illustrator Jussi Piironen of Joe R. Lansdale’s 1994 novel, featuring his odd couple Texan trouble makers and longtime pals Hap Collins and Leonard Pine, who get to mourn the loss of a beloved uncle, track down a serial killer and burn down a crack house. As one does. Politics, women, race, homophobia and more will be discussed but rest assured, action fans: shit will also be kicked. (August 2022)
Hawkeye: Kate Bishop| Buy the graphic novel | Kindle/ComiXology it! She’s supposed to be a private eye, closing down her Venice Beach office on her way back to the Big Apple, but a detour on the way to help out her estranged sister involves more superhero hijinks than any actual detective work. Disappointing. Collects all five issues of the mini-series. (May 2022)
The Ghost in You| Buy the graphic novel | Kindle/ComiXology it! The always dependable bestsellers Ed Brubaker (words) and Sean Phillips (pictures) return with the fourth graphic novel starring 1980s Los Angeles slacker P.I. Ethan Reckless, but this time the spotlight is on his long-suffering assistant (and projectionist) Anna, a pink-haired young punk who gets drawn into a case involving a former movie screen queen, one of Hollywood’s most notorious murder houses and a smorgasbord of long buried secrets, while her boss is out of town.
Luke Cage Omnibus| Buy the graphic novel | Kindle/ComiXology it! Back in the seventies, Luke Cage became American comics’ first Black superhero to get his own book. He was obviously modeled on John Shaft, a bad mother (shut ya mouth!) who worked as a private eye (he called himself a hero-for-hire) in NYC’s hood. Okay, so Shaft didn’t have bulletproof skin and never had to deal with Cottonmouth or any of Marvel’s other supervillains, but Cage always had a certain street-level grit and swagger–despite the yellow disco shirt and all those chains he must have borrowed from Isaac Hayes– that most Marvel heroes lacked. This doorstopper collects the complete run of Hero for Hire, Power Man and the Power Man Annual.
Criminal Macabre: The Complete Cal McDonald Stories| Buy this book | Kindle it! Collects the prose stories featuring Steve Niles’s ghost-and-monster-busting private eye: “Savage Membrane;” “Guns, Drugs, and Monsters,” “Dial M for Monster” and “All My Bloody Things,” plus two new stories: “The Dead Son,” “Out of Water” and an introduction by horror legend John Carpenter. (May 2022)