The Good Asian Edison Hark is a Honolulu homicide dick–possibly the only Asian cop in the entire United States in 1936–when he’s summoned back to the mainland by his white stepbrother because of a family emergency, just in time to enjoy all that good old racism, paranoia and police corruption of the era. Written by Pornsak Pichetshote with stunning art by Alexandre Tefenkgi, it’s a gripping, nasty, noir-tinged look back. (Mini-series starts May 2021).
The Girl Who Electrified Tesla Private eye Minky Woodcock returns, in a shocking new historical caper involving some rich guy named J.P. Morgan who wants Mindy to investigate some inventor named Nikola Tesla. Plus… Nazis! By acclaimed writer, artist, director and playwright Cynthia Von Buhler. (Series starts April 2021)
Shadow Doctor Not a P.I. story, but this family history by writer Peter Calloway kicks Black History Month up a notch, as he recounts the life and times of his grandfather, Nathaniel Calloway, a Black doctor unable to get work at any Chicago-area hospitals because of his race, who ends up a mob doctor for Al Capone. Like Peter says, “On the one hand, his story represents the promise of Ameri-ca. On the other hand, it shows the worst of it.” (Starts February 2021).
Sam Cairo Los Angeles’ South Central district, 1958, and private eye SAM CAIRO is on the case, in a promising new digital comic available exclusively on Aces Weekly. And that’s about all I know, so far. Except… it’s written by Gary Phillips, a man who knows a thing or two about both private eyes (Ivan Monk) and comics (Peepland, Angeltown). (Starts September 2020)
Brutal Dark It’s private eye action just like you like it! Ezra Cain, a tough shamus prowls the streets of 1941 New York, in November 1941, just days before a certain “Day of Infamy.” Only catch? This digital monthly is only available through co-creator Chris Condon and Jacob Phillips’ Patreon page. But the price is definitely right.
Hank Steiner Monster Detective He’s seven feet tall with skin the colour of something that went bad in the fridge, but he must be a real private eye because he’s got a hat and a trenchcoat. He’s Hank Steiner Monster Detective, and he plies his trade in Tower City, a sharply divided burg where vampires, imps, goblins and the like writhe under the thumb of human oppression. (Monthly, begins March 2020).
J. Werner Presents Classic Pulp Detectives #0 Curated by Josh Werner, this one-shot (and possible field test for an ongoing series) promises vintage tales of murder and mystery, digitally remastered. Includes stories featuring T-Men and Charlie Chan. No private dicks so far, but worth keeping an eye on. You know… just in case… (February 2020)
DC’s Crimes of Passion| Buy the comic | Kindle/ComiXology it! Just in time for St. Valentine’s Day! DC Comics unleashes a fancy schmancy (but very fine) collection of all new, noir-tinged love stories, featuring various superheroes and super-villains pitching various sorts of woo, including Batman, Green Arrow, Batgirl, Catwoman, Batwoman, Nightwing, Black Canary, Catwoman, Harley Quinn, The Question, and, uh, Pied Piper? Why you should be interested? Because private eye and TD favourite Slam Bradley also shows up in a brand new adventure,“One Last Dance.” and Slam himself promises “Ten tales of love-the kind of love that can push people over the edge.” That’s good enough for me. (February 2020)
GRAPHIC NOVELS & COLLECTIONS
The Girl Who Electrified Tesla| Buy the comic | Kindle/ComiXology it! Collects the second story arc, featuring rabbit-loving private eye Minky Woodcock, in a shocking new historical caper involving some rich guy named J.P. Morgan who wants Mindy to investigate some inventor named Nikola Tesla. Plus… Nazis! By acclaimed writer, artist, director and playwright Cynthia Von Buhler. (October 2021)
The Strange Death of Alex Raymond (non-P.I.; biography) | Buy this book An astounding piece of work by master comic artist Dave Sim, this graphic novel charts the stories of comics’ greatest creators, including Alex Raymond, Stan Drake, and Hal Foster, using their own techniques, exploring their lives and work, and “highlighting the metatextual resonances that bind them together.” (September 2021)
Criminal Deluxe Edition Volume 1| Buy the comic This super deluxe hardcover edition collects the first three series of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’ Eisner and Harvey Award-Winning crime comic Criminal, featuring the adventures and misadventures of assorted crooks: seasoned pros and amateurs, both gifted and rank. Also includes some pretty tasty extras, like a Criminal short story, the never-before-printed five page “movie trailer in comics form” that Brubaker and Phillips used announce the series online, illustrations, selected articles, behind the scenes looks, painted covers… and much much more! (September 2021)
Did You Hear What Eddie Gein Done? (true crime; graphic novel) | Buy this book A deep dive into one of the most notoriously deranged killers in American history; fact-based and heartbreaking. Written by true crime expert Schecter with art by Eric “The Goon” Powell. (July 2021)
Friend of the Devil| Buy the comic | Kindle/ComiXology it! Former radical turned freelance troubleshooter Ethan Reckless returns in the sequel to last year’s Reckless, courtesy of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, tackling Hollywood crazies this time, in a brand new graphic novel. (May 2021)
Bad Mother| Buy his book | Kindle/ComiXology it!
Crime writer Christa (Money Shot, Peepland, Butch Fatale, etc.) Faust and artist Mike Deodato team up for this mini-series about the twisted dreams of the everyday housewife, as April Walters, a middle-aged soccer mom whose that life has pretty much pissed on for years, goes hunting for her missing teenaged daughter… and all hell breaks loose. Collects the mini-series. (March 2021)
DC’s Greatest Detective Stories Ever Told(2021, DC Comics)| Buy the comic | Kindle/ComiXology it! If you’re one of the lucky few who sorta remember when there were actual detectives in Detective Comics, this collection is for you. Includes key stories featuring Slam Bradley, Lois Lane, The Question, Detective Chimp, and some guy who dresses like a flying rodent, going as far back as 1937. Collects Adventure Comics #51, Batman #441, Detective Comics #2, #329, and #572, Lois Lane #1-2, Secret Origins #40, and The Question #8. (February 2021)
Scene of the Crime| Buy the comic| Kindle/ComiXology it! Long out of print, this stone cold P.I. classic by Ed Brubaker and Michael Lark returns in a spiffy new edition, designed by inker Sean Phillips (it was the start of Ed and Sean’s beautiful friendship). Also included are behind-the-scenes art and stories, a new foreword by Brubaker, and plenty of other extras. (February 2021)
That Texas Blood| Buy the comic| Kindle/ComiXology it!
Anyone looking for a some hard-boiled Lone Star darkness, with a dollop of Coen Bros. sauce slathered all over could do a helluva lot worse worse than this little gem from writer Chris Condon and artist Jacob “Chip Off the Old Block” Phillips, collecting the first six issues of this great new monthly. Joe Bob is the sheriff in Ambrose County in West Texas just turned 70, and he ain’t getting any younger, but things sure as shootin’ gonna ge worse. (January 2021)
Pulp | Buy this book | ComiXology/Kindle it! Taking a page from Dave Darrigio’s classic Wordsmith series but adding their own special sauce, master comic chefs Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips go all meta once again, zooming in on not just a recurring character from the pulps (a ruthless desperado in the Old West), but on the man, Max Winters, a pulp writer in 1930s New York, who created him. One of my favourite books of 2020! NOW IN PAPERBACK! (January 2021)
Reckless| Buy the comic | Kindle/ComiXology it! That dastardly duo, Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, the modern masters of comic noir, are back with an ambitious, action-packed new series of original graphic novels, with three books scheduled over the next year, each a standalone full-length story. Former radical Ethan Reckless is a freelance troubleshooter in a 1980 Los Angeles full of sex, drugs, rock’n’roll and… murder! (December 2020)
Criminal Deluxe Volume 3|Buy this book Brubaker and Phillips ride again, with volume three of their deluxe hardcover collections of Criminal, this one rounding up the Savage Sword Of Criminal and Deadly Hands Of Criminal standalones, the novellas My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies and Bad Weekend, and issues 1-4 of the monthly series, plus the usual overabundance of goodies, including illustrations, selected articles, interviews, behind the scenes looks, painted covers and two full length short stories about the Lawless family. (December 2020)
Richard Stark’s Parker: The Martini Edition–Last Call|Buy this book
The long-awaited, equally lavish second volume is finally out, slipcased and hardbound for trouble, collecting Darwyn Cooke’s last two adaptations, The Score and Slayground, featuring Richard Stark’s (aka “Donald Westlake’s) hard-as-nails professional thief Parker, plus more than 100 pieces of never-before-seen art by Cooke; a round table squawk with comic book greats Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips, Bruce Timm, and Scott Dunbier on Parker and Cooke; and a brand-new 17-page Parker story by Brubaker and Phillips. (December 2020)
The Butcher of Paris| Buy this book | ComiXology/Kindle it! Based on actual events, this Dark Horse mini-series ought to hit the sweet spot for fans of historical noir. It’s 1944, and as if Nazis weren’t bad enough, a serial killer is roaming the streets of Paris, taking advantage of the turmoil as Jews attempt to flee the city, and the Allies draw ever nearer. But who will stop the killer first–the cops or the Germans? Written by Stephanie Phillips with art from Dean Kotz and Jason Wordie. (December 2020)
Streets of Paris, Streets of Murder Box Set| Buy this book Can’t decide between Volume One or Two? This handsome, hardcover box set collects all four collaborations between writer Jean-Patrick Manchette and cartoonist Tardi (Griffu, West Coast Blues, Like a Sniper Lining Up His Shot, andRun Like Crazy, Run Like Hell), plus a bonus, 21-page unfinished story. Zut! (November 2020)
Streets of Paris, Streets of Murder (Volume Two)| Buy this book | ComiXology/Kindle it! Second volume of noir collaborations between writer Jean-Patrick Manchette and cartoonist Tardi, this one contains Like a Sniper Lining Up His Shot and Run Like Crazy, Run Like Hell. (October 2020)
Dying is Easy| Buy this book | ComiXology/Kindle it! Comedy is hard; dying is easy, and ex-cop turned flailing stand-up comic Syd “Shit-Talk” Homes is learning it the hard way, when he’s arrested for the murder of a fellow comic who’s been ripping him off, in graphic novel written by Joe Hill and drawn by Martin Simmonds. Okay, Syd’s not a P.I., but his world of back alleys, dive bars police stations will be instantly familiar to any reader who’s ever taken a stroll down the mean streets. (September 2020)
Streets of Paris, Streets of Murder (Volume One)| Buy this book | ComiXology/Kindle it! Collecting all the noir collaborations between legendary French crime writers Jean-Patrick Manchette and writer/cartoonist Tardi , Volume One includes the never-before-collected Griffu, about a legal advisor who gets tangled up with a hot blonde mess of trouble, West Coast Blues, about a young salesman who finds himself pitted against an exiled war criminal and two hired assassin, plus a bonus, 21-page unfinished story. (June 2020)
Johnny Dynamite| Buy this book | ComiXology/Kindle it! The run-on (and on) subtitle reads “Explosive Pre-Code Crime Comics—The Complete Adventures of Pete Morisi’s Wild Man of Chicago” but you don’t need all that. If you’re craving hard-boiled private eye action in a comic book, this is it. Collects all the stories, plus a new one by über-fans Max Allan Collins and Terry Beatty, who also dish up one hell of an intro. (June 2020)
The Ride: Burning Desire| Buy this book | ComiXology/Kindle it! Collects the five-parter from Image and follows disgraced ex-cop and ex-con turned exotic dance club bouncer Samantha Vega as she tries to walk the straight and narrow, but gets drawn into investigating the murder of a dancer and the disappearance of her daughter. From the award-winning of Doug Wagner and Daniel Hillyard. (June 2020).
Richard Stark’s Parker: The Martini Edition| Buy this book A super-deluxe, oversized, slipcased hardcover edition, complete with over sixty pages of additional content, collecting the late, great Darwyn Cooke’s masterful, Eisner award-winning graphic novel adaptations of The Outfit and The Hunter, two of Richard Stark’s equally classic novels featuring professional thief Parker. (April 2020)
The Mike Shayne Private Eye Comic Collection| Buy this book Collects all three issues of the Dell comic book, which featured adaptations of Brett Halliday’s novels by writer Ken Fitch and artists Lee Ames and Edd Ashe, plus bonus material covering the history of Mike Shayne in the media by our pal Paul Bishop.
Wyrd | Buy this book | ComiXology/Kindle it! When the going gets weird, the U.S. government calls in investigator-for-hire Wyrd, who’s pretty high up on the Weird Scale himself–he’s apparently immortal, invincible… and suicidal. Collects the Dark Horse mini-series. (March 2020)
Dead Eyes | Buy this book | ComiXology/Kindle it! Not a private eye, but this noirish crime story ought to hit the sweet spot for readers craving some hard-boiled action. Martin Dobbs is a professional thief from Boston, also known as “Dead Eyes,” for the weird mask he wears when he’s “on the job. This graphic novel rounds up the first story arc from the ingoing series. (March 2020)
Clue: Candlestick | Buy the book You’ve played the board game, you’ve seen the movie (and all three of its endings). Now read this goofy new comic book mini-series from IDW by writer/artist Dash Shaw. It’s just an amazing piece of comic art: clever, smart-ass and cheeky — a psychological, psychedelic bungee jump into the heart of the game. Go ahead — just try and crack the case. Dropping acid may help. (February 2020)