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).
Star Wars: The High Republic – Trail Of Shadows In a galaxy far far away? Yep, forget the damn ewoks and Jar Jar Binks– the Star Wars galaxy finally gets a private eye of its own. Sian Holt is a high-priced space shamus, short of temper but quick with a blaster, looking into the murder of a Jedi, in this new mini-series written by Daniel José Older with art by Dave Wachter. (Series starts October 2021).
Gun Honey Hard Case Crime head honcho Charles Ardai goes all graphic (and nastier than normal) with this four-parter from Titan. You know you’re going dark when your “hero” is an illegal weapon supplier Joanna Tan, the “best in the world at providing the perfect weapon at the perfect moment,” who is shocked–shocked, I tell you!–when a gun she smuggled into a prison is used for–get this!–illegal purposes! With art by Ang Hor Kheng, and variant covers by Robert McGinnis, Bill Sienkiewicz, Adam Hughes, Kendrick Lim, Jay Anacleto, Chris Wahl, Fay Dalton and Andrea Camerini.(Mini-series starts in September 2021).
Black’s Myth Come out of the closets, you boys and you girls, and meet Janie “Strummer” Jones, yet another comic book werewolf P.I. This one’s by Eric Palicki (text) and Wendell Cavalcanti, and it looks promising. (series starts July 2021).
The Detective Is Already Dead| Buy this book| Kindle it! High school shit magnet Kimitsuka Kimihi finds himself the personal assistant of beautiful, enigmatic girl detective Siesta–and then she dies, in this English adaptation of the popular Japanese series of manga and YA novels. (Series starts June 2021).
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).
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)
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)
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)
Richard Stark’s Parker: The Martini Edition–Last Call| Buy the graphic novel At last! The long-postponed wrap-up to the Award-winning Martini Edition is here, collecting Darwyn Cooke’s full-length adaptations of Stark’s novels The Score and Slayground, plus more than 100 pieces of never-before-seen Parker art; a round table talk with Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips, Bruce Timm, and Scott Dunbier on Parker and Cooke; and a brand-new 17-page story by multiple Eisner Award-winning creators Brubaker and Phillips–all in a fancy-pants oversized slipcase edition. (May 2022)
The Gotham Central Omnibus | Buy the graphic novel Writers: Ed Brubaker, Greg Rucka
Artists: Michael Lark, Stefan Gaudiano, Kano
No, it’s not full of private eyes, but anyone who hangs out at the dark end of the crime fiction street will dig this 968-page brick rounding up all 40 issues of Gotham Central (2002-06), DC’s Eisner-winning series that zeroed in on the gritty day-to-day of the Gotham City’s beleagured cops who have to battle everything from psychotic supervillains to run-of-the-mill mobsters and petty thieves–not to mention internal corruption, red tape and a masked nutjob running around the city at night fighting crime dressed up like some kind of flying rodent. Commissioner Gordon, Harvey Bullock, Maggie Sawyer, Renee Montoya and the rest of the GCPD all clock in, as well as a few choice cameos by the afore-mentioned nutjob, in this landmark series that injects Hill Street Blues-style grit into the DCU. (April 2022)
The Graphic Canon of Crime & Mystery Vol. 2 | Buy the graphic novel | Kindle/ComiXology it! Edited by Russ Kick, this whomping big collection (number two in the series) promises classic crime fiction in full-color and more than delivered, rounding up twenty-six tantalizing tales, including Teddy Goldenberg’s bleak, noirish take on Dashiell Hammett’s “The Road Home,” Shawn Cheng’s adaptation of Charles Perrault’s “Bluebeard” and Landis Blair’s reimagining of Kafka’s “The Trial” as a choose-your-own-adventure. (December 2021)
Murder Book: A Graphic Memoir of a True Crime Obsession | Buy the comic | Kindle/ComiXology it! New Yorker cartoonist Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell confesses to her life-long obsession with true crime, in this clever and surprisingly personal exploration of the genre. (November 2021)
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! And sex! And Josephine Baker! By acclaimed writer, artist, director and playwright Cynthia Von Buhler. (October 2021)
Destroy All Monsters| Buy the comic | Kindle/ComiXology it! He’s back in the third big graphic novel! Former radical activist turned freelance troubleshooter Ethan Reckless is back, digging deep into the secrets of a powerful real estate developer–how bad could the guy be, right? But maybe Trump wasn’t the only one. Courtesy of the award-winning team of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips. By far the best crime comic of the year. (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)
Noir is the New Black| Buy the comic An expanded reissue of the graphic novel from a few years ago features sixteen noir stories by forty Black creators, including David F. Walker, Brandon Thomas, MD Bright, Melody Cooper, N. Steven Harris, and Gary Phillips, plus a new story and a bonus section of previously unseen black and white art. (September 2021).
The Good Asian| Buy the comic | Kindle/ComiXology it! Collecting the first four issues of Pornsak Pichetote’s story of Edison Hark—a Chinese-American homicide dick from Honolulu (and possibly the only one in the entire United States in 1936)–on the trail of a killer on the mainland. Great art by Alexandre Tefengki. (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)
Crime Comics Confidential | Buy the comic | Kindle/ComiXology it! A chunky monkey (over 200 pages) of pre-Code crime comics, this handsome collection spotlights real life baddies Al Capone, John Dillinger, Legs Diamond, Pretty Boy Floyd, Dutch Schultz and Lucky Luciano, alongside assorted fictional jaspers whose roscoes spit lead all over the place, while their dames look on in admiration (or contemplate where to insert the blade). Twenty classic tales from the likes of Charles Biro, Dick Briefer, John Buscema, Gene Colan, Jack Cole, Reed Crandall, Fred Guardineer, Everett Raymond Kinstler, Bernie Krigstein, Mort Meskin, Bob Powell, John Prentice, Mike Sekowsky, Leonard Starr, Marvin Stein, Alex Toth, and many others. Senate-investigated and Dr. Werhtham-damned for your reading pleasure, plus an in-depth essay by editor and designer Steven Brower.
First Degree: A Crime Anthology | Buy the comic | Kindle/ComiXology it! A great new crime comic anthology, from France, to mark the 25th anniversary of the the POLAR Festival of Cognac, one of the most esteemed crime fiction conventions in the world. Featuring a dozen taut, noirish crime stories from an international calvacade of top-rank comic illustrators and artists, including David Walker, David Aja, Michael Lark, David Morancho, Eric Le Pape, Thierry Lamy, Olivier Jolivet and more, as well as a gallery of Polar Festival Posters. (September 2021)
Meadowlark: A Coming of Age Crime Story | Buy the comic | Kindle/ComiXology it! Actor Ethan Hawke and artist Greg Ruth team up to for this bleak, violent noir of a Texas father, his teenage son and a really bad day. (August 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)