Hal Banks

Created by Ed Brubaker
Art by Stefano Gaudiano

His father split when he was eight, and he’s never really gotten over it. Now, surprisingly downbeat comic book eye HAL BANKS makes a half-assed living as a half-assed gumshoe.

Suffice it to say Hal doesn’t seem to have much of a life. His ex-wife left him because she felt he was “always lost somewhere.” He’s rarely in touch with his mother or his older brother, Dennis. He’s just floating through life, barely eking out a living, tailing cheating spouses and the like. A few months back, he got in a scrape over a “drunk and diorderly,” and so he’s also been doing freebies for social services lately as part of his plea bargain. And then they dump a case and an eight-year old kid in his lap.

The job? Find the kid’s missing dad.

Unable to find anyone to take care of the boy, he decides to bring him along as he works. But then he gets some more bad news. His father has just passed away.

Unfortunately, Hal’s only appearance was a three-part philosophical shaggy dog tale serialized in Dark Horse Presents in 1995–a tantalizing glimpse of a man finally taking a good hard look at himself. Or at what he thinks is himself.

Heartbreaking. Pass the tissue.


Ed Brubaker, of course, is the Eisner-winning comic writer who brought a much-needed dose of hard-boiled kick-ass and clenched teeth noir to comics in the nineties. Among his must-read projects are Gotham Noir (a Batman tale where Commissioner Gordon is re-imagined as a private eye) and Scene of the Crime, a superb P.I. mini-series he did a few years ago with artist Michael Lark. He’s also brought his singular vision to regular comic books as Daredevil, Captain America (yeah, Ed’s the man who bumped him off) and Gotham Central, a series that depicted the trials and tribulations of the men and women of Gotham City’s beleagured police force, as well as such well-regarded projects as Lowlife (an autobiographical alternative comic), At the Seams, Detour and An Accidental Death, which have garnered him critical acclaim and nominations for an Eisner award, two Harvey awards and an Ignatz. He finally nailed the Eisner for his on-going Criminal series, a gritty string of interconnected mini-series about an assortment of professional (what else?) criminals that he does with long-time partner in crime, British artist Sean Phillips, with whom he’s also collaborated on such acclaimed and bestselling series as Incognito, Fatale and The Fadeout. Ed currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife and their crazy dog, where he works in comics, film, and television. Um, Ed. Not the dog.


  • “This is a tale in the grand pulp tradition, from the dialogue and characters, through to their attire and even the covers of the book (with a pseudo-well worn, bashed around feel).”
    — Silver Bullet Comic Books


(1986-2000, Dark Horse)
Anthology series
Various writers and artists

    • “Here and Now, Part 1” (April 1995, #96)
    • “Here and Now, Part 2” (May 1995, #97)
    • “Here and Now, Part 3” (June 1995, #98)
      Written by Ed Brubaker
      Art by Stefano Gaudiano


  • June 28, 2023
    The Botton Line: Before Ed ever met Sean, he was already cranking out little noir masterpieces, like this three-part heartbreaker from Dark Horse Presents back in 1995, about a sad-sack P.I. on a sad sack case.
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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