Femme Noir

Created by Christopher Mills and Joe Staton

With a moniker like FEMME NOIR, you just know things weren’t going to be taken entirely seriously in this web comic.

Who the hell is she, you may ask? Well, here’s how the official advance publicity from co-creator Chris Mills went way back when:

Who is Femme Noir?

Is it Dahlia Blue, the scarlet-tressed songstress who holds court nightly at the trendy Club Selene? Or is it lovely Laurel Lye, ace crime reporter for the Port Nocturne Eclipse? Could it be the raven-haired mob princess Vanessa DeMilo, daughter of Port Nocturne’s late crime kingpin, Don Gino DeMilo?

Who is Femme Noir?

She’s a very private private eye working the mean streets and bloody alleys of a city where crime and corruption are the status quo and the nights seem to last forever. She takes on the cases that the cops can’t or won’t solve, and if the system fails — which it does with an alarming regularity — she exacts harsh, swift justice with a pair of pearl-handled automatics.

Who is Femme Noir?

Depending on which side of the law you’re on, she can be a dream come true… or your worst nightmare.”

(The strip) will be at least slightly tongue-in-cheek and will have some fantasy elements; in that regard the model is pretty much Will Eisner and The Spirit. The character herself though, is closer to Max Allan collins’ Ms. Tree — if she’d been played by Veronica Lake.

I hope also to do an actual Femme Noir comic book (at least a one-shot) as well as the webstrip. The webstrip will be a weekly color serial, most likely. The tentative title of the first serial is “Cold, Dead Fingers.”

The strip actually will feature TWO private eyes: Femme Noir herself and Red “Rusty” Nales, a Hammer-esque eye who keeps crossing her path (or is that the other way around?). He probably won’t show up until the second continuity though; it’s a Maltese Falcon homage I’m tentatively calling The Dingus.” At this point, I intend for each continuity to run six months (or 24 episodes).”

My take? Christopher Mills and Joe Staton’s Femme Noir is a tasty stir fry of pop culture touchstones: The Spirit, Batman, The Shadow, Black Mask, Dime Detective, Raymond Chandler and about a zillion RKO B-films; the perfect meal for those of you not getting enough good old high-fiber pulp  in your diet.

The strip eventually made its debut on the now-defunct Supernatural Crime website in 2001, and also popped up on filmmaker Kevin Smith’s Movie Poop Shoot, and the other Kevin Smith’s Thrilling Detective Web Site. It finally saw print as the four-issue The Dark City Diaries, and was republished the following year as Femme Noir: The Dark City Diariesa trade paperback collection, which won the Spinetingler Magazine’s  Award for Best Graphic Novel of 2009.

The Dingus” a became an eight-page Red “Rusty” Nales standalone story, and appeared as a backup feature in print in Femforce #121, while being simultaneously serialized in these pages. It’s still here if you’re interested.


Writer/artist/publisher Chris Mills is the author of the Matt Dain private eye stories, and the cre\ator and editor of the short-lived illustrated crime fiction magazine, Noir, and has been responsible for a slew of memorable characters, including supernatural private eye Gideon King, (a.k.a. The Nightmark), costumed crime fighter Femme Noir, hard-boiled gumshoe Red “Rusty” Nales, and has worked on various projects with Mickey Spillane, Max Allan Collins, Ed Gorman and a host of other notable mystery writers on such comic book projects as Mike Danger, Lady Justice, The Detectives and Mike Mauser. Other projects include the reincarnation of Spillane’s very first private eye, Mike Lancer, set for 2019.

Meanwhile, Joe Saton is just a comics legend, both as writer and artist. He co-created a couple of different versions of DC’s Huntress and P.I. Mike Mauser, and has drawn everyone from Mike Danger, Dick TracyE-Man, Green Lantern and Superman to Scooby Doo and Bugs Bunny, as well as—of course—Chris Mills’ Femme Noir and Red “Rusty” Nales.


  • “…a hardhittin’, tough-talkin’ dame who’s nobody’s sweetheart. If you like your thrills hardboiled and your action neat, then check this one out…”
    – Chuck Dixon
  • “… a .45 caliber fueled ride into the dark heart of the city in the arms of a nightmare blonde who’d just as soon kill you as kiss you. Christopher Mills and Joe Staton have given us a stunning new take on the noir landscape. Femme Noir is as hard hitting as a psycho wielding a baseball bat”
    – Paul Bishop


    (2001-05, Supernatural Crime)
    Written by Chrisopher Mills
    Pencils and Inks by Joe Staton

    • “Cold, Dead Fingers” (March 1, 2001-April 19, 2002, Supernatural Crime)*
    • “An Eye for a Spy” (August 16, 2002-January 30 2004, Supernatural Crime) *
    • “Chambers of Horror” (February 13, 2004-July 29, 2005, Supernatural Crime)*
    • “Beast of the City” (in the works)
      *All these stories also appeared right here on The Thrilling Detective Web Site.
    (1985-2008, AC Comics)
    199 issues

    • “The Dingus” (October 2003, # 121; also Thrilling Detective Web Site)
      8 pages
      Script, Colors and Letters by Christopher Mills
      Pencils by Joe Staton
      Inks by Horacio Ottolini



    (2008, Ape Entertainment)
    4-issue mini-series
    28 pages
    Script, Colors and Letters by Christopher Mills
    Pencils and Inks by Joe Staton

    • “Blonde Justice” (June 2008, #1)
    • “Dead Man’s Hand” (July 2008, #2)
    • “Killer in Steel” (August 2008, #3)
    • “Concrete Jungle” (September 2008, #4)


    (May 2009, Ape Entertainment)
    This spiffy trade paperback collects all 4 issues of the mini-series, plus two complete bonus stories, conceptual artwork, a foreword by Max Allan Collins and an afterword by some cat called Smith.


Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith. Thanks to Chris for shooting his mouth off. We appreciate it!

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