That Texas Blood | Kindle/ComiXology it! Not a P.I. series, but anyone looking for hard-boiled Lone Star darkness, with a possible tinge of horror and more than a few echoes of “No Country for Old Men,”, could do worse than pick up this little gem from writer Chris Condon and artist Jacob “Chip Off the Old Block” Phillips. 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 hell are getting worse. (Starts June 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)
Jessica Jones: Blind Spot
Finally! The critically acclaimed, six-part Marvel Digital Original mini-series by Kelly Thompson and Mattia De Iulis from 2018 is available in print as a monthly!With the Purple Man apparently gone for good, Jessica, Luke Cage, and their daughter, Danielle, should be doing fine,right? (Starts January 2020)
The Butcher of Paris 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. (Starts December 2019)
Criminal Macabre: The Big Bleed Out Steve Niles’ monster-hunting, supernatural shamus Cal McDonald is back, in a brand new four part mini-series crammed with vampires, betrayal and… love? Yikes! (Starts December 2019)
Sherlock Scandal in Belgravia Titan Comics’ critically acclaimed manga adaptation of the complete run of television’s Sherlock continues with Season Two, as Holmes (Cumberband Bandersnatch) and Watson (Martin Freeman) are called in to help the royal family out of a jam (I guess). (Starts November 2019)
Dead Eyes Not a private eye, but this down and 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. But that was back in the nineties — he’s been lying low with the love of his life ever since, after pulling a multi-million dollar score. As the story begins, we find him, decades later, forced out of retired by his dwindling nest egg, but neither his wife or the cops is happy about it, although the mobster he ripped off wouldn’t mind having a little chat with him, now that he’s reappeared. By John McCrea (Mythic, Hitman), and Gerry Duggan (Analog, Deadpool). An on-going series. (Starts October 2019)
“A Rat in the House” (Danny and Harry Private Detectives) The long-awaited fourth installment of the six-part “The Case of the Missing Trunk” is finally here! Danny’s a cat, Harry’s a seagull, and they’re private eyes. Now get over it, and enjoy!
GRAPHIC NOVELS & COLLECTIONS
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)
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. (July 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 (Johnny Dynamite: Explosive Pre-Code Crime … 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).
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)
Killer Groove | Buy this book|ComiXology/Kindle it! It’s the early Seventies, and the Swingin’ Sixties are definitely over, but that doesn’t mean musicians aren’t still pouring into Los Angeles, desperate to stoke the star-making machinery of the popular song, as Cuban-American P.I. Jackie Fuenties and her violence prone pal, singer-songwriter Jonny, cross swords, in this collection of all five issues of the original series.
Over My Dead Body| Buy the book Jay Faerber and Simone Guglielmini team up to bring you this fast-moving, pulpy non-P.I. thriller, featuring characters from the acclaimed Near Death comic, revolving around a prison warden who releases a notorious, allegedly reformed killer to rescue his daughter who’s fallen in with a gang of violent terrorists. (January 2020)
FairLady: Volume One| Buy the book| Kindle/ComiXology it! The first collection of this engaging fantasy/detective hybrid does right by both genres, as “fairlady” Jenner Fauld travels the arid wastelands with her giant, hunky CatMan partner by her side, righting wrongs and dispensing justice… for a price. Collects first five issues of the ongoing series. (September 2019)
Rip Kirby, Volume 11: 1973-75| Buy the book Yet another classy, hardcover volume, reprinting eleven more stories of the longest-running modern P.I. strip, starring the debonair private detective, written by Fred Dickenson and drawn by John Prentice. (July 2019)
Vindication| Buy the graphic novel| Kindle/ComiXology Not a P.I. story, but anyone looking for a gritty, hard-boiled tale ripped from the headlines ought to check out MD Marie’s four-parter from Top Cow/Image. Turn Washington, who’s black, is just out of prison, exonerated of a murder charge, and Chip Christopher, who’s white, is the cop who put him there, isn’t convinced Turn is innocent. But it’s not that simple — the two men grew up in the same neighborhood and knew many of the same people. It gets complicated… (July 2019)
Criminal: Bad Weekend| Buy the book| Kindle/ComiXology it! Pissed (and pissed off) comics vet Hal Crane is set to appear at some out-of-town convention where they’re going to give him a lifetime achievement award, but he wants to settle a few scores first. Anyone who thought the comics industry was all BIFF! BAM! POW! sunshine lollipops has to read this. Expanded from the recent Criminal two-parter fan favourite by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, so you know it’s good. (July 2019)
Jessica Jones: Purple Daughter | Buy the graphic novel Rounds up in print all six parts of Kelly Thompson’s digital-only continuation of the adventures of everyone’s favourite alcoholic, messed up former superhero turned private eye. The Purple Man is dead; long live the Purple Man. (May 2019)
Nancy Drew Cold Case: The Palace of Wisdom | Buy the graphic novel Collects all five issues of the Kelly (Hawkeye, Jessica Jones) Thompson-scripted arc, with kid-friendly art by Jenn St-Onge. Somebody’s trying to kill the world’s most perfect girl detective. Could it be one of her friends? A bigger mystery? Why was the original arc titled “The Case of the Cold Case”? (April 2019)
Stumptown: The Case of a Cup of Joe | Buy this book Paperback collection of the last arc featuring Greg Rucka’s scrappy Portland comic book eye, Dex Pariois. This oughtta whet your whistle for the upcoming TV pilot starring Colbie “How I Met Your Mother” Smulders on ABC. (March 2019)
Stray Bullets: Roses and Sunshine Volume 4 | Buy the book The latest collection of David Lapham’s never-ending Eisner Award-winning saga of of bad intentions, bad choices and bad luck. Take the money and run, run, run, run, run… (March 2019)
Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar| Buy it now Brand new prose tales of Old Time Radio’s “man with the action-packed expense account.” Contributors include Gary Phillips, Tommy Hancock, Joe Gentile, Ron Fortier, Eric Fein, Bobby Nash, Josh Reynolds, & Barry Reese. There’s also a deluxe edition which includes the complete, 48-page Moonstone comic book from 2003. (February 2019)
The Be-Bop Barbarians |Buy the book|Kindle it! Rabble rouser Gary Phillips drops a fifties-set graphic novel that somehow turns jazz, comics, the Civil Rights movement, the Red Scare, superheroes and more into a burning hunk of agit-prop. Illustrated by legendary artist Dale Berry. (February 2019)
Green River Killer: A True Detective Story | Buy the book| Kindle/ComiXology Re-issue of award-winning graphic novel that follows Tom Jensen, the Seattle cop who finally nailed one of America’s most notorious serial killers, and the toll it took on him personally and professionally — written by his son! Features a new introduction by Brian Michael Bendis. (February 2019)
Gary Phillips’ Hollis For Hire (2018) | Buy this book | Kindle it! Not a graphic novel or even a comic book, but fans of Phillips’ big-shouldered African-American eye will be happy to see him back in action in this new collection of prose stories by Phillips, Sara Paretsky, Scott Adlerberg, Phillip Drayer Duncan, Naomi Hirahara and Sarah M. Chen.
The Black Dahlia | Buy the book | Kindle it/ComiXology! Forget Ellroy’s one-handed take on the subject. This paperback reprint of master comic book guy and true crime specialist Rick Geary’s take on the life and death of 22-year old Elizabeth Short, whose body was drained of blood, meticulously scrubbed, cut in two and dumped in a Los Angeles vacant lot in 1947, is the one that you want. Like all of Geary’s “Treasury of XXth Murder” series, it’s meticulously researched, and his offbeat illustration style keeps things from getting too grim — or too comfortable. (December 2018)
Goldfish | Buy the book | Kindle it/Comixology! The Jinxworld returns! Now that Brian Michael Bendis is hanging his cape next to Superman’s, all his older series are being re-issued in snazzy, updated collections, including this gritty little speck of noir featuring scam artist Goldfish finally returning to Cleveland, hoping to set his world right. It doesn’t go well. Best part? It introduces characters we’ll soon see again in Jinx. (December 2018)
The Fade-Out| Buy the book | Kindle it/Comixology! A snazzy new reprint of the super duper deluxe edition by Eisner-winning Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, collecting the entire run collects the entire run of the acclaimed series; a primo slice of Hollywood noir set in the 1940s, revolving around blacklisted writers, doomed starlets, closeted matinee idols, blackmailers, possibly insane studio heads and, oh yes, the publicity flacks and guns-for-hire who try to keep a lid on it all. To no avail, of course — this is like lifting the Hollywood sign up, just to see what’s squirming around under there…. (November 2018)