Redfork, by Alex Paknadel, Nil Vendrell & Giulia Brusco (TKO Studios, 2020)

An ex-con returns to his drugs and disease-blighted mining community: soon, other monsters lurk. Splashy blue-collar Beowulf-ish horror graphic novel (a six-issue run collected here), working similar territory to the later Grendel, Kentucky. Pacy and told with verve, this is fine stuff all the way through.

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My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

The Department of Truth, Volume One: The End of the World, by James Tynion IV, Martin Simmonds & Aditya Bidikar (Image Comics, 2021)

A conspiracy theory-loving FBI lecturer is inducted into an agency working to prevent collective belief from realising that conspiracy theories can become real. Fun, smart, and fast – if ever-so-slightly-preachy – this The Matrix meets JFK graphic novel (issues 1-5 collected here) is a brain-boggling and good-looking treat, and relevant as hell. Lots to recommend this.

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My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

Grendel, Kentucky, by Jeff McComsey & Tommy Lee Edwards, with Giovanna Niro and John Workman (AWA Upshot, 2021)

The leader of an all-woman biker gang returns home to avenge her father’s death. Swift, gory, fun riff on Beowulf populated by backwoods weed farmers and take-no-shit Kentuckians. The book anthologizes a four-part graphic story: there’s hell of a movie to be made of this. A straightforward thing done as well as it might be. Recommended.

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My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

Red Range: A Wild Western Adventure, by Joe R Lansdale & Sam Glanzman (It’s Alive!/IDW, 2017/1999)

A masked vigilante saves a boy from the Klan: a chase ensues. Smart, fast, violent, angry, and surprising pulp graphic novel. Fast and funny while unflinching in its depiction of racism, there’s a spot-on balance of telling it as it is and jazzing things up with high adventure. Recommended.

My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

Later, by Stephen King (Hard Case Crime, 2021)

A young boy has the ability to see and to speak with the recently-deceased. As he grows, this leads to conflict with both the living and the dead. A pacy yarn from the master, balancing crime-related thrills with the paranormal in line with much of his recent output. Won’t win any converts, but again emphasises that King is a supremely confident storyteller. Recommended.

My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

Coffin Bound, Vol. 1: Happy Ashes, by Dan Watters, Dani, Brad Simpson & Aditya Bidikar (Image Comics, 2020)

A young woman, pursued by an unstoppable supernatural contract killer, tries to erase all trace of her existence. Smart and dirty action-horror with arty leanings, in a Clive Barker meets late 80s Vertigo comics kinda way. This collects issues 1-4. Volume 2 follows.

My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

The Cigar That Fell in Love With a Pipe, by David Camus & Nick Abadzis [trans. Nick Probst] (SelfMadeHero, 2014)

A fable involving Orson Welles, Rita Hayworth, a seaman’s pipe and a fabled cigarmaker. An odd but charming bit of magical realism. Not quite sure what to make of it, but enjoyable both in the story and in its execution, and in its passion in detail terms.

My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England

I Killed Adolf Hitler, by Jason (Fantagraphics Books, 2006)

A hitman is hired to travel back to 1938 via time machine to kill Hitler. Deadpan SF black comedy in the author/illustrator’s signature style, which deftly explores the potential for complications in the premise. There’s depth in the approach; appreciating the deceptiveness of the apparent simplicity of Jason’s work is part of the pleasure.

My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.