Jacob is tasked with chaperoning a cantankerous comics veteran at a convention: matters soon spiral. Excellent and slightly meta stand-alone story with links to the wider Criminal universe. Plenty to relish, not least in its playing with comic book industry legends, noir tropes, and the flipside of niche fame and success.
Three linked stories: a boxer, a bar worker, a gang lord’s son. Polyperspective genre thrills, plus something of a meditation on the codes and conventions of noir fiction. Plenty to enjoy here, as Brubaker and Phillips continue to both abide by and challenge the limitations and interstices of the genre. Recommended.
A young woman with secrets, fresh to rehab, finds love and with it, a reason to abscond. Smart, melancholic story of crime, addiction, inevitability, and trust. Billed as a Criminal novella, this stand-alone graphic story comes at noir from an unusual – though fitting – angle. Recommended.
A man absconds from military service to get revenge for his younger brother’s death. Issues 6-10 of Criminal are collected here, offering a second punchy (literally and figuratively) noir tale of violence, robbery, sex, and inevitability. Consistently great, and pleasantly uncompromising in its focus on genre thrills and character. Recommended.
A young woman is ostracised via a totalitarian governmental marking scheme: she runs. Smart dystopian one-shot rendered in noir-ish visuals with lettering to match. Gets in, gets out, doesn’t mess except with your head: the kind of project that the likes of Kickstarter/Indiegogo were made for.
A Himalayan climbing guide moonlighting as an Everest graverobber stumbles across secrets for which a shadowy agency will gladly kill. Zippy thriller blending international spy-jinks and guilty past narratives with authentic-feeling mountaineering content. Plenty to appreciate and enjoy here. Recommended.
A chronological history of UFO sightings and associated lore. Rendered in crisp graphics and accompanying text, somewhat similar to a book-length infographic, this is a clear, comprehensive and accessible introduction for just about all ages, with a few dry jokes along the way.
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.
Bodies accumulate as the ghost writer of a radio agony column draws on listeners’ letters in their serial killing. 1940s Barcelona-set deadpan absurdist noir that might be a touch impenetrable at first, but which comes with some useful appendices: based on a real-world radio show. Great-looking though, being rendered in lovely monochrome.
A journal of an attempt to complete the Pacific Crest Trail, a hiking route through from Mexico to Canada. And an excellent thing it is too, detailing Healy’s fascination with the US and the Trail, and the challenges faced and friendships made on the route. Plenty to appreciate, not least the blend of simple illustrations and occasional prose sections. Recommended.