Merriam-Webster defines “Noir” as crime-fiction featuring hard-boiled, cynical characters and bleak, sleazy settings. Comics have an advantage in this genre because of the dual text and visual elements of their storytelling. Not only can the character narrate the smoky underground, but you can see it before you, the lines of the artist expressing the emotion of the darkness.
Never delved into the Noir genre before? That’s okay, because we at The Comic Book Shop have got you covered! Here’s a selection of the darkest and seediest of the bunch.
The Last of the Innocent, A Criminal Edition by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips
Revisit the world of teen-romance, but this time, all those Archie-style characters have grown up and their world is now a lot more complicated than Riverdale’s small town perfection. Follow the main character into the dark reaches of his life, complicated by money, murder, and the American dream. Ed Brubaker is a master of his craft and this is a shining example of why you should care about his works.
Sin City by Frank Miller
Frank Miller brings us a brutal world with stark contrasts of light and dark along with judiciously placed splashes of color to enhance the intensity. “Plus lots of blood.” (Joe Cote)
Spider-Man Noir by Hine & Sapolsky
The year is 1933. This is the story of a Peter Parker born in a different era, with a completely different view of the world. Goblin, the corrupt mob boss, leads a gang of sideshow freaks against an angry young Spider-Man, set on justice. Be drawn into the world of Marvel Noir, a multiple mini-series in an alternate continuity that bring us the darker side of our favorite heroes.
Mystery Men from David Liss & Patrick Zircher
This is Marvel in the Great Depression. This is capes and fedoras. This is corrupt money and the first masked heroes the world has known. Murder and Justice. “It’s just really good. It’s one of my top picks.” (Titus)