Category Archives: Noir Comics

Noir Comics Giveaway | Vertigo Crime Bundle

Noir Comics Giveaway Vertigo Crime Bundle

3 Vertigo Crime Hardcovers and 1 Trade Paperback

 UPDATE December 12, 2011:

Congrats to our giveaway winner: Stephen Porter! Thanks to everyone for participating! Please keep checking for future giveaways! 

It’s that time again! The noir loving community has given so much to me that it’s time to give back. So I’m giving away some excellent noir comics absolutely FREE. Here’s whats included:

The Chill by Jason Starr and Mick Bertilorenzi (hardcover)

Dark Entries by Ian Rankin and Werther Dell’edera (hardcover)

Filthy Rich by  Brian Azzarello and Victor Santos (hardcover)

and a bonus:

Scalped: The Gravel in Your Guts by Jason Aaron, Davide Furno, and R.M. Guera

The entire bundle will be shipped free of cost to the winner. Want in? Here’s what you do:

“Like” the NoirWhale Facebook Fan Page anytime BEFORE midnight December 11th and you will automatically be entered into the drawing. (YES, if you have already done so, you are already in the running). 

The winner will be announced on Monday December 12th, and the bundle will be shipped out to them the following day!


Good luck to all the participants, I’m sure you will enjoy these noir comics as much as I have!

Noir Comics Giveaway Vertigo Crime Bundle

...a great starter library for any noir comics collector...

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Noir Comics | Sin City by Frank Miller

Noir Comics Sin City Collection

my collection, forgive the grainy photo

Instead of pursuing this review in my normal fashion, which is to analyze each volume of a noir comic with its own posting, I have determined to mix things up; Here I will provide one paragraph on each of the seven volumes of the Frank Miller classic Sin City. This review will not be a regurgitation of plot lines or summary, instead it will focus on the noir aspects of the work as a whole both pleasing and displeasing. Having freshly devoured the entire series within a span of two weeks, I feel qualified to approach Sin City with a critical and subjective eye.

1) The Hard Goodbye

Frank Miller’s series begins with ferocity. Immediately the reader is immersed in a world where sexual ecstasy and violence drip off the walls like wet paint. Within this seedy underworld our first anti-hero, Marv, staggers angrily out of the inciting incident; the murder of the only woman who ever loved him. Marv’s strengths are as impressive as his weaknesses are redeeming. He is on heavy prescription medications because he is prone to confusion and hallucination, his brutal strength makes him the frequent victim and perpetrator of horrific trauma, and he is as gentle as a kitten when dealing with the fairer sex. He is the most perfect anti-hero in any of the noir comics I have read.

Noir Comics Sin City Hard Goodbye


2) A Dame To Kill For

The second volume of Sin City paints a beautifully cruel portrait of the femme fatale archetype. The reader watches Dwight, a clean-cut, reformed alcoholic, slowly lose his self-control and self-respect to the subtle and conniving influence of the wicked Ava. Her goddess like beauty coupled with her luciferic sexual rhetoric eventually dominates Dwight, and leads him to commit the irreversible sin of murder. An intensely entertaining and frighteningly dark noir plot.

Noir Comics Sin City Dame to Kill For


3) The Big Fat Kill

Volume three is most memorable for its sudden plot twist, where a dead grabby goon in Old Town turns out to be a hero cop and a death knell in the shaky truce that keeps the working girls safe. Sweat, desperation, and fear drive the story and tie the seedy underworld of this volume together. Most interesting are the references to the Spartans memorable battle at Thermopylae, it seems that Frank had the seeds of 300 in mind even as he was early into his Sin City saga. Also, the dialogue was near noir perfect between Jackie Boy and Dwight on the ride to the Santa Yolanda Tar Pits.

Noir Comics Sin City The Big Fat Kill


4) That Yellow Bastard

Frank Miller’s best comic, hands down, is Sin City volume four. Although the previous three volumes were excellent, he hits his high point in That Yellow Bastard and then never returns to it (more on that later). The reason that the story sails is because of how endearing Detective Hartigan is and how detestable Roark Junior’s pedophilia is. Additionally, the plot seems to be the least recognizable of any noir crime fiction or noir comics that I have ever read. This originality coupled with the uniquely detailed characters and dialogue makes That Yellow Bastard the black laces on the corset of Sin City. 

Noir Comics Sin City That Yellow Bastard


5) Family Values

The fifth volume is an homage to the “Miller-boner” that Frank has for the deadly female assassin Miho. I will be the first to admit that Miho is really cool, but upon closer inspection she is much more of a caricature than a character. She is a product of Asian martial art stereotypes in the same vein as Tarantino’s O-ren Ishii, and has as much depth as a cinder block. The premise of the story delivered on intrigue, but was ultimately predictable and fell flat in comparison with volume 4. Its at this phase that Nancy has completely faded from the setting, and new characters are being introduced in rapid succession. It only gets worse.

Noir Comics Sin City Family Values


6) Booze, Broads, and Bullets

Train-wreck. Volume six of Sin City is comprised of a collection of “one-shots” and it was horrid reading. It felt like Frank Miller was completely tired of the series; it showed in the dialogue and it showed in the artwork. Very few pages were crafted with the lust for detail of the earlier volumes, and the stories felt forced or contrived. The only redeeming aspect was the introduction of Delia, AKA “Blue Eyes.” She’s a bada**.

Noir Comics Sin City Booze Broads and Bullets


7) Hell and Back

I’m met with uncomfortable and mixed feelings as I contemplate this last volume of Sin City. It had several noir aspects that I was impressed with, but again I felt like the artwork and the attention span of the author was slipping. That, coupled with the worst closing lines to any story ever (“they talked about many things.”) made me extremely sad. He seemed to introduce new characters with reckless abandon and little care paid to back story or real development. Hell and Back is as sloppy as it is disappointing. What a sorrowful dirge to such a promising canon of noir comics.

Noir Comics Sin City Hell and Back


I will always be a fan of Sin City, even if I feel it is an unpleasantly lopsided. If you are only going to read one of them, read That Yellow Bastard.

protip: you can see EVERY page of the entire Sin City saga at


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Noir Comics | Calvin and Hobbes Part 4

My favorite noir comics parody continues with Calvin and Hobbes part 4:

Noir Comics Calvin and Hobbes Part 4

the goon...

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Noir Comics | Calvin and Hobbes Part 3

raising the noir comics bar:

Noir Comics Calvin and Hobbes Part 3

say hello to my little friend...

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Noir Comics | Scalped: Dead Mothers

Noir Comics Scalped Dead Mothers Cover

Scalped: Dead Mothers Cover

The third installment of the Scalped series was as powerful and heart-pounding as the rest. Jason Aaron and R.M. Guéra once again show their deft hand at crafting incredibly emotional noir comics.

The Prairie Rose reservation becomes the scene of two murders: One, a junkie found strangled, leaving behind a handful of orphans with more similarities to Dashiell then he’d care to admit. The other is Dash’s own mother, Gina, who has been brutally scalped and slaughtered.

Noir Comics Scalped Dead Mothers Dashiell Badhorse and Orphans

Dash tells the orphans their mother has been murdered.

“…gritty and honest, it’s a new type of noir and the best word to describe… [SCALPED]…is brilliant.” – Crimespree Magazine

The real beauty of this volume of Scalped is how the plot weaves the psychological torment of an estranged son craving redemption (estranged not only from his mother Gina but from his people). J. Aaron and R.M. Guéra are so incredible at speaking volumes without saying anything at all. Poignant emotions hang just beyond our reach as Dashiell and others act out in destructive ways and attempt to cope in unhealthy ways. Noir comics like these are one in a million.

Noir Comics Scalped Dead Mothers Chief Red Crow Acts Out

Chief Red Crow coping in unhealthy ways...


Noir Comics Scalped Dead Mothers Dashiell Badhorse Acts Out

Dash coping in unhealthy ways...

My favorite scene occurs near the end of Dead Mothers, so brace yourselves for spoilers. [SPOILER] Dashiell goes to a bar to drink himself into oblivion, and he purposely picks a fight with a huge group of locals. They drag him outside and beat him to a pulp, and then he wanders off in a drunken stupor down the highway. Cars swerve to miss him as he walks down the middle of the road and mutters obscenities to himself. After several hours, he collapses. Crawling in confusion, he finally stops to gather his bearings and realizes that he has walked to his mother’s house. Her front porch is covered in flowers from friends and mourners, and the most prominent wreath reads “We Miss You Gina.” Dash sits motionless for many long moments, and then violently weeps. The scene ends as he stands up and walks inside, finally home. [SPOILER]

Noir Comics Scalped Dead Mothers Chief Red Crow Mourns Gina

Chief Red Crow mourns Gina Badhorse


Noir Comics Scalped Dead Mothers Dashiell Badhorse Mourns Gina

Dash mourns his mother.

After this moment in the comic, I finally realized that the central theme of the entire story is Dash’s journey home. His journey to redeem himself and reconcile with his mother and his people. He’s lost the chance to make things right with his mother… will he lose the chance with his people as well?

If you haven’t picked up these noir comics yet, please, please, please, please come to your senses and get it. You won’t be disappointed.

Noir Comics Scalped Dead Mothers Indian Land Page

"You are on Indian Land."

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Noir Comics | Calvin and Hobbes Part 2

Part 2 of the one of my favorite noir comics from Calvin and Hobbes:

Noir Comics | Calvin and Hobbes Part 2

the patsy...


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Noir Comics | Sally the Sleuth

The following noir comics strip is a classic example of the misogyny that permeates the genre. This page is from Spicy Detective November 1936 by Adolphe Barreaux.

Noir Comics Sally the Sleuth Adolphe Barreaux

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Noir Comics | Batman’s Gotham Noir

Noir Comics Batman's Gotham Noir Cover

you had me at Brubaker...

Here is a delicious noir comics announcement from ifanboy:

DC is finally reprinting the classic Elseworlds story from 2001 by the creative team behind Criminal. The story is set in Gotham City in 1949 and stars hard boiled private detective Jim Gordon, and if you’re a fan of Brubaker and Phillips’ work on Criminal picking up this one is a no-brainer. If all of that’s not enough, I highlighted this book on one of our vault video shows way back in the first year of the show, back when we were young and fancy free and didn’t have professional lights. Check it out.

I’m a bit hesitant still, even though Batman’s Gotham Noir looks amazing, Brubaker in 2001 is a far cry from Brubaker now. I recently read some of his earlier noir stuff and it really doesn’t hold a candle to his newer entries. For example: I didn’t like Sleeper….GASP! Are you surprised? don’t be, it’s way over-hyped and underdeveloped. Especially if you’ve read Incognito, which is extremely more enjoyable as a noir comic. Nevertheless, I’ll be purchasing, reading and reviewing this one soon. Thanks for the tip Zach S. !

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Noir Comics | Calvin and Hobbes

Here’s a noir comics classic from the newspaper of my youth:

Noir Comics Calvin and Hobbes

pfft. dames.

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Noir Comics | Richard Stark’s The Hunter

Noir Comics Richard Starks Parker The Hunter Splash Page

The paneling in this noir comic is inspired.

As far as noir comics are concerned, it’s hard to find much better than The Hunter. Donald E. Westlake aka “Richard Stark” pens like a boss and the adaptation from Darwyn Cooke is flawless. (Not to mention the fact that his art is erection inducing. Why can’t Darwyn and Brubaker get together for some noir comics creation you say? What if I told you they did? More to follow later). iFanboy named this graphic novel 2009’s “Book of the Year,” and I’m here to testify, they weren’t wrong. Once again, lets run The Hunter down the noir definition that we have created thus far:

1) The Seedy Underworld

New York City, 1962 for the majority, with a couple of dips down to Miami Beach for some R&R. A criminal’s gotta spend that grr somewhere right?


Noir Comics Richard Starks Parker The Hunter New York City 1962

perfect setting for a perfect noir comic

2) The Anti- Hero

Parker is one of the most fabulous noir creations in the entire genre. So bad you hate to love him, yet so damn cool you’re seduced regardless. In the noir comic The Hunter, Parker is on the warpath for revenge. A dame and a fiend who screwed him out of his take in his cross hairs. He never wavers and never relents, and come hell or high-water he’ll get his money back.

Noir Comics Richard Starks Parker The Hunter Parker

Parker himself, a mean noir comic S.O.B. and anti-hero

3) The Femme Fatale

Lynn. The dame that should have known better.  The following interaction between the two is priceless:

Lynn: “I’m glad you’re not dead. Isn’t that stupid?”

Parker: “Yes.”

Lynn: “You ought to kill me.”

Parker: “Maybe I will.”

Lynn: “I keep taking pills. Every night. If I don’t take the pills I don’t sleep. I think about you and how you’re dead and how I wish– I wish it was me.”

Parker: “Take too many pills.”

The greatest way to say, “go kill yourself” that I have ever heard.


Noir Comics Richard Starks Parker The Hunter Mal

desperation dive from Mal

4) Misogyny

Noir misogyny was found in healthy doses throughout the novel, particularly in Parker’s “equal opportunity” killing style. Doesn’t matter if you are a man or a woman, if you are in Parker’s way you get killed. In one scene where the theme really shines through he lifts a hooker off the ground by her hair to get some information that he wants.

5) Redemption

Revenge. Parker won’t feel the cleansing breath of redemption until his money is back where it belongs.

Noir Comics Richard Starks Parker The Hunter Cover

the dust cover and title art

6) Loss of Innocence

Lynn was Parker’s wife and she betrayed him. What once was holy became defiled and fed the monster of vengeance inside Parker.

7) Eroticism

There really wasn’t much eroticism in this noir comic, but there were several prostitutes/sex workers who visited Mal (the dirty double-crosser). Mal bought women because they wouldn’t want him for free.

Mal was disgusted. He wasn’t sure why he splurged on the penthouse suite anymore than he was sure why he was throwing away a c-note on a broad who couldn’t possibly do more for him than Pearl would- probably for less.

“Sweet baby Jesus.”

He knew he would never have better.

“Hello, Mal. I’m Linda.”

If he lived a hundred years he’d never have anything again as good as this. Better in the rack maybe, but not better looking, not more desirable or perfect than this.

If you have not read this noir comic, “Take too many pills.”

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