Crime is a fact of the human species, a fact of that species alone, but it is above all the secret aspect, impenetrable, and hidden. Crime hides, and by far the most terrifying things are those which elude us. – Georges Bataille
Thus begins’ Dark Horse’s Noir.
The book, as the title and the cover suggest, is dark. Dark Horse’s mixtape of thirteen diverse stories from diverse writers and artists fixates on one theme – people are awful. Contributors include such big names as Brian Azzarello, Ed Brubaker, and Eduardo Barreto. While I enjoy a self-destructive gumshoe and a dangerous lover as much as the next Raymond Chandler fan, this book was much too dark for me. It’s heavy. Maybe it’s because of the length of the shorts (it’s right in the title), but I just couldn’t get into the stories or care much about the characters. Without having emotional investment in the story or the characters, it was hard for me to feel much beyond being glad the read was almost over.
However, the consistency of the great art kept me from one-starring this one. It’s very impressive what the artists can do with black & white. Some of the art is cartoony, some is almost lifelike, and some reminds me of early 90s alt cartoons. My favorite work was done by Joelle Jones, Fabio Moon & Gabriel Ba, and the aforementioned Barreto.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, I’m also reading As If!, the oral history of Clueless. I highly recommend that one – look for the review in a week or two!