David Lynch has finally uploaded FIRE (POZAR), the experimental animated short he did in 2015, to his new David Lynch Theater on YouTube.
To create it, Lynch shared the still drawings he'd done for the piece with composer Marek Zebrowski (who did the music for Lynch's Inland Empire) and didn't share any further details. After Zebrowski had composed the music, animator Noriko Miyakawa put together the final animated short.
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Police procedural novelist Michael Connelly is a connoisseur of jazz music so it's no surprise that his most famous character, LAPD detective Hieronymus 'Harry' Bosch, is also a deep enthusiast of the genre. (Connelly has a page on his personal Web site all about the "music in the novels.") Illustrator Russell Walks took those cues and his own penchant for Los Angeles noir and mid-century design to create a terrific series of imaginary Michael Connelly albums released by Blue Note Records.
"Most of these pieces were influenced or inspired by the work of Reid Miles, the designer who created somewhere around 500 covers for Blue Note Records in the mid-twentieth century," Russell writes. "I’m not breaking new ground here; Miles’ work has been the launching point for a thousand other designers and artists. Still, there’s something about the way these mid-century colors & typefaces just seem to fit Harry’s L.A., a place where shadows and sadness are as common as sunshine."
"The Bosch Series" (Russell Walks Illustration)
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I've never had to knock on wood, but after watching this, it makes me wonder if I could. Read the rest
Marvel found a lot of success with their street-level Netflix series, focusing on those less-super superheroes like Daredevil and Jessica Jones. Across town, Batman has always been one of the most beloved DC heroes, more because of his lack of powers than despite them.
Now, Comixology's original digital-only publishing line is offering their own twist on the gritty powerless superhero genre with The Black Ghost. Written by comics and crime writer (and Archie Comics co-president) Alex Segura and comic writer/artist Monica Gallagher with art by Marco Finnegan and George Kambadais, the comic follows a bitter alcoholic beat reporter named Lara Dominguez, whose obsession with a local vigilante called the Black Ghost gets her wrapped up in multilevel crime syndicate that has its eyes as much on real estate and media as it does in petty crimes. It feels like both an origin story, and a chapter in a larger story that's been going on for years — just like a good superhero comic should.
The story takes place in a city called Creighton. And while we don't know where exactly that is (the protagonist's former life in Miami has followed her to this new dying city), the grey skies and crumbling buildings could be almost any fading former factory hub along the East Coast. As I read, I kept thinking of it as the Bridgeport version of Gotham City or Metropolis — generic, but accessible, and fleshed out just enough to make it feel lived-in and real.
From the first issue, it's clear that The Black Ghost is going to shamelessly lean into the tropes of the genre — but with just enough inversions of expectations. Read the rest
[Before he was a crime writer, Alex Segura was busily overseeing the edgy, amazing reboot of Archie Comics. Now, he's murging his murder-mystery career with his comics life, in The Black Ghost, a new noir comics collaboration with Monica Gallagher. It's a delight to offer this conversation between Alex and Monica. -Cory]
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Earlier this month, I reviewed Richard Kadrey's new novel "The Grand Dark" for the LA Times; as I wrote, "His latest is “The Grand Dark,” a noir, diesel punk book set in a Weimar world of war trauma, debauchery, cabaret and looming disaster — and it's superb."
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Regular readers will know Richard Kadrey (previously) from his bestselling Sandman Slim series, but as much as I love those books, I think I love his latest, "The Grand Dark" -- a noir/dieselpunk novel set in a fictionalized weimar city in a brief, hectic interwar period -- even more.
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is one of my all-time favorite authors, whose "Eight Worlds" stories and novels have been strung out over decades, weaving together critical takes on Heinlein and other "golden age" writers with mindfuckingly great technological/philosophical speculation, genderbending, genre-smashing prose, and some of the most likable, standout characters in the field.
A bunch of years ago, I was sitting at a LA Kings Hockey game, noticing the music the game made. The skates on the ice. The slap of the sticks. The puck being handled and passed around. The grunts. The whistles. The roar of the crowd. The bursts of music clips. The Zamboni. And in that moment, I knew that I had come up with the idea that for my new opera it would have something to do with Hockey.
Steven Brust is a literary treasure
and his longrunning Vlad Taltos series
, now nearing its final volume, is a good example of where his strengths lie: hardboiled plotting, snappy dialog, weirdly realistic and plausible depictions of magic, and a sensitive eye for power relationships and their depiction, all of which are on display in his latest, outstanding novel, Good Guys
, about the minimum-wage sorcerers who investigate magical crimes on behalf of a secret society.
Tom Blachford chronicled Palm Springs at midnight (previously). Now he's back with Nihon Noir, a Blade Runner inspired look at Tokyo at night, like this imposing shot of the Edo-Tokyo Museum. Read the rest
Brian K Vaughan and artists Marcos Martin and Muntsa Vicente started syndicating The Private Eye
just before the first Snowden revelations hit, which was a fortuitous bit of timing for them, since their surreal science fictional tale was set in a future where the rupture of all internet security had provoked humanity into banning the internet altogether, replacing it with a world where cable news was so dominant that the police had been replaced by reporters.
Illustrator Maxim Zhestkov demonstrates how simple shapes and gradients can convey a mood in his Future Noir series. The small silhouettes of humans give an eerie sensibility to the images. Read the rest
If Raymond Chandler was writing for the Brothers Quay, it might feel like The Agitated, a fantastic new short film directed by Preston Maybank. The stop-motion animated film tells the dark, witty, and weird story of Guy, a creepy clown puppet who breaks free from the literal and figurative strings controlling his life and embarks on a nightmarish journey through his own tortured soul. This is cartoon noir at its finest. And if the voice of Foxy sounds familiar, that's because the character is played by John Billingsley, Doctor Phlox on Star Trek: Enterprise! The Agitated is making the film festival rounds or you can rent it for a couple bucks on Vimeo On Demand.
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Vigilante superhero tales tend to revolve around seeking justice outside of a failed system, and the idea that one man or woman can cause real change within that system by punching people. In short, they are fantasies, and popular in part because they suggest impossibly simple solutions to complex problems. In Cape, an interactive fiction story created by Bruno Dias for the ongoing Interactive Fiction Competition, you become one of those shadowy figures trying right wrongs in a crime-ridden city. But since wealth inequality lies at the heart of all the problems you encounter, well... let's just say that it's an uphill battle.
You can choose your gender and your nationality, though your options for the latter are limited: Whether you're Kenyan, Vietnamese, Slovenian or Mexican, you're going to be an immigrant, you're going to be poor, and life is going to be hard. You begin your story in a moment of desperation, about to break into a townhouse in a recently gentrified neighborhood to find whatever valuables you can and survive another day.
The story opens with a newspaper clipping that signals the precise flavor of dystopia that awaits. The article details a "passing tax" that will be levied on buildings based on their number of entrances and exits; apparently, suspects trying to evade police drones have been ducking into "passing houses" to escape surveillance, and they'd like to discourage that.
Yes, the watchful digital eyes of a corrupt police state are all around you, co-mingling with the more traditional violence of thieves and gangsters. Read the rest
In Made to Kill
, Adam Christopher presents us with a mashup of Raymond Chandler and Philip K Dick: the world's last robot (all the others were destroyed after they stole everyone's jobs) and his boss, a building-sized computer, who operate a private detective agency that's a front for an assassination business. And business is good.
It's in Farsi, it's beautifully-shot film noir, it has a female lead, and you have to see it. Read the rest