Gary Dumm keeps a glass-fronted bookcase next to his drawing board, with first editions of Cain, Hammett and Chandler classics. His MR. GREY series is an elaborate homage to the hardboiled tradition; 'Dying in the Afterglow' takes the series to new levels of spellbinding moral ambiguity.
Jenni Gregory's DREAMWALKER series stars a woman who's dreamscape adventures draw her into the emotional lives of others. Her sleuth Felicity Winters exhibits a similar empathy in the whodunnit 'The Preacher's Daughter', handling cold cases with a warm heart.
In the anthology KEYHOLE, Josh Neufeld has been chronicling the autobiographical adventures of himself and his girlfriend Sari touring Southeast Asia. In 'I Left My Name in San Francisco' Josh and Sari take a fictitious Nick-and-Nora turn investigating a friend's strange behavior.
No mystery anthology would be complete without a gracious nod to the Master Detective himself. Alex Robinson takes a break from his hit slacker comedy series BOX OFFICE POISON to reveal the secrets of an aging eccentric in 'Altamont's Last Bow.'
Tim Truman and Joe R. Lansdale are the trailblazers who've revived DC comics' JONAH HEX to prominence as a ground-breaking Western series. In 'Dog, Cat, and Baby', they explore the homicidal impulses of man's best friend.
Grisham and Turow imitators may be swarming the best-seller list, but in comics, Batton Lash has the legal thriller genre all to himself. The movie version of WOLFF AND BYRD, COUNSELORS OF THE MACABRE will be coming soon to your local theatre, but in the meantime, enjoy the depositional duo in 'To Sue or Not to Sue.'
David Yurkovich's addictive off-center humor from DEATH BY CHOCOLATE and THRESHOLD is well-represented in 'The Eternity Pasta', a cuisinary query into longevity levity.
Jesse Reklaw's dream chronicles for CONCAVE UP and the daily strip SLOW WAVE have set new standards for somnolent sensationalism. One suspects that 'Spaced Out' is the result of him nodding off while watching The Cartoon Network.
Ben Adams and John F. Polacek are the creators of PRISONOPOLIS, an SF commentary on incarceration and social control. In the first of two darker satires, they focus on the media's glamorization of vicious killers in 'Scarhead.'
And Colin Upton, acerbic creator of the controversial graphic novel BUDDHA ON THE ROAD, aims a jab straight at the reader with 'Meat,' a pointed commentary on our obsession with violence.
Charles Dougherty and Robert Humble are immensely skilled American artists who work exclusively for the European comics market (the anthology THREADS is one of their rare stateside appearances.) Their mastery of gradually-building tension is well-displayed in two macabre tales, 'Affair of Honor' and 'Tigress,'
the latter written by Mort Castle, whose NIGHT CITY has been nominated for the International Horror Guild's "Best Graphic Story/Stories" award.
Best known for his satirical retro-SF series ASTOUNDING SPACE THRILLS, Steve Conley delivers a tense short about a killer on mass transit in 'The Ride.'
Mack White's surrealistic anthology VILLA OF THE MYSTERIES probed the limits of reality. A well-researched conspiracy theorist, White speculates here in more realistic fashion about mind control and the erasure of identity in 'Missing Time.'
THE TRESPASSERS creator Joe Zabel (that's me) finds romance and danger lurking in the shadows of a night-cloaked fire escape in 'Well of Darkness.'
Tony Consiglio's simple style belies the serious intent of his stories; his mini-comics series DOUBLE CROSS is one of the best and most overlooked comics being published today. 'Numb' is a haunting tragedy of covert exploitation.
Robert Humble (see 'Affair of Honor' in previous section) chronicles the ignoble fate awaiting a war casualty in 'Food Chain.'
For years, Michael Neno has toiled in obscurity on quirky minis like 'This Eternal Flaw.' His most triumphantly ambitious comics work to date, 'A Greater Honor' plumbs the heart of darkness in a corrupt family.
The theme of fatherhood has never been treated with more passion and depth in comics than in Joe Chiappetta's award-winning avant-garde series SILLY DADDY. In 'A Farewell to Troubles' Joe reminds us that love relationships can be as full of mystery as any whodunnit.
In TRUE ARTIST TALES, Scott Gilbert has taken the weekly newspaper strip to places it's never been before-- quirky pop-art gag fests, zen musings, and compelling serialized graphic novels. His adaptation of Sigman Byrd's 'Comanche' is the perfect evocation of the noir ethos, where sex, savagery, and doom mix together in an intoxicating brush with eternity.