Modern Crime Comics and Graphic Novels

by Blaise Tassone

668575_lady-killer-1-195x300 Modern Crime Comics and Graphic Novels

In this post, inspired by my previous look at the pre-code horror/crime comics of the past, I want to look at some modern versions of crime comics. There are some good ones out there, in terms of story and art, many of which would give Crime SuspenStories a run for its money.

Although it’s highly unlikely that these modern crime comics will be worth as much as their classic Golden Age forebears, at least we are past the stage where any of them are likely to be used in some kind of Senatorial investigation into juvenile delinquency. At least not any time soon. That said, some of these comics may nonetheless still appreciate in value in the future.

If that happens, it won’t be due to shock value but, as is the case these days, because of movie deals alerting the wider public to the brand. So read these and tell your friends about them. Yes, many of them are aimed at adults, but even if teenagers get hold of and read them I don’t think there’s any fear of little Johnny chopping his sister’s head off. Still, just to be safe, do keep them away from young children. That said, the modern crime comics to keep an eye on, for my money, are the following:

Lady Killer #1 [Dark Horse] (January, 2015)

We can start with this great modern crime comic by Joëlle Jones. Lady Killer is about a housewife named Josie Schuller. On the surface, Josie is a June Cleaver style mother and wife who, to the outside world, is living the conformist 1960s American suburban existence. To her neighbors and friends, her life is one non-stop fulfillment of the ‘Father Knows Best’ or ‘Leave it to Beaver’ stereotypes. By night, however, Josie is a contract killer and she’d give James Bond a run for his money. Fredric Wertham would have loved this one. Currently, this comic is still affordable and a 9.8 can be had for just over $100.00 in CGC graded form and much less raw. A sequel to Lady Killer, Lady Killer 2 was released in 2017 and is just as good as the original. If a movie deal ever happens, this is the kind of comic that can really appreciate in value. Remember, you heard it here first.

100 Bullets #1 [DC/Vertigo] (August, 1999)

100 Bullets by Brian Azzarello is another crime comic worth checking out. A jig saw puzzle of a series that starts out telling many loosely connected stories and eventually comes together into a larger narrative. The series was originally set to take place in exactly 100 issues, and while it did somewhat lose a bit of steam in the later chapters, it’s still a great crime comic. With high grades of this one currently seeing a dip in prices, now is probably the best time to swoop in and pick it up.

A History of Violence [DC] (1997)

A History of Violence by John Wagner and Vince Locke is the story of Tom McKenna. After McKenna stops a robbery at his store, he becomes a local hero, but he also draws some unwanted attention to himself. It isn’t long before we learn about his violent past and involvement with the mafia. The graphic novel was made into a film directed by David Cronenberg in 2016 starring Viggo Mortensen. The graphic novel is a lot better than the film and fairly easy to find. Still affordable in high grade and a great addition to your crime comic collection, even if it probably won’t shoot up in value any time soon.

Sin City [Dark Horse] (June, 1992)

We end with some vintage Frank Miller. The successful 2005 movie adaptation of this comic featured Mickey Rourke, Bruce Willis and Jessica Alba among others. There was a sequel released in 2014 titled ‘Sin City: A Dame to Kill For’, and now there’s talk of a new movie or possibly a TV show in the works. This is Miller at his gritty best with great characters, great plot and great art. This one is currently off people’s radar, pick up a copy now before the new projects come out which could see it jump up in value.

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