Noir Is the New Black: Noir Stories from Black Creators

FairSquare Comics. Sept. 2021. 148p. ed. by Fabrice Sapolsky & TC Harris. ISBN 9780999276631. pap. $25. GRAPHIC NOVELS
Curated by editors Sapolsky (Spider-Man Noir) and Harris (RetrEoN Media Alliance blog), these 16 stories serve up cynical characters facing love, work, and relationships gone sour, as well as other 1930s-era scenarios through Afrofuturism. A current-day detective reunites with a previous lover through time-traveling to the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre; a 1980s Little Rock, AR police officer confirms his kid sister’s conspiracy ravings; a World War II veteran avenges a lynched friend; entertainer Josephine Baker, heading off to speak at the 1963 March on Washington, defies a threat against her; a heroin-fueled pulp fiction writer gets a finale he could have written himself. Running only six-to-eight pages, each story resolves with a twist while whetting appetites for more. The realistic color art is all very good or excellent. However, a prose selection and a concluding preview-excerpt need work.
VERDICT The expert plotting that packs so much into each vignette can be breathtaking, while the skillful incorporation of historical injustices adds moral depth. This title will easily draw in mystery/crime readers looking to feed their fix.
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