Animal Noir #1

by stephengervais on March 01, 2017

Writer: Izar Lunacek and Nejc Juren
Artist: Izar Lunacek
Publisher: IDW Publishing
This issue really caught me off guard. I like to check out a variety of first issues from a wide range of publishers to discover new comic book worlds and creators. This one had a team I’d never heard of and I always enjoy a good anthropomorphic tail (pun intended) so I decided to add it to my to-read pile. What a great decision! I was instantly thrust into a hardboiled crime story filled with foul language and shady characters straight out of a Mickey Spillane novel. Well, except for all the characters are represented by members of the animal kingdom.
The story centers on a Private Investigator, who happens to be a giraffe, Manny. He’s hired by his uncle, an important judge, to locate essentially an animal snuff film starring his wife. These “adult films” are prey fantasy hunts where one animal eats another. It would be devastating for the judge’s reputation if it got out.
The creators do a wonderful job introducing us to quite a few characters throughout the issue. In the short period of one issue I feel very comfortable in this new world and have a good handle on the cast and their roles. The characters were given enough attention to establish an identity with the reader.  This can be a very difficult feat to accomplish within the span of a single issue. Lunacek and Juren not only accomplish this but they also maintain a fluid narrative which keeps the reader engaged and entertained.
The artwork is the main element that made this a surprise read for me. The characters are drawn in a cartoonish manner which made me think this was going to be more of satirical look at old time pulp stories. It didn’t take long to realize that this was actually a gritty crime story. The night scenes really emphasize this grittiness by using lots of darker colours and shading in the panels. The backgrounds offer some great details like torn movie posters, garbage, and graffiti to give the city a harsher look. Don’t get me wrong the story is not a serious Brubaker/Phillips type of crime read but it’s not an all-ages affair as glimpse of the cover might lead you to believe.
This was a fun read put together by two very talented creators. They managed to transport us into an old time detective story with a unique twist to it. This opening issue introduced some great characters and their world in an entertaining manner. Hopefully this is just the beginning of what could be a delightful series.

Our Score:


A Look Inside