Gotham was certainly an interesting prospect when it was first announced, and many Batman fans were unsure whether a TV show about a rookie Jim Gordon and a child Bruce Wayne could work. Now we’re halfway through season 2, and the show continues to surprise with how weird and wonderful it can be, while providing interesting and unique takes on classic Batman tropes.

If watching Gotham has inspired you to try out some more noir crime comics, we have some suggestions. We're going to look beyond the obvious choices of Batman, Detective Comics, and the comic that most directly inspired Gotham, Gotham Central. Instead, we’ve picked out five of the best independent crime and detective books for you to check out

  • Criminal: The Sinners

    Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips & Val Staples

    Tracy Lawless is in debt to the mob, and the only way he can pay that off is by using the skills he developed in the army, so when a string of supposedly untouchable mob bosses start turning up dead, it’s up to Tracy to solve the murders before the police get involved. What he doesn’t know is that he’s being hunted by the U.S. Army, which wants him back after he deserted a year prior.

    The Sinners is the fifth volume of Brubaker and Phillips' Criminal, and almost a direct sequel to Lawless, but every volume stands superbly on its own, and you if you love the mob politics of Gotham, you’ll absolutely love The Sinners.

  • Blacksad

    Juan Diaz Canales & Juanjo Guarnido

    Blacksad is a hard-boiled classic detective story set in a crime-riddled city filled with racism, corruption and decadence. The series follows John Blacksad, a World War II veteran turned grizzled private investigator with an antagonistic relationship with the police. Also, he’s a cat, living in a world of anthropomorphic animals that closely resembles our own.

    Even at a glance, it’s easy to see that Blacksad’s artist Juanjo Guarnido worked at Disney before he left to pursue comics, and the vibrant world of Blacksad often contrasts with the gritty, real-world content of the stories. If you love seeing Jim and Harvey work the beat in Gotham, you'll get a kick out of Blacksad.

  • Richard Stark's Parker: Slayground

    Darwyn Cooke

    IDW’s Parker adaptations have been a match made in heaven with Richard Stark’s iconic crook brought to life masterfully in the timeless style of Darwyn Cooke.

    Slayground takes place almost entirely in an out-of-hours amusement park as Parker uses his wits to utilize everything he has at his disposal in the park to make it out alive. If you’re a fan of the infamous Balloonman episode of Gotham, and like your realistic crime drama mixed with a little bit of Batman ‘66, then Slayground is right up your alley.

  • Nailbiter

    Joshua Williamson, Mike Henderson & Adam Guzowski

    Nailbiter has one heck of an elevator pitch, one that’s bound to make anyone’s ears perk up. A small town in Oregon has produced sixteen infamous serial killers, and there’s a reason why. The series follows Military Intelligence Officer Nicholas Finch as he arrives in Buckaroo, Oregon, looking for the friend who apparently cracked the reason why so many serial killers came from here, and then disappeared.

    Nailbiter is one of the most gripping police dramas on the stands right now, as the dual narrative of the mystery of Buckaroo and the past of its most recent serial killer, the eponymous Nailbiter, play out side by side. If you watch Gotham for the villains, or are a fan of NBC’s Hannibal, you’ll want to be checking out Nailbiter.

  • She Died In Terrebonne

    Kevin Church & T.J. Kirsch

    While on the surface it might seem like a standard murder-mystery, the heart of She Died In Terrebonne lies in its character work and how invested you become with Sam Kimimura and his struggles as an Asian-American private detective working a small-town runaway-turned-murder case in the mid-'70s.

    She Died In Terrebonne started life as a webcomic, but one that pays homage to the serialized cartoon strips found in newspapers. If you love a good whodunit, then you’ll love to play along with Sam as he picks apart the lives of the people of Terrebonne on his quest to the truth.


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