Crime is a brutal truth of real life and something we never want to experience in real life, but there's something about a good crime story.
In 2025, writer Joseph P. Illidge and artist ChrisCross will tell a '20s crime noir set in Harlem called The Winterfields, but they're previewing it with a new short that'll be the lead story in a new expanded edition of the sold-out black anthology Noir is the New Black from FairSquare Comics. Described as Lone Wolf & Cub meets the Road to Perdition, the WInterfields is "a love letter to the Harlem Renaissance of the '20s" according to Illidge.
The Winterfields centers around a World War I soldier who has returned home from the war, only to find many of his fellow Americans still look down on him due to the color of his skin. Eeking out a living as a bodyguard to put over his and his 10-year ols sun Carver's head, the unsteady life they have is thrown in disarray when a women he was hired to prtect goes missing, with a hot-headed husband coming to Cain to find someone to blame.
"I'm a big fan of crime novels, so writing The Winterfields gave me an opportunity to cut loose and vibe off of some of my favorite authors in the genre," Illidge tells Popverse. "Tonally, it's akin to Walter Mosley, but with the immediacy of Lee Child's Jack Reacher."
"Part of the fun was taking the tried and true elements of crime noir and throwing something unexpected into the mix. Readers will get what I mean once they've experienced the whole story," says Illidge.
The story in this month's expanded Noir is the New Black is described as "the cold open" to the 2025 original graphic novel the Winterfields. Here's a preview:
"The same way the noir-inspired beginning of Casino Royale with Daniel Craig can stand on its own, but once you see it from the 10,000 foot view as part of something bigger and more epic, that's when you have the 'a-ha' moment," says Illidge. "It's even more striking when you know what it really says about the characters. We can't wait to share more of Cain and Carver's story in our upcoming graphic novel."
"My goal has been to psychologically engage the audience to feel addicted to the 'hard as nails' atmosphere guided by characters Cain and Carver," says Chriscross. "I am always trying to match Joe's imagination in the way that he depicts his script to try to give the material more than what was asked, and to make the characters act in a way that the audience would feel something. We want to put the reader into a time period that is rarely captured in graphic novels."
The expanded Noir is the New Black hits stands January 31, with the full The Winterfields graphic novele expected in 2025.
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