In Star Noir a 1940s detective teams up with a grey alien to stop a shapeshifter killing LAPD officers.
Star Noir is a 6-part detective story following Homicide Detective Alan Miller and his grey alien partner Ellis Tate as they travel across 1940s Los Angeles to find an elusive shapeshifter killing officers in Central Station.
It’s inspired by the grit and tone of noir books like James Elroy’s The Big Nowhere, has the snappy dialogue of Humphrey Bogart’s The Big Sleep, and depicts a stylized 1940s Los Angeles as seen in movies like Chinatown and L.A. Confidential. In book one we will get a glimpse of this world and see how Detective Miller meets his partner.
THE CREATIVE TEAM
The Star Noir series was created and written by Tony James. The artist, Pablo De Bonis, has worked on books like North Bend for Scout Comics. The colorist, Vinicius Townsend, has worked for publishers like IDW on titles like G.I. Joe. Marco Ventura, a published Italy-based letterer, puts a great deal of creative thought and style to bring this noir book series to life.
Tony James has written several stories in various genres and mediums over the last decade. His last comic, Reloader was a cyberpunk comic about a virtual reality bounty hunter. He also worked on a webcomic called Mustachio, about a talking pistachio with an oversized mustache. He also has a YouTube channel called The Writest, where I break down storytelling in video games. Overall, I was not familiar with any member of this team.
Star Noir: The Silver Starlight is the first book of the Star Noir series. The book is a 46-page perfect bound graphic novel. The binding of the book was well done. The book contains a title page, a credit page, 40 story pages, a thank you page, 2 pages of sketch art, and the backer’s list page.
On the inner covers, front and back is a map of Los Angeles illustrated. The book is missing the publisher’s information and copyright notes. Noting that this is a first edition I hope the next volume will include these missing details.
The story of Silver Starlight takes place in Los Angeles, U.S.A. in 1947. Detective Alan Miller, a man who has nightmares about being abducted by aliens, is called to investigate the murder of beloved Traffic Detective Patrick Perkins. When Alan arrives at the crime scene on the 6th Street Bridge, he finds the late Detective brutally murdered with his heart removed from his chest. Detective Miller’s only lead in the case is a beautiful silver Studebaker Starlight left abandoned on the bridge with another person’s blood inside.
With more questions than answers, Alan is met in the middle of the night by a grey alien who speaks to him telepathically. The alien informs Alan that a shapeshifter not only killed Patrick Perkins but that this creature is hiding within Central Police Station.
Alan brushes off his encounter, but the next day, finds the same grey alien speaking to his Captain in Central Station. Alan barges into the office with his 1911 pistol drawn, only to find a benevolent short young man named Ellis Tate waiting for him. The Homicide Captain pairs a reluctant Alan with Ellis to solve Patrick Perkins’ murder.
The story is interesting but starts with a bloody scene that leads to a panel with a gory crime scene. A friendly reminder that this is a story for the mature-minded. This is a world where everyone has a dark secret. The central theme explores how those secrets consume those who choose to hide their demons from others.
As Homicide Captain Gene Higgins puts it:
“The Devil can’t hide from his sins forever.”
It’s also on the back cover of the book. Star Noir is packed with vintage cars, bombastic lounge singers, appearances from celebrities like Orson Welles, classic gangsters, and of course, aliens. At the heart of it is a gripping murder mystery that deepens with every page turn. The art style beautifully matches with the vintage 40s. Overall it was a good read.
The crowdfunding campaign for the first book of the Star Noir series was on Kickstarter and Indiegogo. I backed “The Fallen Idol Tier” on Indiegogo which includes the physical book, the digital version, and then the backers’ name in the thank you section.
The team did a good job by posting bi-weekly updates on the platform and sending emails. It’s important to use the chosen crowdfunding platform to share updates and not only mention them on social media or video-playing platforms. Not everyone has the time to follow everything so making it easier for your customers and delivering good customer service can only help your business. They even reminded backers timely to update their addresses.
However, the tracking number wasn’t provided. Thankfully there were no issues at customs and the package was well received. The book was nicely packaged in a Gemini mailer which protects the book from the mishandling of package handlers at the mail office and/or package delivery company. It came with a business card-style ad for book 2. The only complaint I have is that the book was packaged in a bag with no board.
Star Noir: The Silver Starlight is an interesting science fiction, crime noir tale full of mystery and a popular thriller trope. Namely, the bad-tempered detective who quickly becomes obsessed with the mystery. The story is targeted at a mature audience and is illustrated with beautiful art. Those who enjoy detective stories and crime noir thrillers will enjoy this series.
As of date, the indiegogo crowdfunding campaign for book one is still in demand. The crowdfunding campaign for book 2 has already taken place and is currently closed. Hopefully, there will be a second-chance campaign for book 2, or probably book 1 and book 2 will be available on the campaign for the third book.