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For this comic, I wanted to play with the art conventions of film noir. I referenced normal stills of film noir as well as some of the legendary black-and-white photographs of Ansel Adams to inspire the style of this comic. What’s really interesting about film noir composition & Adams’ photographs is because they ARE in black and white, they often span both extremes of contrast and include pure white and pure black in the same composition. No pastels if all you have is grayscale! Also, film noir’s stark lighting is really fun to play with.

For all this talk about the artistic merits of film noir, though, I’ve never actually SEEN any of the movies that make up the genre. Can any of you recommend me some film noir I should watch? I need to get a noir-ducation!

Also, the title of this strip is an homage to Théophile Steinlen’s legendary ad illustration for the “Le Chat Noir” cabaret in Paris.
Humphrey Bogart is fantastic for film noir. "The Big Sleep," "The Maltese Falcon," and "Key Largo" are all essential examples (some also count "Casablanca," but I'm not sure if it fits the genre, though it is one of the greatest films ever made).

Hitchcock's oevure has some fine examples as well, like "Strangers on a Train," and "Vertigo." (Among others, but those are the ones I've seen.) You can't forget his anthology series, "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour" either, which contains many examples. (As does the Boris Karloff-hosted anthology series "Thriller," though that's more likely to feature supernatural elements instead.)

"The Third Man" and "M" are a couple more classics. Plus you've GOT to see the brilliant Steve Martin film "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid," which is a note-perfect film noir parody, even going so far as to include clips from old noir films and re-make sets and costumes from them to insert Steve Martin into the scenes!

I'm a fan of the genre, as you might have guessed.
Totz the Plaid 5/7/14
By the way, my ID isn't from the Steve Martin film, but rather to the naming structure of the wizards of Middle Earth (Gandalf the Grey, Radagast the Brown, Saruman of Many Colors, etc.), and a family inside-joke about plaid being the "best color."
Totz the Plaid 5/7/14
Wow, we've got an expert on our hands, everyone! I'll have to add these to my to-watch list.
 Emma  5/8/14
it's really well done. i wonder if that's what Fred's face really looks like..........
Titi 5/7/14

That's Chapel's brother Barnaby.
Totz the Plaid 5/7/14
Yes, it is...
 Emma  5/8/14
That's Barnaby, not Fred!
 Emma  5/8/14
I love the second panel! The light on Chapel's feet and the shadow are really well done; I really get that "dark and suspicious night" feel.
NarwhalGirl 5/5/14
Thank you, that's what I was aiming for.
 Emma  5/8/14
Hey you guys! Haven't been on this site for a while, but it still looks AMAZING!!! Keep up the awesome comics!
Viv 5/5/14
Thank you! I'm glad you're back!
 Emma  5/8/14
Hey, your comic is as great as ever. Yet again I've been pulled away from it. It is a shame. Hope everything has been going well for you.
blaidd drwg 5/5/14
I'm so glad you're back and that you keep enjoying my work! You're so sweet.
 Emma  5/8/14
Awesome work! I love the style on this one; it reminds me of the Calvin and Hobbes detective (Tracer Bullet) strips.
Kathleen 5/3/14
Thank you -- I'd forgotten about those.
 Emma  5/8/14
Oh,wow! This style is really cool! Good job, Emma!
I wonder what he needs help with...
Miss L.S.P 5/2/14
Thank you! And you'll have to see next week...
 Emma  5/2/14
"The Maltese Falcon" is the arch type Noir film, but there are more. "The Third Man", "Double Indemnity", "Touch of Evil", and My favorite "The Big Sleep". Miss Emma, you really need to see those movies. It is a shame kids of your age Miss Emma will never know the joy of watching a good movie on old school reel film in a classic theater.
Dr. Taxil Necrobane 5/2/14
Well, that's not necessarily true. There's a theater near my house which is a preserved old theater that still plays black and white movies and silent movies in their original format! And for the silent movies, they have live organ performances and all.
 Emma  5/2/14
Lucky you then Miss Emma. But for the vast majority of the population, the old theaters are closed down and bulldozed.
Dr. Taxil Necrobane 5/3/14
That's American history for you...

'50 years old? Let's smash it to the ground and build a carpark here!' - Eddie Izzard
Ivresse 5/5/14
It's more like world history for you. Europe tore apart wonderful Roman buildings for their iron and stone. China bulldozes ancient historcal sites and puts in huge cities no one lives in. i could go on, but you get the idea.
Dr. Taxil Necrobane 5/8/14
The Detroit Film Theater has those sorts of screenings sometimes as well.

There are other theaters around Michigan that show classics on a semi-regular basis, as well, but the DFT is the one I've been to the most.
Totz the Plaid 5/7/14
Any of the "Sam Spade" movies are considered Noir. I recommend all the Humphrey Bogart movies, not just the black and white ones.
tarot55 5/3/14
If you get "Prairie Home Companion" with Garrison Keiler on the radio; they often do a skit called "Guy Noir" that makes fun of this type drama. In our city it's a Public Radio program.
tarot55 5/3/14
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check out Emma T Capps new web comic, The League of Fonts THE LEAGUE OF FONTS is where typefaces are born. Every time a font is created in the world, it manifests as a living, breathing, Font – human for all intents and purposes, but unable to age or die unless their typeface falls into disuse. They live together on the League of Fonts, which serves as a secret island hub, bustling corporation, and home. It’s a world full of its own internal intrigues like any office, and Times New Roman is its powerful CEO. He’s got a lot on his plate lately: planning the League’s famous Decennial party, struggling with modern technology, and hiding his embarrassing addiction to the Twilight movies. Times New Roman is confident he can keep everything under control…but what’s an old font to do when a young boy named Louis Pepping accidentally stumbles onto the secrets of the League? Find out every Wednesday!