Starting this month, Titan Comics joins forces with the iconic crime fiction imprint Hard Case Crime to launch Hard Case Crime Comics. Releasing both original and adapted works by celebrated authors of the crime genre as well as emerging voices in comics, the new line will boast the same gritty, sexy violence for which the mystery publisher is known. For Titan Comics’ direct sales and marketing manager Ricky Claydon, the merge means “steering the Hard Case Crime series into a new frontier…. We aim to bring to comics that same grit and gristle that Hard Case Crime is famous for!”
Debuting at this year’s New York Comic Con, held October 6–9 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Midtown Manhattan, were the first single releases of Hard Case Crime Comics titles. Legendary film director Walter Hill (The Warriors) kicked off his Prohibition era–set Triggerman, adapted by French comics author Matz (The Killer), translated from French by Edward Gauvin, and illustrated by artist Jef. The second debut was crime novelists Christa Faust and Gary Phillips’s Peepland, with art by Andrea Camerini and Marco Lesko, which presents “a semi-autobiographical neo-noir mini-series with a punk edge set in the seedy Times Square peep booths of 1980s New York City,” according to a press release.
Both series were met with an overwhelmingly positive reception, said Hard Case Crime editor Charles Ardai, who told LJ in a recent email interview that “people snapped up copies at the booth faster than we could put them out. It’s funny, even though you saw a lot more Harley Quinns and Mystiques at [the] show than Sam Spades or even Jessica Rabbits, comics fans seem really excited to discover what hard-boiled crime fiction is all about. And we can’t wait to show them.” He was also thrilled to be “taking creators like Faust, who wrote two great novels for us (Money Shot and Choke Hold), or Max Allan Collins (“Quarry” series), who’s written a dozen novels for us but is also a comics veteran, and turning them loose in this new format and seeing what they come up with.”
According to Ardai, who considers the publisher merge a “dream come true,” the idea to join the two companies isn’t so far-fetched. “Hard Case Crime has been working with Titan Books [not to be confused with Titan Comics] for more than five years to publish our award-winning line of crime novels, so when the time came to expand into comics, it was natural for Titan to be our partner there as well. They’re really a perfect fit for us. Meanwhile, what Hard Case Crime brings is an established and respected brand in the crime genre, deep relationships with authors and artists, and a classic pulp-fiction look that comics fans will love.”