Stumptown just wrapped up its first season on ABC, leaving fans of the tough but breezy detective series excited for whatever season two has in store next Fall. Many may have already devoured Greg Rucka’s original series, which served as source material for the program.
For any fans who are desperate for comics with a similar tone or feel to both the show and the original book to read in between binging episodes of The Rockford Files, here are ten series that should tide them over until Dex Parios makes her triumphant return to television.
Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’ celebrated long-running anthology series Criminal is always the best crime comic on the stands whenever it makes its reappearance.
Telling a series of stories through intersecting arcs and one-shots that all take place in the fictional metropolis of Center City, Criminal is a saga that spans decades. The series specializes in placing realistic and compelling characters in scenarios that either pay homage to or subvert classic crime stories.
9 Southern Bastards
When he wasn’t writing Thor or Marvel’s Mightiest Heroes, Jason Aaron also found the time to turn in some really cool and very violent creator-owned works such as Southern Bastards. This story plays like Sin City meets Friday Night Lights, and revolves around a small town in Alabama that’s held in the grip of the local high school football coach/ crime boss.
A crime story with a distinct sense of place and a myriad of colorful characters, Southern Bastards is a gritty and thrilling epic with surprises in every arc.
8 Superior Foes of Spider-Man
The series concerns a new Sinister Six, spearheaded by Spider-Man C-list villain Boomerang and rounded out by his similarly low-tier buddies. As they plot their next big score, they dodge the Punisher, the Heroes for Hire, and numerous members of Marvel’s criminal underworld.
7 The Fix
Superior Foes team Nick Spencer and Steve Lieber reunite on Image Comics‘ The Fix, a warped and sardonic version of the hardboiled crime comics readers know and love. It tells the story of two beyond corrupt police detectives as they try and find a way to maneuver a massive drug shipment around the toughest customs agent LAX has ever seen: Pretzels the beagle.
Stumptown viewers who enjoyed the dimwitted nature of many of the show’s criminals may find something to love with this crime-comedy series, which sees its hapless and often moronic characters bumble into some extreme and dangerous situations.
6 Astro City
While a series surrounding the day-to-day lives of the heroes, villains, and civilians of the fictional Astro City may seem at first like it has little in common with Stumptown, appearances can be deceiving.
Astro City has been heavily lauded for its character-based stories and some, especially a mystery that former villain Steeljack (a dead ringer for Robert Mitchum) finds himself at the center of, are as poignant and suspenseful as any straight crime book in stores.
If someone likes Dex Parios from Stumptown, they may enjoy the adventures of the similarly self-destructive PI Jessica Jones from Marvel’s Alias. Down on her luck, former superhero Jessica Jones works seemingly small-time cases in the Marvel Universe, only to find herself drawn into several dark conspiracies that are more than what they seem.
Jessica Jones and Dex seem as though they sprung from the same creative font; thankfully, in both cases it makes for compelling and badass protagonists.
4 Dead Eyes
Gerry Duggan’s Dead Eyes overcame an early snafu in regards to its naming rights to emerge as one of the coolest new crime series on the market. It deals with Dead Eyes, the legendary masked criminal who comes out of retirement after leaving the scene decades earlier.
While it’s full of bare-knuckled action, Dead Eyes also deals with the minutiae of being a criminal, as readers follow Dead Eyes while he painstakingly plots out robberies that almost never go the way they are planned.
If Stumptown’s scenes dealing with the goings-on of the tribal casino were of interest, then Scalped by Jason Aaron is a great series to check out next.
The series follows FBI agent Dashiell Bad Horse who returns to the reservation he grew up as an undercover agent. Hired by the corrupt Chief Red Crow as a tribal policeman, Bad Horse works to expose the illegal activities that are being operated on the reservation. This is full of action and political overtones that make for a great read.
2 Top 10
One of Alan Moore’s most underrated works, Top 10 is a police procedural centered around the police precinct that oversees Neopolis, a city where every citizen is a superhero, monster, robot, or something fantastic.
Despite the heightened premise, this is a series that takes its characters and the crimes they face seriously (well, mostly). With a diverse cast, a surprising amount of humor and heart, and some blistering action scenes, there’s enough here for fans of any genre.
Based on the series of novels by Donald E. Westlake (under the pseudonym Richard Stark), Darwyn Cooke’s Parker adaptations are beautifully drawn, grim, and brutally cool.
Set during the 1960s, the series of graphic novels follow the criminal wrecking machine known as Parker as he cuts a swath of destruction through anyone who double-crosses him as he tries to make a living in the criminal underworld. It’s a gorgeous looking book, and well worth it for anyone interested in the genre.
Anyone who enjoyed Greg Rucka's Stumptown or ABC's TV adaptation should check out these 10 crime-themed comics.