Dark Dallas is the comic book answer to Harry Hunsicker’s Lee Henry Oswald novels. It’s a gritty look at the underbelly of Dallas through the eyes of a private detective. Written and illustrated by two local artists—Mike Heronime and Eric Robinson—and locally published, Dark Dallas #1 is a compelling debut that captures the feel of the glory days of film noir. Sometimes a little too well.
Almost every classic noir element is present—the hard-boiled PI, the incompetent rival cop, the annoying reporter, the rich benefactor obsessed with solving crimes who harbors a few secrets of his own, the fast-talkin’ dame (a lady cop), and the gruesome act that opens the story. It’s almost like they went down a checklist. Absent only from this latter-day Spade/Archer-style story are fedoras and trench coats, which don’t really fly in Dallas.
The fact is, though, it works. The jagged, rough lines and the muted color palette of the artwork capture the gloomy feel of the story. The bonus is the number of Easter eggs of local Dallas flavor. It’s definitely not a story arbitrarily set in Dallas. About the only sore thumb in there is why the Dallas Police would be investigating a murder in Highland Park, but, hey—sometimes you gotta go with dramatic license.