Lunacek and Juren are both new to the American comics scene; they are both Slovenian. Lunacek has an academic background in comparative literature and philosophy. He has written comics in Slovenia that have appeared in translated form in Spanish and in English. Juren is a lawyer, editor, translator, writer, and musician. He translated Calvin and Hobbes into Slovenian.
This story is interesting enough on its own rights. A private investigator in an immoral town is looking for a porn movie that incriminates an important judge’s wife. As he gets deeper into the case, he discovers deeper levels; even his jaded senses are shocked at the extreme corruption he discovers at the roots of his investigation.
In Animal Noir, the setting is the real star. Animal Noir is a mix of Sin City and Zootopia. Lunacek and Juren have managed to create a believable world of animals that is unbelievably dark. The realistic premise of the dark contract that allows predator and prey to live together in uneasy peace is the hypocrisy that underlies and contaminates their entire world.
Although the artwork has an underground feel to it, the vast amount of detail is not secondary to the story; it is an integral part of the exposition. Readers need not be aware of every nuance to grasp the bigger picture, but these details add depth and texture to the universe Joren and Lunacek are working to create.
In this issue, Giraffe Private Investigator Manny Diamond discovers that the source of the conflict was not a conspiracy, but a simple stupid error. There was never an attempt to steal blackmail material; when a judge is already part of the corrupt system, such crude forms of intimidation and leverage are unnecessary.
It has become, however, necessary to find out where Manny stands. To do so, it’s necessary to bring in the Giraffe. To bring the Giraffe in, it was necessary to break into his house while he was home with his wife. In another non-Zootopian moment, we discover that not all is well in the Diamond household.
Lunacek and Juren are writing about complex and grown-up topics here. They are integrating many complex and difficult themes; they are not writing Animal Noir as a kid’s comic. This is definitely worth the read, so head out to your local comic book shop and pick up the series as soon as you can!
Written by: Izar Lunacek & Nejc Juren
Illustrated by: Izar Lunacek