An All New, Neo Noir Graphic Novel Series,
Set In The Lost Culture of Los Angeles’ Country Music Clubs
(April 13, 2020) The year is 1981. The American Century is running on fumes, but the end isn’t anywhere in sight. The cowboy is still America’s most central symbol—and from movies, to music, to the President himself, it all hails from Southern California. Welcome to PALOMINO, cartoonist Stephan Franck’s all new neo noir graphic novel series, set in the lost culture of Los Angeles’ country music clubs.
The age of urban cowboys is in full swing. Cowboy hats and rhinestone suits are all the rage. Kenny Rogers “Lady” is Billboard’s number three song of the year. Dolly Parton is a national icon. And across LA, six nights a week, working musicians, TV actors, stuntmen, cops, hustlers, and broken souls all play their part in the cultural myth making. Most of them are just trying to survive—on the B-side of the City of Angels.
Stephan Franck is an award-nominated animator, writer, and director who has worked on some of the most beloved animated films of all time, including Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and The Iron Giant, and currently is Head of Animation on the MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE’s first animated series WHAT IF? For the last five years, Franck has been writing, illustrating and publishing SILVER, a graphic novel series that mashes up the world of Bram Stoker’s classic novel Dracula with action, adventure, humor, pulp storytelling and modern sensibilities.
And now Franck and his company, Dark Planet Comics, are launching a Kickstarter campaign to fund PALOMINO, the first part of a planned four-part graphic novel series. PALOMINO captures Los Angeles’ spirit, with hardboiled dialogue, honkytonk music, and details from the city’s weird and forgotten history.
“Cowboy culture is central to California’s history,” said Stephan Franck. “It came out west with the Dust Bowl Okie migration that Steinbeck depicted in Grapes of Wrath, showed up again in Easy Rider and the hippy generation’s cosmic cowboys, and in one form or another sold the American century to the world and to America itself. On one level, PALOMINO is about the lost subculture of LA’s country western music scene of the 1980’s, but it’s also about people living inside the myth-making machine, motivated by the belief that, here in the west, you can always reinvent yourself.”
At the center of PALOMINO is a unique father-daughter relationship. Eddie Lang’s an ex-cop turned working musician with big dreams, but dreams don’t pay the rent. So Eddie reluctantly works as a private investigator to provide for his teenage daughter, Lisette. Eddie and Lisette share an unbreakable bond and a dry sense of humor. But they’re stuck. They’re haunted by a terrible loss and an unsolved crime that looms large over their lives. They’re running out of time to fix their family. And just as things seem at a stalemate, a new murder case upends their lives.
This is PALOMINO — where Farrah Fawcett hair reigns supreme, where Ronald Reagan is beginning his first term as President, and where LA’s hottest music spot is North Hollywood’s historic Palomino Club.
Here is what people are saying about Stephan Franck’s PALOMINO:
“Well hot damn. To quote the great Bob Wills, the King of Western Swing, ‘AHAHH!!’ What makes a great and engaging narrative for me is frequently the synergy of character and place, of mise en scene…and to be blunt, Stephan Franck, in his new book, PALOMINO, delivers on those fronts in spades. His people, populating a beautifully depicted, too rarely examined piece of real estate in 1980s Los Angeles, are familiar and real, without ever becoming archetypes. To be clear, it’s been at least a decade since I’ve taken such unalloyed pleasure in reading a comic book. Trust me on this.”
—Howard Chaykin, legendary creator of American Flagg
“This is fucking awesome.”—Tod Goldberg, New York Times bestselling author of Gangsterland
“With page one, Stephan Franck hooked me with his noir-styled use of line and shadow. As the story unfolded, I found myself transported to a seedy world full of jaded yet funny, colorful characters all out for something and willing to use violence to get it. Oh, and did I mention PALOMINO is set in L.A.? More please.”—Shawn Martinbrough, artist of Thief of Thieves, author of How to Draw Noir Comics: The Art and Technique of Visual Storytelling
“Franck’s latest neo-noir graphic-novel PALOMINO reads like a free-flowing gust of pure creativity, all the while unfolding with implacable structure.”—Elsa Charretier (November, Harley Quinn)
“Fans of the Coen Brothers will dig what Franck does in PALOMINO–he’s created a gritty noir in a corner of time and space that some would overlook as inconsequential. Instead Franck draws and writes characters that leap off the page–you can almost smell the beer and denim.”
—Marco Finnegan, writer/artist of the forthcoming Lizard in a Zoot Suit and artist of CROSSROAD BLUES: A NICK TRAVERS Graphic Novel
“A dark, moody piece that’s rife with colorful characters and a killer setting, Stephan Franck’s PALOMINO is the rare noir that nods to all of the genre’s recognizable tropes but also crafts something new, memorable, and chilling. Enjoy the ride.” —Alex Segura, acclaimed author of The Black Ghost, and the Pete Fernandez Miami Mystery novels
“Strap on your western belt buckle for this ride through the other side of Los Angeles. Stephan Franck’s knowledge of place and well-wrought characters echo long after the last page turn. Like in all great noir, the ghosts are knocking, and Franck’s surefire world building is a whiskey-soaked, Honky Tonk tune of longing for an unreachable past.”—Jonathan Lang, acclaimed author of Meyer
“PALOMINO reads like Spielberg took a cowboy story and wrapped it in noir. Jagged dialogue and sharp art take the reader into a story about dangerous people, high schoolers, and a world weary PI. A great, fun read.”—Dave White, author of the Shamus Award Nominated Jackson Donne series
If funded through Kickstarter, pledges will be delivered to backers this summer. The PALOMINO Kickstarter campaign is live as of Monday, April 13th and runs for 30 days, here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/darkplanetcomics/426085227?ref=8vo34u&token=9a4ed0fa).