by Clyde Hall. Good cop, bad cop, it doesn’t matter. In the best noir traditions, when a cop’s killed, the rest of them take it personal. Doesn’t matter if the deceased was skimming from the Police Benevolent Association’s widows and orphan’s fund, having a fling with your wife or husband, or riding in the hip pocket of corrupt politicians. Other badges want retribution. Justice would be shooting high, but at the least a reckoning, an answer, even if means dredging the cesspool of that ended life.

Denmark-based writer/artist Palle Schmidt gets this genre. His skill combining art and hard-boiled crime narrative has led to his name being bandied with the likes of Brian Azzarello and Frank Miller by folks who know. And Lion Forge was listening.

Schmidt’s 2013 steely-eyed cop series Stiletto will be translated and expanded by the St. Louis-based company for a U.S. release in 2019. But if you’re familiar with Lion Forge, you know they don’t follow industry methodology. They transform it. For Stiletto, that means expanding the serialized Danish crime saga into three 48-page issues for $5.99, an affordable way for new readers to get on board right from the start.

Stiletto

Cover to ‘Stiletto Part 1: Officer Down’. Art by Palle Schmidt/Lion Forge

Schmidt has described Stiletto as a “gritty neo-noir full of twists and turns, corruption, betrayal, and greed” he’s spent years working on and pouring heart and soul into. What starts as a police procedural quickly boards the crazy train — then completely leaves the rails as readers go from the sensation of being on a cop ride-along, then part of a gripping whodunit, and finally a witness as the crime genre gets flipped on its head.

Two police officers on WITSEC duty are viciously killed, leading detective partners Alphonse and Maynard on the case to solve the murders. But as their investigation begins taking python-worthy twists and twirls, they uncover a leak within the department itself, a source known only as Stiletto. With a mole in their midst putting other cops at risk, Alphonse and Maynard are in a race to solve the double homicide, uncover the source, and end Stiletto’s threat.

“Palle Schmidt is one of those visionary writer/artist combos you rarely see,” Greg Tumbarello, Lion Forge senior editor, said in the official press release. “His artistry and storytelling pull you into an intricate underworld that engulfs the senses and blurs the line between reality and fiction…”

Schmidt added, “I’m thrilled we’re able to present Stiletto in this longer format which has given me room to fully realize my original vision by expanding the story with new content. Creatively, it’s been a fascinating balance—being able to delve further into the darkest aspects of the story’s themes, while maintaining a profound love for these tragic characters drowning in moral ambiguity.”

‘Stiletto Part 1: Officer Down’ is aimed for a March 2019 release, and is fully returnable for retailers.

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