The story takes place in 1950s America, in the fictional midwest city of Grogerstone. The town is a place for the living to thrive and the dead to suffer. Corrupted cops make sure noir, ghostly shadow beings, keep away from the prosperous parts of Grogerstone by driving them into the slums, or the “other side of town,” with brutal repercussions for those who break this unspoken rule.
A key difference between this version of the 1950s and actual history is the lock-down on photography. It was discovered that cameras could steal the souls of the recently deceased. When a soul on film was exposed to Negative Preserve, a processing chemical, it created noir. Negative Preserve is banned with felony charges for those who use it, and only citizens with a special permit can have and use photography equipment. Possession of any film negatives depicting the dead carries a heavy sentence.
PROF. WILLIAM BOYER
He’s the leading expert on the recent undead phenomenon known as noir. While the public views him as “an eccentric genius,” those close to Boyer prefer to describe him as ill-tempered and strange. For what Boyer lacks in basic social skills, he makes up for with his unrelenting wit and determination.
In terms of mental health representation, Boyer has bipolar I, anxiety, and ADHD. If this seems like a lot, it’s important to note that those with mental illness commonly have more than one disorder. While the 1950s lacked the terminology for these issues, I make it clear what symptoms Boyer experiences and how that impacts his life.
The embodiment of “curiosity killed the cat,” there was more than satisfaction that brought Sam back. She’s now a noir, with far more questions than ever before. Though she has yet to learn the lesson to mind her own business, Sam’s boundless energy and quick-thinking will help uncover what happened the night she died.
Charlie is a private eye for the living and dead, known for his massive size and friendly nature. A departure from the brooding, hard-boiled detective, Charlie is upbeat and compassionate, though still willing to tussle when needed. His dedication to find the truth makes him a trustworthy face in a sea of corruption.
When his secretary is turned into a noir, Morris is the only one willing to help Sam when her own family refuses. The police won’t investigate her death, so he calls Charlie to figure out what happened. Morris may be a straight-laced accountant and ignorant to the plight of noir, but he doesn’t find it “proper” to neglect the problems before him.
He’s a stoic noir who gathers information and finds new clients for his roommate Charlie. Walter is experienced in the ways of the undead, offering help to the fledgling noir Sam and steering her away from new dangers. Hardened from World War II, there’s not much that shakes his nerves or bends his principles.
PEN “THE WHITE RUSSIAN” LAPIN
A mob boss from the other side of town, Pen is the unofficial mayor to the noir. He helps his fellow undead with their own business ventures and uses his ill-gotten gains to sustain his community. One of his main trades is information. When Sam comes to Pen with her questions, she’s offered what she wants—for a price.
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