Detectives, Inc. by Don McGregor, Marshall Rogers and Gene Colan (Material from the 1970's and 1980's; this IDW edition 2009): IDW is really winning my heart with its reprints of great comics from the 1980's and 1990's.
This B&W collection of writer McGregor's Detectives, Inc. comic stories comes along with several prose pieces on the genesis of the detective comic, along with a piece on the filming of the Detectives, Inc. movie. My only caveat about the volume is that it's unfortunate that it couldn't be reprinted in a larger format -- the hyper-detailed art of Marshall Rogers on "A Remembrance of Threatening Green" originally appeared in a larger album size, and things do get a little squinty at times.
Still, this is a tremendous achievement both in writing and art. The world of McGregor's private detectives, Rainier and Dennings, gets the hypercrisp, hyper-detailed treatment from Marshall Rogers (best known for his Batman work in the 1970's), and the moodier, more humanistic approach from Gene Colan (best known for Tomb of Dracula and about a dozen other books).
Both art styles work, and both look great in black and white. Indeed, this may be the late Rogers' greatest work. The attention to detail is stunning, and Rogers experiments with some really fascinating one and two-page designs.
Private detectives aren't all that common in comic books unless they wear costumes or have occult powers. Rainier and Dennings remind me a lot of revisionist 70's PIs from the movies -- not so much Jake Gittes in Chinatown, as Rainier and Dennings are less cynical than Robert Towne's PI, but more the characters we see in films like Night Moves (with Gene Hackman on the case) and Cutter's Way (in which non-PI's John Heard and Jeff Bridges try to solve a case). They're battered and bruised sometimes, emotionally as well as physically, but they stay on the case.
McGregor invests his characters with a lot of heart -- he's one of the great comic book writers in terms of creating sympathy and empathy, at creating plausibly flawed and self-doubting protagonists, and at incorporating both sex and romance into a comic book without being prurient or exploitative. Highly recommended.