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Comic Book / The Dregs

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"Nobody goes missing in the Dregs... you either get clean and escape, or live here until you die."

The Dregs is a 2017 film noir-inspired comic miniseries published by Black Mask Studios. It was written by Zac Thompson and Lonnie Nadler with art by Eric Zawadski.

In a dark room in Vancouver, a homeless man named Manny is killed and ground up for meat. His friend, the also-homeless drug addict Arnold, becomes concerned about his disappearance and the demolition of the abandoned building Manny called home. Arnold, obsessed with detective fiction, tries to uncover a conspiracy about the gentrification going on in the Dregs.


  • Crazy Homeless People: The comic is told from the point of view of a schizophrenic homeless man. He idolizes the detective Philip Marlowe and tries to be him; he also becomes convinced there's a conspiracy in the disappearances of his friends. He's right, but nobody takes him seriously, and he ultimately fails to make a difference.
  • Disposable Vagrant: The opening death is Manny, a homeless man. It's only a fellow homeless man, Arnold, who takes up his cause because nobody else cares that Manny has disappeared. And Manny's not the only poor person who was murdered for his meat.
  • Downer Ending: The story ends with the gentrifiers winning, having placated the homeless with a food program made from human meat, and Arnold returning back to Listo.
  • Fantastic Drug: The homeless population of this Vancouver is addicted to Listo, which is depicted as a bright green substance that's injected into the body.
  • Femme Fatale: Arnold, who is obsessed with noir fiction, hallucinates a beautiful woman styled in midcentury glamor (complete with cigarette) at pivotal moments in his investigation. Near the end of the story he asks her to betray him since that's her role, but she merely vanishes.
  • Hardboiled Detective: Arnold pretends he's Philip Marlowe, a gritty man who uses his intimate knowledge of the city and all its grime and muck to solve the case.
  • Kill the Poor: Beck Lasko, who's responsible for gentrifying the slummy area of Vancouver, responds to resistance from the homeless population by killing them and serving them in his restaurant.
  • Private Eye Monologue: When Arnold gets into character as detective Philip Marlowe, he starts rambling about the city, its patterns, and his philosophy in life.
  • The Secret of Long Pork Pies: Customers dining at the trendy new restaurant La Mancha are unaware that they're being fed human meat.
  • Shout-Out: Arnold is a big, big fan of Raymond Chandler and keeps a copy of The Long Goodbye on him. He tries to pattern his behavior off of Philip Marlowe.
  • Tragic Keepsake: Arnold spends his last money on a valuable sweater worn by his dead friend that he finds in a thrift store.
  • Villainous Gentrification: "The dregs" are under threat from gentrification, and the proprietor behind it, Beck Lasko, is all smiles as he claims he's creating a "vibrant community space" — by pushing out and killing homeless folks.
  • Wrong Side of the Tracks: The titular dregs are the six slummiest blocks in Vancouver, where the city's undesirables live. A businessman is trying to gentrify it and is resorting to less than ethical methods.