Thursday, June 04, 2009

Graphic Manchette

With hat tips to Pulpetti and Duane Swierczynski comes news that Jean-Patrick Manchette's novel Le petit bleu de la Côte Ouest, previously available in English translation as Three to Kill, will appear in a graphic-novel version called West Coast Blues. This version, adapted and illustrated by the French cartoonist Jacques Tardi, is to appear this summer as the beginning a series devoted to Tardi and published by Fantagraphics.

Here's what I wrote about Three to Kill and Manchette's other novel available in English, The Prone Gunman:

"Manchette reinvigorated noir, inventing what French critics call the néo-polar, or neo-whodunnit, and if all that neo stuff makes you roll your eyes, stop and think for a minute: How many of the old-time hard-boiled writers make your blood run cold the way they presumably did for readers in the 1930s and 1940s? How mean, in other words, are Raymond Chandler's mean streets today?

"Certainly Manchette's time, an age that saw assassinations, cover-ups at the highest levels, and revelations of the violence that attended colonialism and its end, could no longer be shocked by small-town or even big-city corruption of the Hammett and Chandler kind. Manchette restored that ability to shock, with tales of what power can do to those it finds convenient to crush. And he did it while remaining true to the roots of pulp. Heck, the guy even loved American movies and played the saxophone. How much more genuine can you get?"
Click on the Jacques Tardi link above, and you'll see why I'm excited about this Fantagraphics release.

Here are some previous Detectives Beyond Borders posts that mentioned Manchette, who figures — or at least part of him does — in Swierczynski's novel The Blonde.

© Peter Rozovsky 2009

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2 Comments:

Blogger Sucharita Sarkar said...

Sounds interesting.

I am a recent convert to the graphic novel cult, having read (very very late) initial classics like Spiegelman's Maus and Satrapi's Persepolis.

How I wish the bookshops in India would keep pace with your announc ements.

June 05, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I'm a fairly recent convert myself. I can date my conversion to a visit late last year with some friends, one of whom is a comics nut. Other than Harvey Pekar's American Splendor, I had not read comics since I was a child. Since then, I've discovered any number of artists and titles, some of which I've written about here.

Oddly enough, Persepolis has not done much for me. I find the flat drawing style off-putting.

June 05, 2009  

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