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The Left Bank Gang Paperback – August 17, 2006

6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Using only a few pages, Jason manages to craft two different stories that happen to star the same characters. The characters are F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce and other literary giants as they live their legendary bohemian lifestyles in Paris. Except in this story they aren't writers but cartoonists, with comics being the height of culture in this alternate world. Not only are these writers now comic book creators, they are distinctly comic book characters as Jason has transformed them into his trademark anthropomorphic dogs and birds. As these characters contemplate their lives, Fitzgerald in particular is down and out. The book is a comment on the literary acceptance comics have been getting in recent years. All the anxieties these creators have to deal with are just as relevant to writers and cartoonists now as they were for the Lost Generation. Then, in a rather abrupt twist only Hemingway could be responsible for, the group decides to rob a bank, turning into a Tarantinoesque caper complete with different perspectives on the same chaotic event. Jason's clean, comfortable art and droll storytelling keep everything together through all the stylistic flights of fancy. (Aug.)
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From Booklist

Jason has developed just the style to do up noir crime stories smartly. Long, lean figures in loose clothes (to pack heat unobtrusively); faces rendered inscrutable by making them those of animals; the meager northern light of Jason's native Norway (see The Iron Wagon, 2003) and his present abode, Paris; tres subdued color schemes--with such elements, noir's a snap. Of course, the animal heads add a tinge of absurdity, but didn't peculiar-pussed character actors do the same for the great noir flicks? Speaking of peculiar pusses, they're all over this time because the main characters are Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Pound, and Joyce, with Hadley, Zelda, Gertrude Stein, Sylvia Beach, and tough young Frenchman Jean-Paul (nah, couldn't be) in the supporting cast--and is that irate Sherwood Anderson on page 14? Anyway, they're poor, struggling graphic novelists in 1920s Paris, who decide a heist will relieve their plight. Going over the same ground from each perp's perspective adds interest to a caper that's slight compared to the artist's Tell Me Something (2004). Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Fantagraphics (August 17, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1560977426
  • ISBN-13: 978-1560977421
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 0.3 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #225,868 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Guy L. Gonzalez on July 26, 2006
Format: Paperback
The Left Bank Gang's premise -- positing Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ezra Pound and James Joyce as struggling cartoonists in 1920s Paris -- is an intriguing one, and for the first half of his rather slim but not slight story, Jason humorously plays up the writer/cartoonist angle while clearly establishing each of his lead characters and their relationships to one another, before setting his real story in motion, a Rashomon-style tale of double and triple-crossing as the quartet come up with a plan to solve their respective financial and, in some cases, marital woes, real and imagined.

As in Why Are You Doing This? -- his enthralling Hitchkockian mystery with a big heart -- Jason's anthropomorphic characters and clean, European style make for an odd but effective complement to his cynical yet hopeful story, giving the whole affair a much more human feel than the more straightforward noir approach other less self-assured creators might have taken. Jason fans will be pleased, and newcomers will be intrigued by the discovery of an immensely talented creator with a solid backlist to explore further.
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Format: Paperback
"The Left Bank Gang" is about Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Pound, and Joyce as they struggle in 1920s Paris to make a living as writers. Gertrude Stein makes an appearance as the sage advisor to Hemingway regarding his work - "Don't clutter up the panels with too many words, let the drawings breathe" - as all famous novelists are here presented as famous comics artists with their work as masterpieces of graphic art. Fitzgerald's drinking is highlighted as well as his turbulent relationship with his wife Zelda. The fun culminates with Hemingway's plan to rob a bank and the story is then told from the perspectives of all four novelists a la "Pulp Fiction". The story is brisk and entertaining with a final twist added to a tale told well by a master comics artist. If Hemingway were a legendary comic book writer and artist, Jason is his modern day equivalent. A must for fans of indie comics.
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By J. Campbell on December 28, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've recently becoem a BIG fan of Jason. After a friend gave me a copy of "MEOW Baby", I knew I had to see more of this intriguing storyteller's work. I like them all, but prefer the more absurd story lines like this one or "I Killed Adolf Hitler"

All in all Thumbs up to Jason for another great yarn!
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