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West Coast Blues Hardcover – October 20, 2009

5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Maybe it's because blood and brain matter look somewhat more disturbing in the chunky, primitive black and white favored by famed French cartoonist Tardi, but there's something particularly creepy about his adaptation of the late Manchette's crime novel that wouldn't have been well served by color. The protagonist, George Gerfaut, is a dead-souled Parisian businessman who's just about as irritated by his work as he is by his family. There's little he seems to like but for booze, cigarettes and West Coast–style jazz. His foul demeanor seems to serve him in good stead, though, when he becomes an accidental witness to a murder and has to fend off a determined assault by a pair of hit men who happen to be lovers. Not only does his mood leave him with fewer compunctions about resorting to violence but it also ensures that when a bloody shootout at a gas station leaves him wounded, he's not too broken up about not seeing his wife and children for a while. Manchette's plot is pure pulp, with a driving engine for a plot and a Lee Marvin–like inclination toward swift and unreflective action. Tardi's art delivers the action with admirable punch and attitude to spare. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

Maybe it’s because blood and brain matter look somewhat more disturbing in the chunky, primitive black and white favored by famed French cartoonist Tardi, but there’s something particularly creepy about his adaptation of the late Manchette’s crime novel West Coast Blues that wouldn’t have been well served by color. ... Manchette’s plot is pure pulp, with a driving engine for a plot and a Lee Marvin-like inclination toward swift and unreflective action. Tardi’s art delivers the action with admirable punch and attitude to spare. (Publishers Weekly)

West Coast Blues shows a terrific sense of pace, place, and casual violence, all related with a firm grip on a beautifully spontaneous style that reeks of utterly justified self-confidence. To put it simply, this shit kicks ass. (Howard Chaykin, comic book artist and writer)

Recent months have seen an unusually high number of crime comics hitting the bookshelves, but this one’s among the best of the batch. (Gordon Flagg - Booklist)

The graphic novel, it turns out, is a form especially well-suited to the noir genre. Maybe this isn’t surprising―comics have always run the gamut of moods from goofy to autobiographical to just plain smutty. But it still gives a shiver of pleasure to stumble upon a graphic novel that captures the hardboiled tone of classic noir as perfectly as West Coast Blues, Jacques Tardi’s adaptation of a 1976 crime novel by Jean-Patrick Manchette. ... The plot includes bursts of brutality, dark realizations, alluring women and grizzled observations from its antihero―all the best conventions of noir, in other words, preserved and reborn in a fresh new medium. File it next to Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. (Molly Young - We Love You So)

A well-crafted piece of genre entertainment. I dug it. (Sandy Bilus - I Love Rob Liefeld)

A savage noir thriller reuniting a master crime novelist and a superlative French cartoonist―the beginning of an ambitious publishing project introducing one of Europe’s most beloved cartoonists to American audiences. (Graphic Novel Reporter)

Tardi is one of the biggest literary stars of French comics…taking the ‘clear line’ style into a moody expressionist direction. (Heidi MacDonald - Publishers Weekly)

[G]ets under your skin and remains impossible to resist from start to finish... Darkly amusing and undeniably entertaining, West Coast Blues keeps the mystery and interest alive by carefully doling out pieces of the story and introducing intriguing characters with loads of personality... Tardi does an excellent job of adapting what must be a massively entertaining book into a graphic novel form for all who seek a slightly different but no less thrilling mystery/adventure story to enjoy. (Avril Brown - Comics Waiting Room)

Perhaps what makes West Coast Blues so captivating is how well it highlights the similarities between film and comics, while simultaneously showcasing its own unique ability as a graphic novel to capture the noir aesthetic through word and image. ... Not unlike many noir films, West Coast Blues is replete with car chases, hit-men, drinking, guns, and the occasional salacious scene. All of this is set in Tardi’s straightforward drawing style which is a good fit for the almost matter-of-fact, unsentimental manner in which violence, sex, and life in general are met with during the course of the book. (Sara Cole - PopMatters)

West Coast Blues is just the right mixture of action, suspense, and surprise to keep just about any reader’s attention. ... It’s hard to ignore the strength of Tardi’s art in making West Coast Blues such a strong graphic novel. ... West Coast Blues is a sharp, beautiful book. ... For people looking for a noir thriller, you’ve come to the right place. (Greg McElhatton - Read About Comics)

West Coast Blues is a brilliant story, and Manchette was a phenomenal writer of the modern world, putting others to shame at times. Just that simple, really. This is a book that can’t be reduced to familiar genre markers. (Brian Lindenmuth - BSCreview)

I opened this comic, got sucked in and blew through it in one sitting. Then I went back a few weeks later… and re-read it. I found that I liked it even better the second time around... Fans of great artwork and crime stories should give this book a shot. (Chad Derdowski - Mania)

It’s the first quotidian crime story that I’ve ever read, and Tardi’s commitment to the depiction of the everyday and the way nightmares crashed into daily life are what made this book work so well. (Rob Clough - The Comics Journal)

Plenty of crime stories revolve around the bizarre preoccupations of [their] characters and just as many are centered around the plight of the common man thrust into extraordinary circumstances. But Tardi really brings it home, offering a messed up story about messed up people who do some truly messed up things. (Paul Montgomery - iFanboy)

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Fantagraphics (October 20, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1606992953
  • ISBN-13: 978-1606992951
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 0.6 x 10.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,230,530 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By JT Lindroos on December 2, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a superbly drawn adaptation of Jean-Patrick Manchette's Three To Kill. The plotting is peculiar in that it doesn't follow any obvious paths, but also sensible, in that it rings true. It's psychologically complex, with a detached protagonist who -- like any Donald Hamilton lead character -- adapts quickly to a bad situation.

Tardi follows the novel faithfully and his illustrations are detailed, yet loose, giving the characters and their surroundings a lived-in feel. The style accentuates the (darkly) humorous situations, but can easily slip into sudden and brutal bursts of violence. The book also works well for multiple readings, as the apparent simplicity of the style allows you to rush through it the first time around to simply enjoy the story, but when you read it again, there are subtleties and details to be found that only enhance the experience.

One of the best crime comics around, drawn by a modern legend, based on a brilliant novel. If you liked Darwyn Cooke's adaptation of Donald Westlake's Parker: The Hunter, or have any interest in hardboiled fiction... you can't go wrong with this book.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Ohlawdylawd on October 20, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Whilst staying in france in the early nineties Tardi came on to my radar so i have been waiting for this for years.Previous efforts at translating and publishing have been fitful so this is a welcome attempt by fantagraphics. Tardi is the don of neo noir 'comics'. His clear line style is expressive and bold, the characters jump out the page and the dialogue taut. There is nobody to touch him in the anglo world of comics. This should be on any serious graphic novelistas shelf, and deserves to sell by the truck load. Five stars just aint enough!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Manchette and Tardi, great combo, terrific art and a terrific story, have gifted a number of friends with this and they all felt the same.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By dewa on June 15, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I have known Tardi for his works in his own series Adele Blanc sec, but I thought to explore his earlier works with other authors surprise a true classic Crime Noir in its own ways, Will check out the upcoming book from the same Tardi/Manchette combo in the LIKE A SNIPER LINING UP HIS SHOT
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By Cal on April 2, 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What an incredible great product!
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