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West Coast Blues Hardcover – October 20, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
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“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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Top Customer Reviews
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.