By Ken Tucker
Updated November 24, 2009 at 05:00 AM EST

West Coast Blues

  • Book

Jacques Tardi is one of France?s greatest cartoonists, a master of black-and-white doom and gloom, with beautiful shadings of emotion. In West Coast Blues, he adapts a thriller by Jean-Patrick Manchette, and the result is as though Quentin Tarantino had directed one of Richard Stark?s Parker novels. In Manchette?s premise, an ordinary citizen, George Gerfaut, is brought together with a ruthless murderer after witnessing a killing. Gerfaut, dissolute and mean to his family (Tardi draws him with pinprick eyes and a perpetual hangover), gets drawn into violent scenarios that awaken him to a world that seemed dead to him. Existential? Yes. Pretentious? Au contraire. A-

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West Coast Blues