West Coast Blues by Jacques Tardi & Jean-Patrick Manchette

West Coast Blues
by Jacques Tardi & Jean-Patrick Manchette
Fantagraphics, 2009

Another hardboiled French thriller which violently riffs on the energy of New Wave cinema, Hitchcock and classic James Bond. Based on the novel by Manchette and first published in 2005, this story follows bad-tempered salesman George Gerfaut’s descent into several types of hell when shot in the head by a gay comics-loving hitman after unwittingly witnessing a murder. It’s a bit like The Bourne Identity, except on a lower budget and without anyone half as organised as the CIA involved.

The captions are a bit wordy, as you’d expect with something adapted from a novel, but thankfully it’s in black and white – the constant spray of blood and bone fragments might be a bit off-putting otherwise.

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