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Fogtown [Hardcover]

Anderson Gabrych , Brad Rader

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Book Description

Aug. 10 2010 Vertigo Crime
A gritty, graphic pulp fiction about the temptation, damnation and redemption of Frank Grissel, an aging, hard-knuckled private eye--and a deeply closeted homosexual, set in the very real world of 1953 San Francisco.

Aided by his long-suffering secretary (and sometime live-in lover) Loretta, Grissel's search for a runaway girl winds up with him becoming a suspect in a string of gruesome murders. The case takes twists and turns through the Golden Gate's greasy underbelly: the beguiling arms of Chinese shipping heiress (and smuggler) Lady Tze; an unexpected reunion with Betty Grey, the daughter he abandoned long ago; the loss of Loretta to the sadistic clutches of the high-powered "Colonel;" and finally the horrifying gender-bending truth about the runaway and the murders and all those missing organs. Frank also confronts his own "horrifying truth," earning his daughter's forgiveness and, perhaps, the love of another man.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Vertigo (Aug. 10 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401213847
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401213848
  • Product Dimensions: 14.5 x 1.6 x 21.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 299 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #680,674 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Andresen Gabrych has written Batman, Detective Comic, Batgirl, Catwoman and The Omega Men. He is a regular contributor to LA Confidential Magazine. Brad Roder provided artwork for Batman: Gothman Adventures, and was the Emmy Award-winning animation director on hit cartoon shows Spawn: The Animated Series and Batman: The Animated Series. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.6 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Deep Into the Night March 21 2011
By T. Englehart - Published on Amazon.com
The first review - comfort food for crime junkies - has it about right; but that's not all of it. Everything you want in a story like this is here - but then it starts going places that Sam Spade never did. The op is tough and smart, but it just may be that his opponents - and there are more than it seems - are tougher and smarter. The girl is sexy and alluring, but they may never be able to connect. The secretary is loyal and put upon, but even she doesn't know how much. And the villains come in all shapes and sizes. Only San Francisco is everything you thought it was, rendered by men who appear to know it well.

The period details are right on, but the art itself evokes the period wonderfully, like a 1950s comic. It's straightforward and workmanlike, all blacks and grays - perfect for the op and the way he works the case. You're never jerked out of the mood or his head as things unfold and unfold and unfold around him. In the end, that's the part that seals the deal for me. A lot of people want to do film noir, and if they haven't got film, they're in trouble from the get-go; they can't get the ambiance right. But this is a film noir that happens to be on paper, a true comic noir. The art and writing are all of a piece - comfortable and unique at the same time. Start reading after a comfortable dinner and you won't stop till you're deep in the night.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cheesy but enjoyable Nov. 25 2010
By Tim Lieder - Published on Amazon.com
The hard drinking, womanizing detective who takes crappy jobs and gets beat up and stumbles upon a murder is a cliche that still works in the right hands. And even in the wrong hands, it feels like comfort food. Detective Grissell talks to a hooker at the beginning, turns her down, gets into a fight with his secretary over a client and then there are a whole lot more conspiracies back and forth.

This is a fine comic with plenty packed into a short story. You have sudden reversals, shocking deaths, the Chinatown (Special Collector's Edition) view of the city as an institution of corrupt officials fighting each other. Since it takes place in San Francisco, there is a large gay subplot which seems a little cheesy to me but it ties in nicely to the conclusion.

I also liked illustrations which repeat the Cherry Poptart #1 (1982) trick of invoking Archie in a way that is so wrong and so right.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Like Old Pulp Fiction, For Good or Ill Aug. 14 2010
By Gamescook - Published on Amazon.com
The story felt a bit rushed, feeling as if it needed at least fifty more pages with which to better pace itself, had a small plot hole or two, and an ending that went a little too saccharine. You will probably find it to be a very decent example of the genre, but I didn't find it to be the next great graphic novel, unfortunately.
4.0 out of 5 stars A surprisingly interesting subversion of cliche noir April 12 2012
By Affably Nerdish - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I went into this book expecting one thing, and was pleasantly surprised when it gave me something better. Right off the bat, I noticed that while my experience of the noir genre was (and still is) pretty superficial, they still played a lot of the trademark tropes to the hilt. The aging private detective with put-upon secretary, dark past, poor hygiene. Hookers walk the streets. Corrupt businessmen control the city's finances. Words like "booze" and "dames" fly around. You know the drill. Girl goes missing and a mystery woman hires said detective to find her, I was ready to write the book off as a study in cliche. Good for a laugh or distraction.

I was wrong. There was a lot more depth to the story than the first few pages would let on. True, Gabrych could've eased up on the cliches a little towards the beginning, but he also put them there for a reason. Sometimes Fogtown twists your expectations by switching traditional roles around, other times just takes a more honest look at something the audience takes for granted.

On the whole, this is a good bit of light reading. Well-envisioned, well-realized, and has a movie-like feel and structure. No, it's not the kind of story where everything's deeply symbolic of the human scenario, nor do the characters delve into long monologues about the nature of the universe, man's place in it, etc. (And bless Gabrych for that!) But it does have depth and a very human angle. So if you're looking for an unconventional read that has a lot of story in a fairly small number of pages, then give Fogtown a try.
4.0 out of 5 stars Boldly Goes Where Few Noir Novels Dare to Go... Nov. 6 2011
By Kevin Burton Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Few noir novels, let alone graphic novels, wander into the murky areas of human sexuality, never mind homosexuality, as well or as audaciously as FOGTOWN does. In fact, short of perhaps Josh Lanyon and John Morgan Wilson, few contemporary crime writers even venture close to the topic.

Yet Andersen Gabrych takes it all on, in this brave,bold and unapologetic novel. In 1953 San Francisco, bruiser P.I. Frank Grissel's search for a missing girl forces him to confront a dark, troubled past he thought he'd finally escaped. Everything is a tawdry and sordid as you'd expect, and Brad Rader's blunt, brutal artwork keeps perfect pace, but Gabrych's real courage as a writer comes through at the end.

This is noir, all right, but a noir that's miles ahead of the narrowly defined fanboy fantasies that pass for it these day in both comics and literature. He offers up the kind of ending that, at least in NoirLand, dare not speak its name.

Heartily recommended.

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