Fogtown Hardcover – Aug 10 2010
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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 Rader provided artwork for Batman: Gotham 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 the Paperback edition.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.
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.
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.
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.