Martin Terrier, ice-cold mercenary-turned-contract-killer, has his future all mapped out: He has just executed
what he intends to be his final job and is ready to move on to the next phase of his life, which involves discreet
retirement accompanied by a long-lost girlfriend. But Terrier’s employers are emphatically not pleased with his
decision, old enemies begin to re-emerge, and soon Terrier is forced to once again ply his brutal trade.
Five years after West Coast Blues, his acclaimed adaptation of Jean-Patrick Manchette’s Le Petit bleu de
la côte ouest (a.k.a. Three to Kill), Jacques Tardi returns to the world of guns, crime, betrayal and bloodshed
with this stunning, grisly, and remarkably faithful interpretation of Manchette’s last completed crime thriller.
Manchette himself claimed to have written the novel in an attempt to emulate the ultraviolent, hellbent-for-leather,
pitch-black ambiance of Robert Aldrich’s Kiss Me Deadly, and Tardi matches him bullet for bullet and
blow for blow. As The Village Voice noted of the original novel (La Position
du tireur couché, released in English under the title
The Prone Gunman by City Lights in 2001), “Thirty pages before the finale, it’s hard not to wonder how the book could possibly end... But the book does end, in circumstances far worse than you might
easily imagine, on a note of extraordinary bleakness.”
2010 Eisner Award Nominee: Best Adaptation from Another Work; Best U.S. Edition of International Material
George Gerfaut, aimless young executive and desultory family man, witnesses a murder and finds himself sucked into a spiral of violence involving an exiled war criminal and two hired assassins. Adapting to the exigencies of his new life on the run with shocking ease, Gerfaut abandons his comfortable middle-class life for several months (including a sojourn in the countryside after an attempt to ride the rails turns spectacularly bad) until, joined with a new ally, he finally returns to settle all accounts... with brutal, bloody interest.
Originally released in 2005, West Coast Blues (Le Petit bleu de la côte ouest) is Tardi’s adaptation of a popular 1976 novel by the French crime writer Jean-Patrick Manchette. (The novel had been previously adapted to film under the more literal title Trois hommes à abattre, and was released in English by the San Francisco-based publisher City Lights under the English version of the same title, 3 to Kill.)
Tardi’s late-period, looser style infuses Manchette’s dark story with a seething, malevolent energy; he doesn’t shy away from the frequently grisly goings-on, while maintaining (particularly in the old-married-couple-style bickering of the two killers who are tracking Gerfaut) the mordant wit that characterizes his best work. This is the kind of graphic novel that Quentin Tarantino would love, and a double shot of Scotch for any fan of unrelenting, uncompromising crime fiction.
"Tardi brings a rough and gritty reality and an existential strangeness that makes his crime stories different than anyone else’s. I’ll read anything he draws." – Ed Brubaker
"To put it simply, this shit kicks ass." – Howard Chaykin