Kill My Mother

Pulitzer Prize- and Academy Award-winning cartoonist Jules Feiffer's Kill My Mother is a moving tribute to film noir, the golden age of Hollywood and World War II combat. Annie and her mother (who is employed by a private eye and is twice the detective he is) try to solve the mystery of who killed Annie’s policeman father, which serves as a launching point for a plot that has more twists than a roller coaster. Stuffed with the spicy ingredients of classic noir--femme fatales, gunplay, drunken private eyes, seedy bars and muddy back alleys--the graphic novel simmers with moody atmosphere as Feiffer tracks his characters from the Depression through the end of World War II. Whether boxing, stumbling drunk, making love or trying to kill each other, the characters move with a grace that extends beyond the traditional borders of a panel comic; Feiffer's penciling lends a human delicacy and vulnerability to even the most brutal action and adds poignancy and a sense of real loss and peril to events. The script is tight and evocative, filled with the snappy patter and seedy patois of classic detective novels.

Kill My Mother is as epic and complex as a James M. Cain novel, not to mention as dark; the body count keeps rising and no character is safe. The octogenarian's almost feminist empowerment of women prevents the story from becoming mere trite tribute. Feiffer has taken his fervor for noir and skillfully rendered it onto the page; the result stands worthily beside its influences, but is as fresh and new as anything the comic industry is currently producing. --Donald Powell, freelance writer

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