Left Bank Gang

Overview

2007 Eisner Award-winner: set in 1920s Paris, this is a deliciously inventive re-imagining of the great literary figures of the period (Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Pound, and Joyce) as graphic novelists... and perpetrators of a thrilling, double-crossing heist!
F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound, and James Joyce walk into a Parisian bar... no, it's not the beginning of a joke, but the premise of Jason's unique new graphic novel.
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Overview

2007 Eisner Award-winner: set in 1920s Paris, this is a deliciously inventive re-imagining of the great literary figures of the period (Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Pound, and Joyce) as graphic novelists... and perpetrators of a thrilling, double-crossing heist!
F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound, and James Joyce walk into a Parisian bar... no, it's not the beginning of a joke, but the premise of Jason's unique new graphic novel.
Set in 1920s Paris, The Left Bank Gang is a deliciously inventive re-imagining of these four literary figures as not only typical Jason anthropomorphics, but... graphic novelists! Yes, in Jason's warped world, cartooning is the dominant form of fiction, and not only do these four literary giants work in the comics medium but they get together to discuss pen vs. brush, chat about the latest graphic novels from Dostoevsky ("I can't tell any of his characters apart!") to Faulkner ("Hasn't he heard of white space? His panels are too crowded!"), and bemoan their erratic careers.
Add in a hilarious sequence where Hemingway is lectured by an overbearing Gertrude Stein ("What kind of pencil are you using? You should be using a blue pencil, that way you don't have to erase, all right? Avoid captions. Don't ever write 'A little later.' You don't need that. The reader will figure it out."), guest appearances by Zelda Fitzgerald and Jean-Paul Sartre, and a few remarkable twists and turns along the way, and you've got one of the funniest and most playful graphic novels of the year.
Like Jason's acclaimed Why Are You Doing This?, The Left Bank Gang is rendered in full spectacular color. This is Jason's eighth graphic novel in six years for Fantagraphics, and his audience continues to grow with every acclaimed release.
2007 Eisner Award winner, Best U.S. Edition of International Material; 2007 Eisner Award nominee: Best Coloring (Hubert).

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Editorial Reviews

Andrew Arnold - Time.com
“[T]he use of animals as human stand-ins turns the tales into Aesop-like fables with a modern, existential twist.”
Publishers Weekly
Using only a few pages, Jason manages to craft two different stories that happen to star the same characters. The characters are F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce and other literary giants as they live their legendary bohemian lifestyles in Paris. Except in this story they aren't writers but cartoonists, with comics being the height of culture in this alternate world. Not only are these writers now comic book creators, they are distinctly comic book characters as Jason has transformed them into his trademark anthropomorphic dogs and birds. As these characters contemplate their lives, Fitzgerald in particular is down and out. The book is a comment on the literary acceptance comics have been getting in recent years. All the anxieties these creators have to deal with are just as relevant to writers and cartoonists now as they were for the Lost Generation. Then, in a rather abrupt twist only Hemingway could be responsible for, the group decides to rob a bank, turning into a Tarantinoesque caper complete with different perspectives on the same chaotic event. Jason's clean, comfortable art and droll storytelling keep everything together through all the stylistic flights of fancy. (Aug.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
KLIATT
Meet F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ezra Pound, Ernest Hemingway, and James Joyce, recreated as anthropomorphized animal cartoonists living in 1920s Paris. Jason keeps many of the factual details of the writers' lives: Fitzgerald is tortured and mocked by wife Zelda; and Hemingway resides with first wife Hadley. All of the characters sit together and drink and wonder if their work is good enough, and why none of them have any money. After one such evening, Hemingway proposes that the gang commits a robbery, and with this act things begin to go terribly awry for the group. Though this is a slender volume, Jason has composed a masterful mystery that will keep readers riveted. The conclusion is most impressive, telling each gang member's experience of the botched crime, slowly weaving together each story. Though clearly written for adults, older teens may appreciate the allusions to these writers and the culture of the 1920s. Recommend this to fans of Jason's previous mystery, Why Are You Doing This? (Fantagraphics, 2005). KLIATT Codes: SA*--Exceptional book, recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2006, Fantagraphics, 48p. illus., $12.95.. Ages 15 to adult.
—Jennifer Feigelman
Library Journal
"No one is buying my comics," moans Ernest Hemingway to wife Hadley, and the next day he punches out a critic on the street. It's 1920s Paris, and Hemingway, Ezra Pound, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and James Joyce are-cartoonists? Drawn as goofy, anthropomorphic animals by Harvey awardee and Norwegian Jason, the penniless quartet hang out in their favorite watering holes while dissing tourists and other "cartoonists": Gertrude Stein ("unreadable"), Dostoyevsky ("all his characters look alike"), even Norwegian Nobel laureate Knut Hamsun ("you've got to leave some white space!"). Fitzgerald drinks too much and has Zelda trouble, but the drollery cranks up a more serious turn of events when Hemingway proposes to end their money troubles by staging a heist. Matters do not go as planned, and the plot unravels through repeat tellings from multiple perspectives, Rashomon-style. With flirtatious, conniving Zelda as minence grise, double-cross becomes triple-cross, and nearly everybody winds up dead or still poor. It's a cartoonist's conceit to relate comic art to the Lost Generation literary lights of the past, and the results are both droll and sad. Nothing graphically offensive, but there are sexual issues. Especially suitable for academic libraries. For ages 16+.-M.C. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781560977421
  • Publisher: Fantagraphics Books
  • Publication date: 8/19/2006
  • Pages: 48
  • Sales rank: 566,767
  • Product dimensions: 7.10 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Jason hails from Oslo, Norway, but currently resides in the south of France. The Harvey and Eisner Award-winner continues to create new books at a breakneck pace—his books include Werewolves of Montpellier; Low Moon; Pocket Full of Rain and Other Stories; Hey, Wait...; Sshhhh!; The Iron Wagon; What I Did (collecting the previous three volumes); I Killed Adolf Hitler; The Last Musketeer; The Left Bank Gang; Why Are You Doing This?; The Living and the Dead; Meow, Baby!; You Can't Get There from Here; Tell Me Something; and Almost Silent (collecting the previous four volumes) and (with Fabien Vehlmann) Isle of 100,000 Graves.

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