GRIFFU is the battered and betrayed private eye/punching bag hero of a real rock 'em, sock 'em hardboiled detective story published as a very stylish French graphic novel. I'm put in mind of Paul Simon's "The Boxer". Like the character in that song, Griffu "carries a reminder of every blow that cut him down till he cried out, in his anger and his shame, I am leaving, I amleaving, but the fighter still remains."
Jean-Patrick Manchette (text) is one of the most important of the French mystery writers. Manchette has written for television, film and bande dessinées. But his biggest influence has been in literature. He's considered the founder of the Neo-Polar movement which brought a new, politically-tinged focus to hardboiled crime fiction in the late sixties. According to Renaud Bombard, of Presses de la Cite, "He restarted the French crime novel with books that were highly inspired by the great American noir writers. He showed that we could use the French sociohistorical reality to write very dynamic and shocking crime novels." He's also created French private eye Eugène Taron, who's enjoyed considerable success, even inspiring a couple of films.
Jacques Tardi (art) is responsible for some pretty amazing adaptations of and original hardboiled stories in comics. Since Griffu, he's gone on to do several more tough private eye graphic novels, including adaptations of Le Der de ders by Didier Daeninckx, featuring René Griffon and several featuring Léo Malet's Nestor Burma.
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.
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