Monday, August 29, 2011

The Left Bank Gang

The Left Bank Gang
Trade Paperback

Acclaimed cartoonist Jason's graphic novel The Left Bank Gang suffers from having one clever idea too many. The idea of the expatriate American authors who lived in Paris after the war being cartoonists rather than short story writers or novelists is cute; the idea of those same expats trying to alleviate their financial pressure by stealing the gate from a big prize fight is compelling. But the book spends too much time on the first idea to give the second enough room to breathe.

That being said, once the heist goes off -- and, naturally, goes horribly wrong -- things grab your attention, and I quite like the way Jason portrays the story of each of the characters involved in the robbery, gradually revealing the different strands of the narrative as he goes. Unfortunately, the sheer number of focal characters in The Left Bank Gang diffuses the emotional impact of the story.

The book is still entertaining, but I think it's the weakest of the three Jason works I've looked at this month.

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