With the New York Times bestseller Kill My Mother , legendary cartoonist Jules Feiffer began an epic saga of American noir fiction. With Cousin Joseph , a prequel that introduces us to bare-knuckled Detective Sam Hannigan, head of the Bay City's Red Squad and patriarch of the Hannigan family featured in Kill My Mother , Feiffer brings us the second installment in this highly anticipated graphic trilogy.Read more...
With the New York Times bestseller Kill My Mother, legendary cartoonist Jules Feiffer began an epic saga of American noir fiction. With Cousin Joseph, a prequel that introduces us to bare-knuckled Detective Sam Hannigan, head of the Bay City's Red Squad and patriarch of the Hannigan family featured in Kill My Mother, Feiffer brings us the second installment in this highly anticipated graphic trilogy.
Our story opens in Bay City in 1931 in the midst of the Great Depression. Big Sam sees himself as a righteous, truth-seeking patriot, defending the American way, as his Irish immigrant father would have wanted, against a rising tide of left-wing unionism, strikes, and disruption that plague his home town. At the same time he makes monthly, secret overnight trips on behalf of Cousin Joseph, a mysterious man on the phone he has never laid eyes on, to pay off Hollywood producers to ensure that they will film only upbeat films that idealize a mythic America: no warts, no injustice uncorrected, only happy endings.
But Sam, himself, is not in for a happy ending, as step by step the secret of his unseen mentor's duplicity is revealed to him. Fast-moving action, violence, and murder in the noir style of pulps and forties films are melded in the satiric, sociopolitical Feifferian style to dig up the buried fearmongering of the past and expose how closely it matches the headlines, happenings, and violence of today.
With Cousin Joseph, Feiffer builds on his late-life conversion to cinematic noir, bowing, as ever, to youthful heroes Will Eisner and Milton Caniff, but ultimately creating a masterpiece that through his unique perspective and comic-strip noir style illuminates the very origins of Hollywood and its role in creating the bipolar nation we've become.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-05-09
- Reviewer: Staff
Master cartoonist Feiffer has crafted a worthy noir thriller prequel to the critically acclaimed Kill My Mother. The year is 1931. Det. Sam Hannigan is a proud American and a member of fictional Bay City’s finest. When he and his partner aren’t fighting crime or getting their “Red Squad” to suppress the local trade unions, he’s off to do the bidding of the mysterious Cousin Joseph, an unidentified bigwig who wants to rid Hollywood of what he considers anti-American propaganda films. Soon, Sam finds himself in over his head and on both sides of the law as he tries to keep track of the various forces at work against him. Feiffer’s strength as a graphic novelist is in creating a range of fascinating characters, from Sam’s partner, Neil Hammond, who’s planning to retire from the force and become a PI, to Valerie Knox, the daughter of the local factory owner, who has a pathological interest in young men. This complex series of character studies forms a densely woven narrative that is deftly written and expertly illustrated. (July)