Review – Fogtown

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FogtownNoir is the new “it” genre for a while now (zombies are out, vampires are really out) and DC and Vertigo have been capitalizing with their Vertigo Crime line of books.  The vast majority are quality reads and the latest, Fogtown is no exception.

Written by Andersen Gabrych with art by Brad Rader, the crime graphic novel follows the usual gritty detective trying to find a missing girl and ledger in San Francisco.

It’s 1953 and Frank Grissel is a man from the old school – a touch-talking, hard-drinking womanizing private dick who’s seen it all and done it all… twice.

So when young hookers start turning up dead on the streets of San Francisco’s Tenderloin district, Frank barely raises an eyebrow.  But after an apparently simple missing persons case goes dizzyingly comple, Frank sees that all the vice in this town is connected – and that he is now caught in a twisted web of sex, money, drugs and murder.

And that’s not all… because, like the city itself, Frank Grissel is not all that appears.  Dig beneath the surface and there’s a complex and tortured soul who now realizes that exposing the truth of this case may well reveal the truth about himself…

The story is somewhat predictable if you pay attention to the hints, but that doesn’t lessen the enjoyment of the graphic novel.  Gabrych definitely goes the distance with very adult themes and situations.

There’s quite a few taboos that are pushed and intertwined in the story and everything is impressive.  I applaud Gabrych’s writing and willingness to put out a story of this nature and with some of the situations presented.  I also applaud DC for printing it.

If you enjoy noir, and it’s sometimes over the top plots, then this is the read for you.

Plot: Andersen Gabrych has put together a great noir tale.  He’s got it all, the missing girl, the damsel in distress, the abused girlfriend and the over the top plot.  There’s also some situations that are very adult and will make folks squeamish, and that’s fantastic to see.  Again, bravo to Gabrych for putting it on paper and DC publishing it.  Rating: 9

Art: Brad Rader backs up Gabrych’s story with some great art, there’s some issues here and there, but overall it’s nice to look at and very solid.  It definitely fits the pulp feel of the story and I can’t slam it too much.  It does the job and accomplishes what it needs to.  Rating: 7

Overall: Overall, I think the decent art and taboo pushing story are a definite pick up.  It fits perfectly along with the other top notch Vertigo Crime graphic novels and for anyone that’s a fan of the genre, it’s a definite read.  Overall rating: 8

Recommendation: Buy

Page count: 175 pages    Price: $19.99    Release Date: 8/4/2010

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