‘Kill My Mother’ by Jules Feiffer – A Noir Graphic Novel

‘Kill My Mother’ by Jules Feiffer    (2014) – 148 pages


‘Kill My Mother’ is part hard-boiled detective noir, part World War II battle drama, part Hollywood mystery with scandalous celebrities and a dancing fool.

Since it is a comic, it can be as over-the-top as it wants to be.  The art work is a playful zany delight.  The story is crazy noir with mysterious murders, a hard-bitten horny drunk private eye, lotsa femme fatales, a jaunt through Hollywood, and a military battle thrown in for good measure.  Do you remember the USO shows where Hollywood stars would tour the battlefields to put on a show for our troops?  There is one of those shows here.  Of course there are boxing scenes; there are bar scenes, swing dance scenes, tap dance scenes, transvestite scenes, nude scenes.  There is a casting call scene and a nightclub scene.  Nearly every trope from old 1940s movies can be found here.

This graphic novel has one of the most explosive, dramatic conclusions you will ever find.

‘Kill My Mother’ is divided into two parts.  The first part called ‘Bay City Blues’ takes place in 1933 and has pretty much a traditional detective noir setting.  The second part takes place ten years later in 1943 and is called ‘Hooray for Hollywood’ where we have almost all the same characters from Part I who have now moved to Hollywood and are working in the movie business at one function or another.

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Jules Feiffer has been cartooning forever.  His comic strips ran for 42 years in the Village Voice.  He has drawn political cartoons, written novels and plays, and published his autobiography.   He drew one of the earliest graphic novels, ‘Tantrum’, in 1979.  An early book of his cartoons was called ‘Sick, Sick, Sick: A Guide to Non-Confident Living’.  He is eighty five years old now.

The only small criticism I have is that the unique print style of Jules Feiffer’s handwriting is somewhat hard to read.  I remember even having that problem in college while reading his cartoons.

This graphic novel is dedicated to Milton Caniff, Will Eisner, Hammett and Chandler and Cain, John Huston, Billy Wilder, Howard Hawks, and Joan Z. Holden.

I believe ‘Kill My Mother’ will be great fun for a lot of people, especially those who have watched and enjoyed those old 1940s movies.  But even young people could get a kick out of this preposterous story.


4 responses to this post.

  1. I love the sound of this one….


  2. That does sound rather good, and I do like the artwork. Thanks, I’ll look out for it.


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