cover image The Man in the McIntosh Suit

The Man in the McIntosh Suit

Rina Ayuyang. Drawn & Quarterly, $24.95 trade paper (212p) ISBN 978-1-77046-666-1

This fast-paced story of love and intrigue from Eisner finalist Ayuyang (Blame This on the Boogie) immerses readers in a noirish take on the Manong Generation, mostly male Filipino immigrants who arrived in the United States in the 1920s and ’30s. Bobot, trained as a lawyer in the Philippines, lives in communal farm laborers’ housing in Watsonville, Calif. The other Filipino men love going out dancing in their impeccable bespoke “McIntosh” suits, but the assiduous Bobot spends his evenings writing letters to his wife Elysia back home, though he’s never received a reply. When word arrives from his cousin in San Francisco that Elysia’s been spotted in the city, Bobot becomes a reluctant gumshoe. His investigation takes him to San Francisco’s Manilatown, where he uncovers dark truths beneath the glitz of underworld nightclubs. Revelations come with the coincidences and cases of mistaken identity classic to pulp fiction, and Ayuyang’s Chagall-esque art gracefully captures both the antics of Bobot’s friends and family, which punctuate the narrative with levity like sunshine breaking through the San Francisco fog, and more quiet moments: the sinuous lines of a nightclub performance, the romantic swoon of a stolen kiss, a solitary walk in the city. Throughout, the undercurrents of loneliness and racial prejudice add depth. This melancholic yet glimmering story brings to life a generation of immigrants often overlooked by histories of the period. (May)