cover image New York Mon Amour

New York Mon Amour

Jacques Tardi, Benjamin Legrand, and Dominic Grange. Fantagraphics, $19.99 (64p) ISBN 978-1-606995-24-2

Tardi and company’s love letter to New York City paints a decidedly uninviting portrait of an unforgiving metropolis where one wrong turn can land even the most unassuming nobody into serious trouble. Originally published in the early 1980s, the book perfectly captures the then grungy urban sprawl, told through four tales of its troubled inhabitants struggling to carve out something resembling a life. The main story—about a pitiful exterminator who inadvertently sees too much, thus attracting the worst kind of attention—and the three shorts that follow are both nihilistic and elegant, offering a candid glimpse into a world that’s mostly ignored, but no less lived (and died) in. But the narratives seem only a necessary excuse to cruise the dimly lit side streets and deserted alleyways of the city like Travis Bickle, the antihero from Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver. Throughout the book, Tardi’s uncanny and provocative artwork seamlessly transmits the spirit of a now bygone New York, especially when compared to the artist’s reference photos at the end of the story, demonstrating why Tardi’s work is so admired. (July)