‘You Have Killed Me’: Noir by Rich and Jones

In the latest Previews, as we saw, You Have Killed Me was offered in a new softcover edition, to be released on Valentine’s Day (aw!).  I got the original hardcover version out from a local library to take a look!

You Have Killed Me cover

You Have Killed Me is by Jamie S. Rich and Joëlle Jones, with lettering by Douglas E. Sherwood, designed by Keith Wood, edited by James Lucas Jones and Jill Beaton, with the hand application of tone assisted by “Terry and Satoka”.

Antonio Mercer is a private eye that once dated Julie (full name Juliet) Roman, and when she disappears before her wedding, her sister Jennie (Jennifer, although she’s listed as Jessica in the new solicit for some reason) visits Mercer to get him on the case to find her.  It appears that Julie couldn’t have disappeared from the locked room she was in, so what happened to her?  Rance Buckland is the abandoned fiancé, Kane is the jazz trumpeter at the club that Buckland and Julie come to gamble at, and Kane is also apparently the dude that Julie canoodles with on the side.  There’s also a gambling impresario named Carlton Memory that the Roman sisters were involved with.  What happened to Julie, and how are all these people intertwined by gambling and sex?

Overall, the story of You Have Killed Me is a generic noir story.  There’s gambling, a jazz club, a bash on the detective’s head, the racetrack, hard boiled narration, dirty dames….  There’s nothing really new brought to the table here.  Even the opening is a fake out, and I didn’t even realize until I was finished with the book where it slotted into the story (“wait, what about the opening…oh, I see” was pretty much my thought process at the end, and I flipped through the pages to find where it took place in the story).  And the mystery is never quite compelling enough to carry the story.  Mercer was involved with the missing woman, but he never seems to be more affected emotionally than at the surface to make us really care if he finds Julie or not.  He’s probably not over losing her, but he also doesn’t seem overly torn up that he’s not with her anymore, though.  The story concludes but doesn’t seem to really do more than just tie off the loose ends.  Although, come to think of it, I’m not sure who committed one of the murders in the book, but I actually don’t care either.

You Have Killed Me has decent, fairly early art (I believe) by Jones.  It’s got a bit of a manga influence, not quite as much as art she does on a more recent book I’ll look at in the near future, but it’s there.  There are some really cartoony bits like the crowd at the racetrack, but overall the people look natural, if slightly exaggerated.  There are plenty of empty backgrounds, which doesn’t really ground us in the environments.  I’m not even sure when this story is supposed to take place, exactly.  The 1930s?  Possibly, but it’s not clear.  More generic noir.

Overall, You Have Killed Me is an acceptable, if forgettable, graphic novel from two creators that each have done better work (Lady Killer is a big improvement, from what I recall of that one).  It’s worth a read if you find it cheap, at least.  Thank god for libraries!

Maybe you can find it cheap online?  You should click the links and find out!

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