Celebrating the Unpopular Arts
 

‘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 Jo√ęlle 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¬†fianc√©, 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!

3 Comments

  1. Le Messor

    by Jamie S. Rich and Jo√ęlle Jones, with lettering by Douglas E. Sherwood, designed by Keith Wood,

    I’m not sure what ‘designed by’ means in this context?

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