Fogtown is an amazing piece of literature, not only by graphic novel standards but also by literary standards. It transcends the comic book art form and delivers a suspenseful drama and a truly engaging story.
This graphic novel follows Frank Grissel, a hardened detective who makes his living solving crimes and charming the ladies. However, he has more than a few secrets locked in his closet. Wink, wink.
Detective Frank Grissel meets a prostitute in passing, and soon gets involved in tracking down her murders. From a missing girl to an underground kidnapping ring, the case soon grows before Grissel’s eyes and drags his innermost secrets to the forefront. The novel features all the characters you would expect from a noir: the private dick, his girl Friday, pimps, shipyard owners, and a bevy of unsavory characters.
The comic challenges typical noir by offering a story that is as diverse as the city in which it takes place. It captures the city’s grit, sordid sexual underbelly, and vast cultural differences. It tells a truly noir story while introducing some culturally relevant subplots and motifs. It helps that one of the main characters is a gay man trying to find a place for himself in the 1950s.
The story has so many twists and turns and such a frenetic pace that it would make an amazing film. Each pane holds some amazing detail or clue that captures the San Francisco of the era, and really carries the story along. The characters seem so realistic and true to form that you can lose yourself and forget it’s only a comic book.
Fogtown captures an era, an emotion, and the true heart of San Francisco, which is more than a gay mecca; it is also a city that offers danger, secrets, and sexual drama. The graphic novel transcends the genre and offers you a truly engaging and thrilling page turner. It is definitely a must read for noir fans, gay comic book geeks, and mystery lovers.
by Anderson Gabrych
Publisher: Vertigo. Publication Date: August 10, 2010. Pages: 176. Price: $19.99. Format: Graphic Novel / Hardcover. ISBN-13: 978-1401213848