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2016 The Boys of Sheriff Street

The Boys of Sheriff Street (Dover Graphic Novels) Paperback – July 20, 2016 by Jerome Charyn (Author), Jacques de Loustal (Author)
Series: Dover Graphic Novels
Paperback: 96 pages
Publisher: Dover Publications (July 20, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0486807096
ISBN-10: 0-486-80709-6
ISBN-13: 978-0486807096
ISBN-13: 978-0-486-80709-6
ISBN 9780486807096
$9.99 / $14.95
Introduction by Jerome Charyn v
Chapter One: The Arrival of Ida Chance 1
Chapter Two: The War With Leo Whale 23
Chapter Three: The Fiancée of the Emperor . . 45
Jacques de Loustal Sketches 67

1991 Les frères Adamov

With its moody, atmospheric images of New York City's underworld during the 1930s, this graphic novel conjures up the timeless allure of film noir. Twin brothers Max and Morris, rivals for the love of a savage beauty, conduct a gangland war amid the Lower East Side's tenements and wharfs. Author Jerome Charyn, hailed by "New York Newsday "as "a contemporary American Balzac," provides a new introduction and translation for the tale, which was originally published in French. Suggested for mature readers.

I first discovered Jacques de Loustal through Barney et la note bleue (1987), a graphic novel he did with scenarist Philippe Paringaux about Barney Wilen, the brilliant French saxophonist whose father was an American dentist. Barney is one of the most poignant graphic novels I have ever read—it tells of the growing isolation of Barney Wilen and reads like a crime novel without an apparent crime. Loustal's images are almost mosaics that he applies to Wilen's tale piece by piece. We move in slow motion, as if a painter such as Matisse had suddenly decided to do a graphic novel. Loustal has an aesthetic—a painterly touch—that most other graphic artists lack. His own art is not about movement. It is about the solitary images in a dream.

After reading Barney, I knew right away that I wanted to work with Loustal. It was my good fortune that we had the same editor, Jean-Paul Mougin, and the same publisher, Casterman. I was able to meet with Loustal and propose my own script, "The Boys of Sheriff Street" (Les Freres Adamov in its original French title), a perverse tale about a gang of criminals on Manhattan's Lower East Side in the 1930s. I had no desire to repeat the dynamics of Barney et la note bleue, but I didn't want to lose Loustal's wonderful sense of the mosaic. I wanted to tell a crime story in stop-time, a slow motion universe where the gangsters were part of a primitive revenge tale, almost as if they had been ripped out of Greek tragedy.

There's very little dialogue. My gangsters could be part of some forlorn ballet. I didn't want to enter a realistic landscape with Loustal. The Lower East Side almost exists as a stage prop. Much of the action takes place at Mendel's, a café on Sheriff Street, where the patrons are like sleepwalkers suddenly jolted out of their dream state by the appearance of Ida Chance, a cashier at a local movie house. Ida has her own savage beauty, which is apparent to everyone at the café.

All the action revolves around Ida and the chiefs of the Sheriff Street clan, Max and Morris Adamov, a pair of twins. Max was born with a hump on his back; he's the brains of the gang, and the emperor of the Lower East Side. Ida, alas, belongs to his twin brother. But Max can't survive without Ida Chance And he can only win her by courting destruction.

Ida has a decorative élan in Loustal's designs. He flattens the decor until each of his images is like a tiny poem. The characters in The Boys of Sheriff Street are never in control of their destiny. They dance around their own primitive urges—and Loustal has captured these urges in drawings and pastel-like colors that have all the staccato lyricism of jazz. So finally there is a connection between Barney and The Boys of Sheriff Street, a lyric pull that's almost like musical notes Les Freres Adamov was first published in 1991, and it has taken twenty-five years for it to cross the Atlantic. Loustal is an accomplished painter as well as a graphic artist, and he has done many covers and sketches for The New Yorker, where his unique style is immediately apparent—buildings that look like vast, empty caverns; animals with their unique reptilian shape; women with a strange, anarchic beauty; men in a permanent dream state. Loustal was an architecture student before he turned to graphic art. He has traveled around the world many times, and is known for his sketchbooks about these voyages. And one might even consider The Boys of Sheriff Street as Loustal's private notebook about New York.

Amid the tenements and riverfronts of the Lower East Side, twin brothers Max and Morris rule the seedy streets as chieftains of a crew of thieves and hoodlums. Tensions rise when a rival gang encroaches upon their Sheriff Street territory, leading to a wave of violence that threatens to develop into an all-out war. The setting becomes even more explosive when a femme fatale enters the scene and tests the brothers' loyalty to each other.
With its moody, atmospheric images of New York City's underworld during the 1930s, this graphic novel conjures up the timeless allure of film noir. The haunting illustrations are the work of French artist Jacques de Loustal, who is also a noted painter and graphic artist. This edition includes a series of the artist's preliminary sketches.

About the Author
Called "a contemporary American Balzac" by New York Newsday, Jerome Charyn is the author of thirty novels, three memoirs, eight graphic novels, and other acclaimed works. Two of his memoirs were named New York Times Book of the Year, he has been a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, and he was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship in 1983. Charyn has also received the Rosenthal Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and has been named Commander of Arts and Letters (Ordre des Arts et des Lettres) by the French Minister of Culture.

Parisian Jacques de Loustal began his career as an illustrator of comic books in the late 1970s. His short comics appeared in the Franco-Belgian magazines Métal Hurlant, Pilote, Nitro, Chic, and Zoulou. Noted for a painterly style in the tradition of David Hockney, Loustal has contributed to the magazine À Suivre, for which he created Coeurs de Sable, Barney et la Note Bleue, Un Jeune Homme Romantique, and Kid Congo.

.THE BROTHERS ADAMOV by Jerome Charyn & de Loustal. In 1936, a gang leader headquartered in seedy corner of Manhattan's Lower East Side, has his life turned upside down by a blonde femme fatale!

Dover Graphic Novels has just inked a deal to publish the first ever English translation of THE BOYS OF SHERIFF STREET (originally entitled LES FRERES ADAMOV) by Jerome Charyn and Jacques de Loustal! We add this to our recent announcement of new English translations of THE MAGICIAN'S WIFE and BILLY BUDD, KGB, both by Jerome Charyn and François Boucq. Dover Publications is working on more deals to publish English translations of European graphic novels, so keep your eyes peeled!


Copyright Copyright © 1991 by Casterman Introduction and English translation copyright
© 2016 by Jerome Charyn All rights reserved.
Bibliographical Note The Boys of Sheriff Street, first published by Dover Publications, Inc., in 2016, is a republication of the artwork contained in Les Freres Adamov, published by Casterman in 1991.
A new English translation of the original French text has been provided by Jerome Charyn, who also has written an Introduction.
Manufactured in the United States by RR Donnelley 80709601 2016



The Boys of Sheriff Street

By Jerome Charyn and Jacques de Loustal, Dover, 80 pages,

Embroiled in a turf war on the Lower East Side in the 1930s, twin gangster brothers fall for the same woman. Insatiably power-hungry, and subject to fits when he can’t get his way, gang leader Max plots to win over the indifferent Ida, learning to resent his beloved brother Morris, her fiancé. Though Jerome Charyn’s narrative captions – half-poetic, half-sardonic – nudge the action into a slightly symbolic realm, this remains a run-of-the-mill story, self-consciously derived from old gangster films (the boys share the good looks of Scarface’s Paul Muni or George Raft). What distinguishes the book is Jacques de Loustal’s weirdly stilted, sumptuously beautiful painting. Familiar here for his New Yorker covers, de Loustal has not had any comics published in English since 1991 – an oversight finally, marvellously corrected. The artist’s indelible images situate awkward, non-communicative figures among surroundings fraught with emotion, lambent and humming with color. His cityscapes – rueful, lonely views of Miami Beach, Penn Station, the Williamsburg Bridge or a brawl at the docks in the salmon-hued sunset – convey all the heavy-heartedness that no one on Sheriff Street can express to one another.

Review: New comics from Jerome Charyn and Jacques de Loustal, Dame Darcy and Powerpaola
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Aug. 19, 2016