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)
$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.
INTRODUCTION Jerome Charyn
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
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
.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
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Aug. 19, 2016