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The Black Dahlia (graphic novel)

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The Black Dahlia: A Crime Graphic Novel
DateJune 7, 2016
Main charactersDwight "Bucky" Bleichert, Lee Blanchard, Kay Lake
Page count176 pages
PublisherArchaia Entertainment
Creative team
WriterMatz with David Fincher
ArtistMiles Hyman
LettererDeron Bennett
EditorSierra Hahn
Original publication
Published inCasterman
Issuesw:fr:Payot & Rivages
Date of publicationNovember 13, 2013
LanguageFrench
ISBN220304568X

The Black Dahlia: A Crime Graphic Novel is a graphic novel adaptation of James Ellroy's novel, The Black Dahlia by Matz (pen-name for Alexis Nolent) and David Fincher, and illustrated by Miles Hyman.[1] Originally published in 2013 in French[2] as Le Dahlia Noir, it was published in English on June 2016, by Archaia Entertainment, a division of Boom! Studios. ISBN 978-1-60886-868-1 eISBN 978-1-61398-539-7 https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Le_Dahlia_noir_(bande_dessinée)

Synopsis[edit | edit source]

Dwight "Bucky" Bleichert celebrates his first day at the Warrants division of the Los Angeles Police Department, a prestigious position where most police in Los Angeles dream to work. He is teamed up with Leland "Lee" Blanchard, as he was a former boxer. He also meets Kay Lake, a woman who lives with Lee, but doesn't have an intimate relationship with him. The three form a "fairy tale triangle."

In January 1947, they begin to investigate a murder as horrible as publicized: that of Elizabeth "Betty" Short, nicknamed "The Black Dahlia" found dead and mutilated in a vacant lot.

Bucky and Lee's personal and professional lives begin to unravel as the investigation continues. They both become obsessed with Elizabeth Short. Bucky discovers that Lee's celebrated case- "The Boulevard-Citizens Bank Robbery"- was actually orchestrated by Lee. It was an attempt to frame Bobby DeWitt, Kay Lake's pimp at the time, and to save Kay from the violent DeWitt, who scarred Kay's body with a knife.

In the course of the investigation, leads in the murder case point to Mexico. Lee heads there alone, and eventually Bucky follows him to Mexico as well, because of the length of Lee's absence. Bucky finds Lee murdered, in a site used to dump bodies.

Returning to Los Angeles, Kay reveals many truths about Lee Blanchard's life, as well as hers. Despite this, Bucky and Kay marry May 2, 1947.

Bucky begins to deteriorate over the years, but successfully solves Elizabeth Short's murder. Kay has left him at this point because Bucky has become obsessed with Elizabeth Short. Bucky is fired from the LAPD because of his own conduct. Bucky receives a letter from Kay, informing him she is pregnant, postmarked from Cambridge, Massachusetts. Bucky leaves for a flight to Boston, Massachusetts, to reunite with Kay.

Style and Artwork[edit | edit source]

Miles Hyman used charcoal drawings in The Black Dahlia.[3] Also, David Fincher also only wanted only three comic strips strips per page.[4]

History of Adaptation[edit | edit source]

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Matz described the process of adapting the novel into the comic book medium. Matz stated he didn't originally start the script in French, but in English. He also said James Ellroy had to approve the script, stating "If he didn’t approve it, the graphic novel was killed. Simple as that." He also mentioned how he had known David Fincher from when Fincher was going to adapt Matz's series, The Killer, into a film. He said Fincher's input was "very valuable" and "Having him onboard made a big difference. I’m also quite proud to co-sign David Fincher’s first graphic novel as he is, like James Ellroy, a really unique individual I feel very fortunate to have met." [5][6]

Reception[edit | edit source]

The Black Dahlia: A Crime Graphic Novel had favorable reviews. An article from Nerdgeist said "This book is further reason why graphic novels are not just for kids, it’s mature, dark and a real gripping read, that does its source material more justice than the film ever did and helps keep alive the memory of someone that died all too young in an all too horrific manner."[7] ComiXology gave it 4 out of 5 stars.[8] From the French article at 20 minutes, it was "As captivating, neat and dense as the novel is, this graphic version enjoys an incredible combination of know-how. It would be surprising that it does not box in bookstores. "[9] Le Figaro wrote "The authors have fully understood, and the case Betty Short has not finished to upset the souls, thanks to the masterful reinterpretation of Fincher, Matz and Hyman."[10] Another review from Forces of Geek, praising the graphic novel adaptation said "The three together condense the novel into a visual form that exceptionally captures the tone and style of the best noirs without ever feeling derivative or referential. They are handling one of the biggest stories in noir folklore and one of the biggest noir novels of the last 30 years, which is a heavy task, but they achieve in so many places where the film failed."[11] Goodreads gave it 3 out of 5 stars (Note, there are two versions of this on Goodreads, one titled "The Black Dahlia: The Crime Graphic Novel").[12] However, Larry Harnisch, (writng as lmharnisch in the article, for the website ladailymirror.com) a former writer for the Los Angeles Times, critiqued The Black Dahlia graphic novel for "compressing and compacting" the source material of Ellroy's 1987 novel, into graphic novel form "as exposing many weaknesses that aren't apparent in the original book", real life historical inaccuracies, artwork appearing stiff and clunky, and difficulty in telling characters apart.[13]

See Also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Matz; Fincher, David (2016). Hahn, Sierra, ed. The Black Dahlia: A Crime Graphic Novel (1st ed.). Archaia Entertainment, Boom! Studios. ISBN 978-1-60886-868-1.
  2. Brown, Tracy (March 2, 2016). "Matz and David Fincher's 'The Black Dahlia' adaptation to be released in English". www.latimes.com. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 28 November 2018.
  3. Mimran, Olivier (8 November 2013). "The black Dahlia flourishes in boxes". 20 minutes (in French and Google Translated to English). 20 minutes. Retrieved 4 February 2019.CS1 maint: Unrecognized language (link)
  4. Mimran, Olivier (8 November 2013). "The black Dahlia flourishes in boxes". 20 minutes (in French and Google Translated to English). 20 minutes. Retrieved 4 February 2019.CS1 maint: Unrecognized language (link)
  5. Brown, Tracy (2 March 2016). "Matz and David Fincher's 'The Black Dahlia' adaptation to be released in English". latimes.com. Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 8 June 2016. Retrieved 16 February 2019.
  6. "James Ellroy -". jamesellroy.net. Archived from the original on 9 June 2016. Retrieved 16 February 2019.
  7. "The Black Dahlia (2016) Graphic Novel Review". Nerdgeist. 13 June 2016. Retrieved 4 February 2019. This book is further reason why graphic novels are not just for kids, it’s mature, dark and a real gripping read, that does its source material more justice than the film ever did and helps keep alive the memory of someone that died all too young in an all too horrific manner.
  8. "The Black Dahlia - Comics by comiXology". ComiXology. Retrieved 4 February 2019.
  9. Mimran, Olivier (8 November 2013). "The black Dahlia flourishes in boxes". 20 minutes (in French and Google Translated to English). 20 minutes. Retrieved 4 February 2019. As captivating, neat and dense as the novel is, this graphic version enjoys an incredible combination of know-how. It would be surprising that it does not box in bookstores.CS1 maint: Unrecognized language (link)
  10. Vertaldi, Aurélia (8 November 2013). "The black Dahlia masterfully adapted in comics". Le Figaro (in French and Google Translated to English). Le Figaro. Retrieved 4 February 2019. The authors have fully understood, and the case Betty Short has not finished to upset the souls, thanks to the masterful reinterpretation of Fincher, Matz and Hyman.CS1 maint: Unrecognized language (link)
  11. Fierro, Lily (13 June 2016). "'The Black Dahlia' OGN (review)". forcesofgeek.com. Forces of Geek. Retrieved 6 February 2019. The three together condense the novel into a visual form that exceptionally captures the tone and style of the best noirs without ever feeling derivative or referential. They are handling one of the biggest stories in noir folklore and one of the biggest noir novels of the last 30 years, which is a heavy task, but they achieve in so many places where the film failed.
  12. "The Black Dahlia: The Crime Graphic Novel by Matz". goodreads.com. Goodreads. Retrieved 8 February 2019.
  13. (lmharnisch) Harnisch, Larry (13 June 2016). "Black Dahlia: A Crime Graphic Novel by James Ellroy, David Fincher, Matz and Miles Hyman". ladailymirror.com. LA Daily Mirror. Retrieved 16 February 2019. But compressing and compacting the plot to the spare dimensions of a graphic novel exposes many weaknesses that aren’t apparent in the original book.

External Links[edit | edit source]


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Category:2016 graphic novels Category:2013 graphic novels Category:Crime graphic novels Category:American graphic novels Category:French graphic novels

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  1. Brown, Tracy (March 2, 2016). "Matz and David Fincher's 'The Black Dahlia' adaptation to be released in English". www.latimes.com. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 28 November 2018.
  2. "The Black Dahlia (2016) Graphic Novel Review". nerdgeist.com. Nerdgeist. June 13, 2016. Retrieved 28 November 2018.
  3. Booth, Rebecca (June 7, 2016). "Review – Black Dahlia HC (BOOM! Studios)". bigcomicpage.com. Retrieved 28 November 2018.
  4. "Casterman - Le Dahlia Noir". casterman.com (in French). Retrieved 30 November 2018.CS1 maint: Unrecognized language (link)
  5. Trent, John F. (4 June 2016). "Comic Book Preview: The Black Dahlia - Bounding Into Comics". boundingintocomics.com. Bounding Into Comics. Retrieved 4 February 2019.


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