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Book Review < Back


Credits: Written and Illustrated by Steve Lafler
Publisher: Top Shelf


I don't know if there's such a thing - it wouldn't surprise me - but "music noir" was the first thing that popped to mind after reading Steve Lafler's BUGHOUSE. This is a graphic novel about the rise of a fictional 1950's jazz band that struggles to stay together amidst the temptation of drug abuse. For some reason, the characters are all portrayed as insects, which, as far as I can tell, was done to enable Lafler to draw them sucking drugs (known as "Bug Juice") through their antennae.

Which is all somehow very, very funny.

And that's the strange thing about BUGHOUSE. It's got a very upbeat, hipster kind of tone working for it, steeped in the rhythms of classic jazz and blues, that dispels any sort of dark clouds that the subject matter typically demands. In its own weird way, it's sort of a comedy. Even though it opens with two of the band members laughing over the death of one of the others. I really don't know how to describe it.

Music noir works for me.

-- Peter Aaron Rose

Peter Aaron Rose is a writer, producer and technologist who lives and works in San Francisco, CA. Under the pseudonym "Peter Siegel", he recently authored Killing Demons, a graphic novel available from Engine Press and Platinum Studios.


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