The Ghost Script

A Graphic Novel

Jules Feiffer (Author)

Logo markA Liveright book

 

Never has the incomparable Jules Feiffer been more eerily prophetic than in this stunning finale to his best-selling Kill My Mother trilogy.

Hollywood is haunted. 1953. Ghosts abound. In particular, the ghost of Detective Sam Hannigan—murdered in Bay City twenty-two years earlier by Addie Perl, the hired assassin who then bought a Hollywood nightclub with her blood money. Among the nightclub’s favored clientele is Sam’s widow, Elsie. Blinded by a Japanese bullet while on a USO tour in the South Pacific, Elsie has been reinvented into “Miss Know-It-All,” a Hollywood gossip columnist. But blind Elsie is haunted by the ghost of her husband, Sam, who asks her accusingly: “If Miss Know-It-All knows so much, why can’t she find Cousin Joseph, the man who had me killed?”

Hollywood is haunted. Spooks abound. Agents Shoen and Kline, investigators for the House Un-American Activities Committee, manipulate the blacklisted, buxom, over-the-hill starlet-turned-hooker Lola Burns into working for them and naming the names she had once refused to betray.

Hollywood is haunted. Communist screenwriters Oz McCay and Faye Bloom are noisily plotting, boozing, and laughing their way toward their impending disaster.

Hollywood is haunted. As an inside joke, writer-director Annie Hannigan—Sam and Elsie’s daughter—comes up with the idea of a “Ghost Script” that may or may not exist but is rumored to expose the inside story of the Hollywood blacklist and the names of its undercover masterminds, most notably the reclusive philanthropist Lyman Murchison, a superpatriot with a dirty secret.

Hollywood is haunted. Stumbling his way through this maze is private eye Archie Goldman, a tough-talking, nebbishy good guy who’s never been in a fight he didn’t lose. Archie’s single aim is to live up to the memory of the ghost who haunts him: Detective Sam Hannigan. Trail along with Archie into the middle of this muddle, as he tracks the arc of history and finds that it has rounded itself off into a circular firing squad.

In this antic and brilliant assault on our past and present, Jules Feiffer shows us, once and for all, that if there’s one thing Americans hate, it’s learning from past mistakes. Every twenty years or so, a new generation must address new biases and injustices that are virtually identical to past biases and injustices. But who remembers? Exposing the tragically cyclical path of American history, Jules Feiffer pens the final installment to a noir masterpiece.

Book Details

  • Hardcover
  • July 2018
  • ISBN 978-1-63149-313-3
  • 8 × 11.3 in / 160 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide

Endorsements & Reviews

“Feiffer concludes the remarkable trilogy that began with Kill My Mother and Cousin Joseph, inspired by the tropes of film noir and the historical reality of anticommunist witch hunts, in this feverish crime story… [Feiffer] shows off his mastery of the form with grace… the atmosphere of paranoia, censorship, and enforced patriotism thrums… In this capstone to a graceful three-volume performance, Feiffer has an utterly unique take on crime fiction and crime comics, drawing with an energy that practically hurls the characters off the page.” — Publishers' Weekly [Starred Review]

“Feiffer’s terrific trilogy, which began with Kill My Mother (2014) and Cousin Joseph (2016) and concludes here, was meant to pay apolitical homage to noir, writes the author in his foreword. But politics found him, and a plotline that originated in the previous book unfolds against a backdrop of union-busting, Communist hysteria, and the Hollywood blacklist. Fascinating female leads Elsie, Patty, Annie, and Dorothea are still present, still trying to get by, and like most art about repressive times, it’s really about how people live (or don’t live) with impossible choices... Feiffer’s fractured funhouse mirror of a plot features plenty of surprises (despite frequent flashbacks, readers new to the series should definitely start at the beginning), and his themes of gender fluidity, doubles and disguise, and divided loyalties are as engrossing as ever.... his line work still contains irrepressible energy, and subtly hued, mostly duotone inking explodes like fireworks with bursts of color. A fitting finish to a late-career triumph.” — Booklist [Starred Review]

“Feiffer (Cousin Joseph, 2016, etc.) closes out his Kill My Mother graphic-novel trilogy by weaving the Hollywood blacklist into his noir quilt of sex, violence, labor, and media.... It all builds to a satisfying settling of scores and a final conspiracy that sends the series off with a wink. Once again, Feiffer has delivered a madcap meditation on love, loyalty, identity, and America that is by turns funny, tragic, and triumphant—and thoroughly weird. Both illustrations and story feel loose and loopy, and the ultimate effect is mesmerizing. A fitting conclusion to a wonderfully outrageous epic.” — Kirkus Reviews [Starred Review]

Also by Jules Feiffer All

  1. Book CoverCousin Joseph: A Graphic Novel

    Hardcover

  2. Book CoverKill My Mother (LIMITED EDITION): A Graphic Novel

    Limited Edition / Hardcover

  3. Book CoverKill My Mother: A Graphic Novel

    Paperback