Gerard Griffu

Created by Jean-Patrick Manchette
Jacques Tardi

GERARD GRIFFU is the disheveled, battered and betrayed legal adviser/punching bag hero of a real rock ’em, sock ’em hard-boiled detective story initially serialized in 27 installments between October 1977 and April 1978 in BD (issues #1-27), and eventually published as a very stylish  graphic novel in October 1978.

In a letter to a friend, Manchette promised Griffu would be “a lightning-fast thriller, intentionally an exercise in style (attempting to capture the feel of Aldrich’s Kiss Me Deadly with plenty of punches, cars, gunshots, booze, and sex…only the good stuff.”

Suffice it to say that Manchette and Tardi delivered. Griffu’s some kind of fantastic; a seedy romp through corruption, greed, casual racism, sex and violence, full of dives and flophouses, wrapped around a real estate scam, and caught up in the middle of it all is legal adviser Griffu, who keeps proclaiming he isn’t a private detective—but will act as one if the price is right.

He’s put through the wringer here, just meat for the genre grinder. I’m put in mind of Paul Simon’s “The Boxer”. Like the character in that song, Griffu “carries a reminder of every blow that cut him down till he cried out, in his anger and his shame, I am leaving, I am leaving, but the fighter still remains.”

Although all he may be fighting for, ultimately, is his cut of the action.


Jean-Patrick Manchette (text) is one of the most important of the French mystery writers. Manchette has written for television, film and bande dessinées. But his biggest influence has been in literature. He’s considered the founder of the Neo-Polar movement which brought a new, politically-tinged focus to hardboiled crime fiction in the late sixties. According to Renaud Bombard, of Presses de la Cite, “He restarted the French crime novel with books that were highly inspired by the great American noir writers. He showed that we could use the French sociohistorical reality to write very dynamic and shocking crime novels.” He’s also created French private eye Eugène Tarpon, who’s enjoyed considerable success, even inspiring a couple of films.

Jacques Tardi is a cartoonist and writer responsible for some pretty amazing adaptations of and original hard-boiled graphic stories. Since Griffu, he’s gone on to do several more tough private eye graphic novels, including adaptations of Le Der de ders by Didier Daeninckx, featuring René Griffon, and several featuring Léo Malet’s Parisian eye Nestor Burma.


  • GRIFFU | Buy this book
    (1977, originally serialized in BD: l’hebdo de la BD)
    Writers: Jean Patrick Manchette, Jacques Tardi
    Art: Jacques Tardi


  • Streets of Paris, Streets of Murder (Volume One) Buy this book | ComiXology/Kindle it!
    A series collecting all the noir collaborations between legendary French crime writers Jean-Patrick Manchette and writer/cartoonist Tardi , Volume One includes the never-before-collected in English \ Griffu, about a legal advisor who gets tangled up with a hot blonde mess of trouble, West Coast Blues, about a young salesman who finds himself pitted against an exiled war criminal and two hired assassin, plus a bonus, 21-page unfinished story. (June 2020)
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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