Patrick Raynal

Esoteric Pulp Fiction : Suite Noire, or the pleasure of intertextuality

Raynal

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A Journey with Sam Millar

The-Avengers

Jack Kirby, The Avengers, 4, March 1964 (cover art)

There are many photographs of Sam Millar in the press, and on the web.  On most of them, he looks rather intimidating. On some, you might even feel  a sense of menace.  He comes across as a hard man,  no mistake.  His  reputation, CV, and books, of course, do nothing to change this first impression. Or maybe they  do influence it. Nobody would wish to know  as  much about violence as he does. There is something else also, and his books prepare you for that too, when you meet him : a  dark and constant sense of humour, and a great gift for telling stories, especially stories of tough luck.  And a passion for books, magazines, and all printed matter. The journey between Dublin Connolly Station and Belfast Central lasts 2 hours.   It  feels much shorter. We have barely passed the  viaduct on the Broadmeadow  estuary when he orders coffees, and starts talking about the books he read. His father, a sailor, encouraged him to read;   himself read all the time.  Reading was a political act. When he came  ashore, back to Belfast, he brought books.   From America, he used to bring him Comics;  Marvel, DC Comics, stories of heinous villains and  of superheroes fighting for justice. Sam grew up during the early period of the troubles  in Northern Ireland, reading  Detective Comics made in New York.  The Civil rights movement and the tail end of the silver age of Marvel comics might  have seemed to intersect, not only historically, but at some distant, ideal point. Continue reading

How Noir is Belfast ?

Adrian McKinty and Stuart Neville, in the introduction to the recently launched collection of short stories, Belfast Noir (N.Y., Akashic, 2014) describe Belfast, with some claims, as ” the noirest city on earth”.  The feeling seems to be shared by the international publishing industry. In so far at least as original titles of noir novels set in Northern Ireland have been changed,  in translation or for the U.S. Market, in order to feature the name of the city. Or have been produced originally, abroad, or domestically with a title using explicitly Belfast as a byword  for violence.  Here are a few examples of such “Belfastxploitation”, with some images for a view on Belfast, as reconstructed from the outside…

mILLAR

Sam Millar , Die Bestien von Belfast: Ein Fall für Karl Kane, Translator :  Joachim Körb

Atrium Verlag, Hamburg, 2013 (original, Bloodstorm, 2008). Continue reading