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Roughneck

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  2,184 ratings  ·  351 reviews
A graphic novel about a brother and sister who must come together after years apart to face the disturbing history that has cursed their family.

Derek Ouellette’s glory days are behind him. His hockey career ended a decade earlier in a violent incident on ice, and since then he’s been living off his reputation in the remote northern community where he grew up, drinking too
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Paperback, 272 pages
Published August 7th 2018 by Gallery 13 (first published April 18th 2017)
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Brittany Knox I would say appropriate for all high school students. I am a 6-12 media specialist and middle schoolers are dealing with drug overdoses and domestic…moreI would say appropriate for all high school students. I am a 6-12 media specialist and middle schoolers are dealing with drug overdoses and domestic abuse. I wouldn't censor it from other high school students. (less)

Community Reviews

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4.11  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,184 ratings  ·  351 reviews


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Sam Quixote
Jun 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: best-comics-2017
Derek Ouelette is a has-been hockey goon. Thrown out of professional hockey for allowing his rage to get the better of him, Derek lives in a small Canadian town spending most of his time surly drunk and picking fights with anybody. When his estranged junkie sister Bethy drops by, pregnant and addicted with a shiner from her drug-dealing boyfriend, the two must confront their shared past trauma together to find their future.

Yeah, fucking grim, eh? Roughneck is also Jeff Lemire’s best book in year
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David Schaafsma
May 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Some of Lemire's best indie, creator-owned non-sci-fi, realistic comics: Essex County, The Underwater Welder, The Secret Path.

Some great sci-fi indie comics: Sweet Tooth, Descender, Trillium

I love all that stuff, focused as it is very often on relationships, poverty, fathers and sons, family, grief and loss.

Then there are his Big House sci-fi comics, most of which I really don't like much, though I am now also reading the Black Hammer, and liking it (it's like a combination of Essex County and
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Donovan


Roughneck is cold, bleak, and borderline noir. It's drama with a crime fiction sensibility. Like Fargo in Canada. Lemire knocked it out of the park with this one.

Maybe it's because I'm getting older, but I can identify (probably too much) with Derek Oulette and his sister Beth. I was never an addict, never a fighter, but I do consider myself, upon difficult reflection, unsuccessful in my life so far. Not a failure, because that implies that my dreams have come and gone. But especially when you l
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Matthew Quann


This is the type of Jeff Lemire that I love most: the intimate and unabashedly Canadian. Lemire's storytelling in Roughneck harkens back to the best of his seminal work, Essex County, even if it never quite reaches the highs of that trilogy.

Set in the rural northern Ontario town of Pimitamon, Roughneck follows former NHL player Derek Ouelette fallen on hard times. He's been kicked out of the NHL and spends his nights drinking at the local Pit Stop and picking fights with anyone who crosses him.
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Richard
Many of you might snicker at the fact that I've been reading comic books lately. Or at least just straight-up ignore the reviews. But those serious readers of rural grit lit authors like Daniel Woodrell, Benjamin Whitmer, and Ron Rash would definitely do well by checking out this recent graphic novel by the inimitable Jeff Lemire.

This multi-faceted work of art is a focused and personal drama focusing on Derek Ouellette, a disgraced hockey player turned violent, lonely drunk, and his efforts to r
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Artemy
Jul 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Lemire strikes again! Brilliant book. This one goes right up there with Essex County as one of his best works, hands down. Beautiful, sad, devastating, and yet hopeful. Comic of the year? It may very well be.
Char
Set in a cold and bleak Canadian town, Roughneck is the story of a retired hockey player trying to put his life back together.

The e-ARC I received is mostly black and white, (except for the first 15 pages or so, which have this nice, light blue, cold feeling to them), but from what I've read the final copy will be in color. For me though, the black and white worked quite well.

Derek Ouellette is trying to drown his sorrows in alcohol. Being that he already is a tough guy, the drinking doesn't b
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Chad
Nov 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Lemire returns to both his indie comic and Canadian roots. Roughneck is reminiscent of other works like Essex County. It's the story of a washed up NHL enforcer and his runaway druggie sister. How they deal with a lifetime of abuse and loss. Lemire keeps the colors very muted except for flashbacks which are presented in full color. This thing is a tome and probably could have been edited down a few pages, but all in all, pretty snazzy.
Ctgt
Jun 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Yes. Everything I love about Lemire's work. Minimalist, rough style, and characters filled with human frailties.


10/10
Chihoe Ho
Dec 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
From the characters and the plot, to the setting and the atmosphere, "Roughneck" is unapologetically Canadian. Jeff Lemire's art is so distinct and humanistic, his voice and purpose so authentic, that it's hard to not be engaged and be emotionally affected by what he's conveying. A simple story of kinship and belonging, and of breaking out of a prescribed societal mold, "Roughneck" shows that life can be tough but there is a light at the end of the tunnel - fight for it.
Kevin Kelsey
Dec 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2017
Terrific. Lemire is goddamn brilliant. Hard lives lived in the brutal cold of northern Canada. The artwork is magnificent in this. There is one full page shot in particular of Beth walking under an early morning starry, snowy sky that is just breathtaking.
Anthony
Jul 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Love Jeff Lemires creator owned work, especially his graphic novel work that he writes and draws himself. They're usually pretty simple stories but always feel personal from the author
Lauren
Oct 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime, graphic-novel
A conventional but evocative story of rough-around-the-edges redemption and recovery set in a Canadian winter so skillfully conveyed that I shivered throughout. Lemire's coloring is masterful here, as he uses a very limited blue-based palette except for certain key details--blood, a particularly ominous plaid shirt, and, most interestingly, memories. Unlike the convention that would put the present in color and flashbacks in black-and-white, Lemire illustrates the collapse of his characters' liv ...more
L. McCoy
Jun 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of Gran Torino.
Oh boy, it’s one of those comics that would be a 5-star... if I didn’t have just one problem with it.

What’s it about?
There’s this hockey player who doesn’t play anymore, he just gets angry, drunk and in fights usually. Now his sister is having some problems and he has to help her.

Pros:
The story is very interesting which is something I’m pretty surprised to say because yes, Lemire is a good writer but I am not into slice of life sorta comics, Lemire does it right.
The characters are very well writ
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Annalisa
Jun 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, manga
Una bellissima graphic novel che mi è stata consigliata da un amico.
Cruda, sia nello stile dei disegni sia per le tematiche che affronta: violenza domestica, dipendenze... E' una storia di dolore, rabbia, violenza ma anche di redenzione e di seconde possibilità.
Ve la consiglio ^-^
Melki
Jul 06, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphic-novel
A bleak, macho soap opera.
Etienne
May 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely brilliant!! The artworks as well as the story are just marvelous! Touching, raw and true. For me there are two amazingly talented creators in the comic book world Alan Moore and Jeff Lemire!! If you love comic you should check out the works of those two tremendous artists!
Koen Claeys
Jun 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book takes me back to 2007 when I bought 'Tales from the Farm', a touching graphic novel by a Canadian newcomer. After reading that book I mailed Lemire to get my hands on his self-published debut 'Lost Dogs' (which arrived two days later at my Belgian front-door accompanied by a beautiful drawing of the main character). I never could have imagined that he would achieve what he dreamed of : making comic books for DC (and eventually Marvel). Most of his output is crafted with love and dedica ...more
GrilledCheeseSamurai (Scott)
Jeff Lemire's creator-owned content always knocks my socks off. Roughneck hit home for me - I grew up in a small Manitoban town and the characters in this book are very relatable for me.

This is a dark, noir(ish) feeling story of failure and overcoming the vicious cycle of repeatedly doing the wrong thing. I read it in one big gulp and was completely absorbed with the words and the pictures. In fact - I think this might be my favorite art from Lemire so far. The starkness of his drawings, the scr
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Steven
Sep 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this story about an ex-hockey thug reuniting with his sister and how the cycle of violence that ruled their lives is broken. Great story about friendship, too. Brutally violent but with surprising touches. Told exclusively with dialog and imagery and done so expertly I didn't even miss the lack of narration and voiceovers that this form usually relies on. The blue-ice color scheme fits perfectly and captures the beauty of the frozen north.
Chelsey
Jan 11, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017
Jeff Lemire, you've done it again. First with Essex County, then again with Sweet Tooth, Lemire has broken my heart in the best way possible, and now Roughneck joins these ranks. Though it didn't resonate with me as strongly as Essex County, it was still an important, timely and powerful read.
Nihan
Mar 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics, fave-comics
:(
DeAnna Knippling
Jan 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novels
Two siblings trapped in their pasts try to escape hell in small-town Canada.

Butal noir, more of the Jim Thompson than the martinis and Los Angeles type. Someone called this the Fargo of Canada. Just so.
Travis Duke
Jun 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(4.5) Lemire writes an fantastic story that follows Derek an ex-hockey star and his troubled life and family. Derek and his sister Beth both struggle with different problems that stem from their parents, it is sad but rooted in honesty and redemption. Derek runs around beating up everyone and Beth has addiction problems. Lemire does a great job creating this book and the art is O.K. Im not really a fan of Lemire as an artist but I commend him for doing the whole book. The colors are really well ...more
Jade Walters
Apr 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars.

I absolutely loved this book-- with one caveat. I wanted more out of Bethy's story, particularly with her big moment towards the end. I've read and reread this moment, and I cant help but feel that it's a little flat, especially in comparison to what other characters were given. What she says to her abusive father, "you're scared," and the notion of breaking cycles of intergenerational abuse and colonization, these themes technically make sense and fit well in the story, but I wanted
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Shannon Appelcline
Dec 23, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: comics, comics-indy
I gotta admit, I'm kind of tired of Jeff Lemire's stories of Canadian families living in a colorless present, haunted by the ghosts of the past. And maybe I would have had a better reaction to the tight storytelling of Roughneck if I hadn't just read the sprawling, complex storytelling of Royal City, but they hit so many of the same tropes and themes that reading them together just feels ... repetitive.

This is a fine story of a man and his sister. Great character portraits. Good use of color for
...more
Ilana
Feb 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Wow. More to follow. 4.5 stars.
orangerful
What a book. Intense and real, raw and gritty. Fantastic use of the medium to tell this story, one that could be happening right now. Lemire continues to put out top notch work at a surprising rate!
Suni
Apr 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Una storia toccante: il protagonista è un ex campione di hockey la cui carriera è finita quando ha quasi ammazzato un avversario. È ancora abbastanza giovane ma si è rassegnato, vivacchia, beve e fa a botte, proprio come faceva suo padre. Un giorno però si ritrova sull’uscio la sorella minore, bisognosa d’aiuto, e questo gli dà l’occasione per un riscatto, non sociale ma personale.
Non si può dire che il plot sia chissà che novità, ma Lemire lo maneggia bene e i disegni sono incredibili, soprattu
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Play Book Tag: Roughneck by Jeff Lemire - 5 stars 1 13 Nov 25, 2017 08:57AM  

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Jeff Lemire is an award-winning Canadian cartoonist, and the author of the Essex County Trilogy, Sweet Tooth and The Nobody. Lemire is known for a his moody, humanistic stories and sketchy, cinematic, black-and-white art.
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