Category Archives: graphic novel

Book Review: “Baby’s In Black: Astrid Kirchherr, Stuart Sutcliffe, and The Beatles” by Arne Bellstorf

Baby's In Black Arne BellstorfBaby’s in Black: Astrid Kirchherr, Stuart Sutcliffe, and The Beatles a black and white graphic novel by German cartoonits Arne BellstorfThis hardcover book measures approximately 6″ x 9″ and is 195 pages long. It was originally published in Germany in 2010 under the title Baby’s In Black: The Story of Astrid Kirchherr and Stuart Sutcliffe, and later translated into English in 2011 and released in the U.S. in 2012 with its new title.

This is the latest graphic novel in my quest to find the ultimate Beatles graphic novel. I bought a used ex-library copy off of Amazon.com, so I can really comment on the cover since mine has plastic covering it. I will say that even though this book is in black & white, I enjoyed the artwork much more than the book I read last week in which I had a hard time telling the individual Beatles apart from the artist’s renditions. I believe the author of Baby’s In Black, Arne Bellstorf, was much better at pulling off the emotion of the characters much better than some other cartoonists who used more color and detailed drawings.

This book is the love story of Astrid Kirchherr and Beatles’ bassist Stuart Sutcliffe, from the moment they set eyes on each other at the Kaiserkeller club in Hamburg, Germany, until the day Astrid broke the news to John and Paul that Stu had died. George, Paul and John also play a big part in the story with barely a mention of Pete Best. Klaus Voormann also figures prominently in the story, as does Astrid’s mother. You have to give the author a lot of credit for getting the real Astrid Kirchherr to help in making the story as true as possible. It made it a real delight to read knowing that it came from source. And though I’m weary to label this as the ultimate Beatles graphic novel (since it’s really about Astrid and Stu), I really believe that any Beatle fan would truly enjoy this book. And for that reason…

I rate this book, 4 out of 4 Beetles!

 

 

 

 

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Book Review: “The Beatles: All Our Yesterdays” by Jason Quinn and Lalit Kumar Sharma

Beatles All Our Yesterdays Jason Quinn Lalit Kumar SharmaAfter reading the graphic novel – The Beatles Story a couple weeks ago, I decided to search on Amazon to see if there were any other graphic novels about the Beatles. I’d love to find one that really WOW’d me and that I think would really impress other Beatles fans and collectors.

The Beatles: All Our Yesterdays, written by Jason Quinn and illustrated by Lalit Kumar Sharma is one of two graphic novels I purchased. This book, published in 2016 by Campfire Books (a division of Kalyani Navyug Media in India), is 149 pages and is in full color. The publishers were even kind enough to include an adorable guitar shaped book mark in the back of the book which I chose to leave intact.

Unfortunately, the good impression stops there. Despites it’s beauty, vibrant colors and bonus bookmark, this book is filled with falsehoods and just sloppy storytelling.  The author starts his story at the very beginning with the birth of each of the Beatles and ends with the release of their first single. I was impressed to see it even mentioned temporary fill-in bass player Chaz Newby! There is also a short epilogue to bring the reader up to date. The typos are non-existent and the text itself is beautifully written (meaning it’s easy to read), but so much of the Beatles history is just blatantly wrong.

I guess my search will continue for the ultimate Beatles graphic novel. I have another one on standby that I will review next week.

I rate this book, 1 out of 4 Beetles!

 

 

 

 

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Book Review: “The Beatles Story” by Angus Allan and Arthur Ranson

The Beatles Story Arthur RansonThe Beatles Story is a 56 page black & white graphic novel written by Angus Allan and illustrated by Arthur Ranson due to be released on February 20, 2018. I was lucky enough to get at advanced copy from Rebellion Publishing and it is available for pre-order at Amazon.com.

Despite what it says on Amazon, the dimensions of this book are 8.5″ x 11″. The beautiful cover is white with black matte text and illustrations except for the title and the Beatles hair which is done is high gloss black.

This book starts at the very beginning with the story of all the young Fabs and includes their birthdays…except Paul McCartney’s. How this could have gone unnoticed, beats me. I admit I wasn’t too pleased with this book as I continued to read it. There were even more errors, starting with the now debunked claim that John Lennon was born during an air-raid and Mimi ran through the streets of Liverpool at night dodging bombs to see him in the hospital. The author also gives Stu Sutcliff a bigger part in Beatles history than he actually had. On and on the pages go until the John, Paul, George and Ringo decide to call it quits as a band.

So, I guess at this point it would seem that I’m about to throw this book and it’s author and illustrator into my list of books written just to make a dime off our beloved boys…but wait! At the end of the book is the Afterword by Rob Power. It was there that I learned that this book is actually a collection of a series that was originally printed in Look-In magazine back in 1981 (truth be told, I would have known this if I had just read the back cover first!). It was then that I realized that in 1981 it was still widely believed that John was born during an air-raid and as for the mistakes in the book, it wasn’t exactly like they could go back and correct 32 year old comics. It was left in its original form. Bravo to them for doing that…

As a collection and with it’s outstanding cover, I look forward to moving it onto my Beatles bookshelf. And for that reason…

I rate this book, 4 out of 4 Beetles!

 

 

 

 

 

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Book Review: “Lennon: The New York Years” by Foenkinos/Corbeyran/Horne

Well, Amazon got me again! While browsing online at Amazon.com, this book appeared as a Recommendations….

Lennon: The New York Years was written by David Foenkinos and Eric Corbeyran, illustrated by Horne and published on May 30, 2017. According to an article on NME.com, this graphic novel is adapted from a 2010 novel “Lennon” by French author David Foenkinos. After reading this book, there is a part of me that wants to see what the original was like.

This book is touted as “true biographical fiction”, as the setting is John Lennon laying on a psychiatrist’s couch talking about the ups, downs, joys and pains of his life. There are 18 sessions (chapters) in all. Now, I get that when they termed it ‘true biographical fiction’ they were probably referring to his regularly seeing a therapist that happened to also live in the Dakota so Lennon wouldn’t have to go out in public, but unfortunately, some of the fiction seems to have leaked out into Lennon’s life. Starting off with the tall tale that seems to still keep popping up, after long having been dismissed, that John was born during an air raid in Liverpool with the whistling and boom of bombs going off all around the hospital. You be the judge…

“The night I was born it was to the deafening sound of Liverpool being bombed by the Germans. I didn’t come into a life, I came into chaos. And I spent my whole life frightened. That night everything shook. Things fell from the shelves. A building fell down near us. Things had to happen fast so my mother had a cesarean.”

Artistically speaking, this book is actually a pretty nice book. The artist’s interpretation of this story is done in black and white in a 150 page hardcover edition. Comparatively speaking, I personally like the B&W rendition in this graphic novel better than Vivek J. Tiwary’s The Fifth Beatle, but I prefer the linen texture Tiwary cover over the smooth, scratch prone cover of this book. Your mileage may vary…

I leave you with the trailer to this book…

I rate this book, 2 out of 4 Beetles!

 

 

 

 

 

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