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Review: The Beatles in Comics

The Beatles in Comics

I remember the first time I heard of the Beatles. It was when I discovered vinyl for the firs time. I was six years old and enamored with the way they looked. One of my parents many records in their collection was Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club. When my Mom first put the record on there was no more distinct and beautiful a sound than that first spark you hear when the needle touches the record. When the music came on Ringo’s drumming and Paul and John’s vocals sounded like nothing I ever heard before.

I instantly understood why these luminaries influenced so many artists to this day. As the magic of “Yesterday,” says all you need to know of how poetic they were and for the surviving members, still are. Their dexterity when it came to speak to tapping on the nerve of the times and still making these songs timeless, is almost unfair. Their combined talents are enough to day for a supergroup. In this collection of stories and practical love letters to the group, Beatles In Comics, gives fans, a rare rendering of who these men were and are, and how hey still leave an indelible mark on music fans everywhere.

In” John, Paul & George,” we get to see how the initial band was formed. These three young men became a band and friends over their love of music. In “Astrid Kirchher,” we get to know the photographer who took their first professional photos and her impression of each band member. In “The Man who refused to sign the Beatles,” we find out about Mike Smith and how he thought they would not amount to much outside of Liverpool. In “The Queen’s Rebels,” we get a personal account of the very first time they played in front of Queen Elizabeth. In “The Ed Sullivan Show,” we get to see first hand how Beatlemania had taken over America and how they were one of Sullivan’s most popular guests. In “Yesterday,” we find about the genesis of this eternally loved song, one which has created many pale covers. In “The Beatles and Elvis,” talks about this rare meeting of the titans at Graceland.  In “New Musical Horizons,” we find out about the group’s experimenting with drugs, specifically LSD. In “Goodbye Brian,” the band loses their longtime manager and who was considered the “Fifth Beatle” as he is found dead at his house. As they struggle to move forward and record their first flop of an album. In “Yoko Ono,” John meets his soulmate and muse, Yoko, as this is also what lead ultimately to their breakup. In the last story I will highlight, “Post Beatles,” we find out what exactly happened to each member after their breakup and just how fractured their relationships became.

Overall, an engrossing and articulate collection of stories which captures the spirit of the group and the love the world had for them. The stories by Michels Mabel are well researched and endearing. The art by the different artists gives fans a gorgeous kaleidoscope of images to see the band through. Altogether, one of the best books about this gifted group and just how they affected everyone around them.

Story: Michels Mabel
Art: Lu-K, Vox, Anne Sophie Servantie, Ludivine Stock, Amandine Puntous, Romuald Gleyse, Julien Lamanda, Efix, Pierre Brallon, Ben Lebegue, Anthony Audibert, Bloop, Victor Gimenez, Akita, Laurent Houssin, Richard Di Martino, Piero Ruggeri et Filipo Neri, Martin Trystram, Clement Baloup, Edwna Cosmet et Christophe Billard, Patrick Lacan, Virginie De Lambert, Joel Alessandra and Odile Santi

Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Portugal

Portugal PedrosaFor us, children of immigrants, there’s nothing like going to the country of our forefathers. As we hear stories about these places all our lives, and how our older family members want to go live back there sometimes. That is why, if we are lucky enough to go there at all, it really is a homecoming. Me, personally have been lucky enough to go both places, and as much fun as I had, I have never felt more out of place.

Yes, my parents came from these places, and technically, these places were considered my homeland, but in the eyes of my family in both places, I was an American.  What Rodrigo Duterte said about Filipinos in America, digs into that divide as most of my family members were more than disgusted that anyone I knew. Because the reality is, in the immortal words of the rapper, Rakim, “it is not where you are from, it where you are at.” So, when I got a chance to read Cyril Pedrosa’s Portugal, it reminded of those trips to the Philippines and Trinidad, being in state belonging and no belonging.

We meet Simon Muchat, a comics writer suffering from writer’s block, who feels the pain of being listless, suffering endlessly as an art teacher. Everything changes, when he gets invited to go to a comics convention in Portugal, a place has seen since he was a child. Once he arrives, his life instantly gets siphoned into the ecosystem of the country, as immediately the sights, smells and sounds of his childhood encapsulates him. By book’s end, Simon, falls in love with the people and the country.

Overall, a gorgeous and earnest ode to how homecomings can be rediscoveries of self. The story by Pedrosa is funny and touching. The art by Pedrosa is master class in drawing light in sequential art as it only places in comparison to how lifelike he draws people. Altogether, a book that makes you believe that home can be more than where you are.

Story: Cyril Pedrosa Art: Pedrosa
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

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