Tag Archives: reinhard kleist

Review: Nick Cave: Mercy on Me

Songwriters possess a certain niche for poetic license, sometimes perpetuating something into more than there was. The one song, that comes to mind as far as stories go, is Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen, a searing series of events that only gets more intense with each action. Of course, the songwriters I grew up listening to, were from places much like the ones I grew up in. I remember hearing Biz Markie “Just A Friend” and much like everyone else I enjoyed the music, loved the hook but the story he was telling was far from typical.

He started off talking about how he met a girl one day, hoping it would more than just friends. She gave him a ton of indications that they were really…just friends. By the end of the song, both the artist and listener are shocked to find out why. In Reinhard Kleist’s epic Nick Cave: Mercy On Me, a legendary songwriter takes center stage in a life filled to the brim of heartbreak and pain, solace, success and elation.

We are introduced to Nick Cave, a fiery young man, who lives in the wilds of Australia’s outback, which looks very much like our Wild West, which makes it not surprising that he is a big fan of Johnny Cash. This leads him to wanting to become a singer, because at the time, he could not play any instruments where he fronts his first band, The Birthday Party. He would go on to form another band, the Bad Seeds, while meeting a lot of interesting people, which includes many loves of his life. By Book’s end, the reader gets a view of his song making process and internal struggles while weaving each song like a beautiful tapestry.

Overall, I must say I have heard of Nick Cave, but never listened to any of his songs, but the job Kleist did here makes me want to go listen to him, as its equal parts Ring Of Fire and any Terry Gilliam movie. The stories told by Kelist makes more than your typical biographical graphic novel, it makes Nick Cave’s story, a movie that needs to be seen. The art by Kleist is renders images in black and white into gorgeous art. Altogether, much like most books about music, even if you are not a fan, it is always nice to take behind the curtain.

Story: Reinhard Kleist Art: Reinhard Kleist
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Castro GN

arsenal-pulp-press-castro-soft-cover-1If there was a reward for good timing, Arsenal Pulp Press will get it for their graphic novel, Castro by Reinhard Kleist. Originally published in English by Selfmade Hero for the British market, it’s now being made available in North America for the first time. The graphic novel has been updated too, to include references to renewed relations between Cuba and the US.

Castro dives into the life of the controversial Cuban leader Fidel Castro (shocked I know based on the title). The graphic novel tracks Castro’s rise, through the revolution, and post revolution life.

The book is narrated by a German journalist named Karl Mertens, who is plunged into the searing heat of pre-revolutionary Cuba in the mid-1950s. He first meets with Castro while the latter is hiding in the mountains, then follows him through the dramatic revolution and his ascent to the presidency that, despite the Bay of Pigs confrontation and decades of international trade blockades, lasts for nearly 50 years. We also witness Castro’s involvement in bloody skirmishes, failed missions, and brutal crackdowns, as well as his interactions with and on behalf of the Cuban people, which reveal as much about his fallible human qualities as they do his legend.

Kleist, who visited Cuba in 2008, captures the excitement of the revolution, and the loss of the sheen in the post revolution, presenting Castro in both positive and negative light and painting a complex picture of one of the most enduring and controversial figures in modern history as well as the politics that swirled around him.

Kleist also doesn’t seem to take sides at all in right and wrong. The story is told through the experiences of the German journalist, and by doing that Kleist gives us the full arc, not romanticizing reality, but showing warts and all. We can see the idealism follow a natural path, and a path I personally have felt in my political career.

Castro is a solid read for those who want to learn more about the Cuban Revolution and Fidel Castro, and provides a good starting point. Hopefully, it’ll get folks interested to explore more, as reality is one hell of a story.

Story: Reinhard Kleist Art: Reinhard Kleist
Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Arsenal Pulp provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review