The renewal of spirit through this striking collaboration reflects the way the Apollo has renewed itself through the decades.

SHOWTIME AT THE APOLLO

THE EPIC TALE OF HARLEM’S LEGENDARY THEATER

This graphic treatment adds a new dimension to a music book that was already hailed as a classic.

Most graphic adaptations aim to reach new generations of readers with a work that is flashier but less substantial than the original. This collaboration between Fox (In the Groove: The People Behind the Music, 1986, etc.) and illustrator Smith represents a new experience for readers, one with an immediacy and vitality that text alone might never approach. Fox’s original was published to wide acclaim in 1983; that book illuminated the significance of the Apollo to musicians and to the Harlem community, detailing how it got to be where it was and celebrating the legacy that lives on. The current project gives Fox the opportunity to update the original and to show how, in the subsequent 35 years, the venue has expanded its offerings, hosting the likes of Chris Rock and Bruce Springsteen and a memorial service for James Brown. The narrative brings readers behind the scenes to the real show backstage and to the hotel rooms where the young reporter conducted his interviews. It also highlights the visual performing styles of some of the most galvanic artists in the history of popular music. Performers who were then unknown and were launched as winners of the Apollo’s Amateur Night competition include Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, James Brown, Jimi Hendrix, Luther Vandross, and Michael Jackson. Fox and Smith effectively present the progression of entertainment styles from swing and tap dance through bebop, gospel and blues, rhythm & blues, soul, and rock. They provide an entertaining, lively narrative with profiles that match the spirit, drawings that seem as musical as the music described within the text.

The renewal of spirit through this striking collaboration reflects the way the Apollo has renewed itself through the decades.

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3138-9

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Abrams ComicArts

Review Posted Online: Sept. 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2018

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A brief, canny book that will make any girl who feels alone feel less alone.

GIRL TROUBLE

AN ILLUSTRATED MEMOIR

To all the girls she’s liked before, a memoirist offers a series of interconnected essays.

Though she has characterized herself as “boy crazy” and previously documented that label in Loose Girl (2008), Cohen shifts her focus to her relationships with other girls—the ones who rejected her as a friend, the ones she rejected, the ones whom she saw as competition or yardsticks by which her own failings would never measure up. Some were witnesses and some were judges whose verdicts on her as unworthy have continued to reverberate through her adulthood and motherhood. A psychotherapist would focus on her parents’ bitter divorce as the key to her alienation and lack of self-worth. “In most of my friendships, I’d been fun and happy and unafraid,” she writes of a pivotal day when she felt ostracized. “But that day something shifted. For the first time I saw myself in the world, with others around me. My parents divorcing. My mother’s grief. My own sense of newness and change, of the world spinning out of control.” One of the ways this book offers healing is through Cohen’s collaboration with the illustrator, her older sister Tyler. During “an ugly divorce, fraught with affairs and devastation and anger,” their mother chose the older sister as her ally and confidante, leaving a breach between the two sisters that they wouldn’t repair until adulthood. Her sister was her first true female friend and the first betrayal (of many). While recognizing that “memory is a slippery eel,” Cohen surveys the dozens of relationships with women she has enjoyed and endured, showing how friendship changes with different stages and how she has as well. “I miss all of my ex-friends,” she writes toward the conclusion. “They are stamped onto my heart like old romances, lost loves. They are parts of me in ways no one warned me they would be.”

A brief, canny book that will make any girl who feels alone feel less alone.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9970683-3-7

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Hawthorne Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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Readers seeking an overview of the Mueller Report that constantly cuts to the chase will find this just the ticket.

THE MUELLER REPORT ILLUSTRATED

THE OBSTRUCTION INVESTIGATION

The Washington Post serves up a lively, graphic version of the foundational document in the current presidential impeachment process.

Issued in April 2019, the so-called Mueller Report investigated Donald Trump’s ties to Russia before, during, and after the 2016 campaign. Although its subject trumpeted that the report exonerated him, the Post team, headed by investigative political reporter Rosalind Helderman and augmented by Israeli graphic artist and illustrator Jan Feindt, observes at the start that the report made two things clear: It established that the Russian effort to influence the election was “sweeping and systematic” and left open the question of whether Trump committed a crime for trying to obstruct the investigation. This interference was well known long before Mueller set pen to paper, but Republican leaders in Congress swept it under the rug. Feindt has a straightforward editorial style of drawing that captures Trump’s every barking snarl and pouting snit. While the storyline is eminently faithful to Mueller’s more detailed documentation, the writers and artist bring drama to it by showing the many points of resistance within Trump’s staff—Chris Christie deciding he would not act as a shill to try to swing James Comey into Trump’s camp, deputy national security adviser K.T. McFarland’s refusal to lie for Trump in exchange for an ambassadorial appointment, which, Reince Priebus feared, would “be seen as a quid pro quo,” a term much in the news of late. In an analysis, Helderman and her associates observe that these aides and staffers restrained Trump, for they quickly determined that “if they ignored or delayed the president’s most impetuous orders, his mood and attention would often shift.” Of course, those staffers are now gone, and so are the restraints they imposed. The illustrated report closes, as did the original, with an admonition that has doubtless troubled Trump’s sleep ever since: “While this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime…it also does not exonerate him.”

Readers seeking an overview of the Mueller Report that constantly cuts to the chase will find this just the ticket.

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-982149-27-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Dec. 2, 2019

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