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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Humanity stunningly observed—a treasure.

THE MAN WITHOUT TALENT

This first English-language edition of a work by influential Japanese comic-book artist Tsuge follows an impoverished, embittered comic-book artist whose unconventional search for riches keeps him in league with schemers at the fringes of society—much to his wife’s angst and young son’s distress.

Whether it’s selling stones he finds near his home, repairing and reselling cameras bought from a junk store, or even carrying people on his back across a shallow river, Sukezō Sukegawa will do just about anything for money—except create the comic books for which he has received critical acclaim. He pridefully resents the lack of money in comic books, though he fails to sell any stones either. Sukezō’s pursuits introduce him to shady characters, such as the alcoholic head of an “art stone” association and the man’s libidinous wife, and to outsiders such as a homeless man whose uncanny connection to birds allows him to effortlessly gather exquisite specimens for sale. Though Sukezō’s wife resents his inability to make money—and the costs associated with his offbeat vocations—Suzekō provides for the family in his own, unbalanced way, as when he combines a stone-hunting trip to the countryside with a hiking trip for wife and son. The trip is a disaster: Sukezō’s asthmatic son melts down over the train schedule, fecal matter likely slips into the family’s noodles, and the three of them lie by a river and wryly contemplate suicide. Tsuge’s raw and profound work is equal parts pathos and poetry, streaked with irony and ribaldry. His lines are beautifully clean and wonderfully expressive, the pages sometimes presenting expertly cartoonish simplicity and other times almost photorealistic detail. Tsuge has a soft spot for outsiders yet is acutely aware of how they can end up dead in a field somewhere, covered in their own filth.

Humanity stunningly observed—a treasure.

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68137-443-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: New York Review Comics

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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A revealing, powerfully strange graphic memoir.

THE IMPOSTOR’S DAUGHTER

A TRUE MEMOIR

Glamour contributing editor Sandell specializes in celebrity profiles and personal essays, yet as she documents in this narrative, many of those she profiled found her story far more interesting than their own—and no wonder.

Her candid work is not particularly notable as a graphic memoir—the art has a childlike innocence but is otherwise unremarkable. It bears closer kinship to Mary Karr’s classic The Liars’ Club (1995) in its portrait of the lasting effects of a disorienting childhood. Sandell initially worshipped her Argentine father, then came to distrust him on practically every level. She chronicles her struggle to free herself from his psychological pull in order to become a fully functioning human being. The memoir opens with her as a girl accepting everything her father told her: about his genius, about his mysterious multiple identities, about the academic jobs he left for ones that didn’t seem quite as good. Yet she wondered why he received mail in various names and stopped delivery when he was gone for even a day or two, and why she often picked up the phone to hear someone asking for a name she didn’t know. Even scarier was the sense that her father was perhaps turning her into a bit of an imposter herself. She began to distance herself from him in adolescence and early adulthood, but the damage had been done. Unable to have a fulfilling relationship with a man, she toyed with lesbianism. She became increasingly alcoholic and addicted to Ambien, conducting both her professional and personal lives in a sort of functioning numbness that she eventually realized was mostly numb and not so much functioning. A romantic relationship that she did her best to sabotage and further inquiry into the truth about her father’s life—which he did his best to sabotage—finally led her to recovery.

A revealing, powerfully strange graphic memoir.

Pub Date: July 29, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-316-03305-3

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2009

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