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It's haunting and beautiful - just like the music of the Carter Family,
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This review is from: The Carter Family: Don't Forget This Song (Hardcover)Excellent graphic novel about the career of The Carter Family, maybe THE seminal group of early recorded music in America.
It uses storytelling techniques inspired by the early comic strips to create something that's more fragmented - and truer to life - than a script for a streamlined Hollywood bio-pic would be.
The artwork by David Lasky is quite beautiful. It's clearly somewhat inspired by master cartoonist Robert Crumb's much lauded strips about early blues musicians. But unlike Crumb's short strips this book has the feel and scope of a real novel.
The coloring is beautiful too. Apparently it was mostly done by Frank M. Young - he's the guy who wrote the book - so he's clearly a man of both visual and linguistic talents. It would have been easy to create a faded (and perhaps somewhat boring) retro-look by using mostly low-key brown and yellow colors. But the varied colors used create a variety of moods for the different chapters - yet in the end it all DOES add up to something that looks faded and 'retro' - but not boring at all.
You don't need to be a Carter Family fan to enjoy this book - it tells an engaging and human story. But perhaps it helps if you're interested in American popular culture, or is a fan of some of all the haunting and compelling musical artists that have followed in the trail of the Carters... Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Dylan, Neil Young, Emmylou Harris, Nick Cave, Bonnie Prince Billy.... or scores of country and folk artists.
This feels like it could have been 'The Graphic Novel of the Year' any year that Chris Ware hadn't released his acclaimed magnum opus "Building Stories". Oh well, this will have to be the more modest and accessible - and maybe less depressing - runner-up.