Thursday, January 22, 2015

Recently Read: The Beats: A Graphic History

Author: Harvey Parker, Ed Pisktor, Paul Buhle and others
Genre: Non-fiction Graphic Novel
Publication Date: 2009
Page Count: 193
Rating: 4/5

This graphic novel is made up of multiple artists and art styles. Each comic gives information on an artist, or some aspect of the Beatnik Movement. Of course, Kerouac, Ginsberg, and Burroughs have the biggest sections, but this novel has information on so many other artists, places, and events that were important during this time period.

I loved how the different art styles combined in this novel, and the range of information provided. My favorite thing about this graphic novel was that it was HONEST. It  did not shy away from the mistakes and flaws of the authors covered in this novel. It gave facts about their lives and their works without painting them to be heroes or great people. At one point it is stated that Jack Kerouac is a bigot, which is awesome! (and totally true) Usually their is a bias when reading about people who have achieved something, but there was no bias here, just facts.

This novel also did a really great job of showing how people and events were connected during this movement, which can get kind of complicated. It was easy to follow where and when the lives of major contributors converged and what events inspired later events. I learned a lot of new information from this graphic novel, which was awesome.

My one criticism of this graphic novel was it lacked information on female artists of the time. There was a section on Diana Di Prima, a small section on Jay DeFeo and another comic titled Beatnik Chicks and that was it. I loved Beatnik Chicks which covered a few ladies from the time and took a really critically look at what it was like to be a women artist during this movement and the obstacles they faced, but I would have loved for there to be more coverage of the ladies during this time. Another great thing that Beatnik Chicks did was tell the story of these "heroic" writers' lives from the p.o.v of the women they cheated on, and let down. If this graphic novel was anything, it was honest.

I'm on the look out for more graphic novels, especially non-fiction graphic novels so leave me your recommendations down below!

If you're interested in reading more on the Beats check out these posts!
On the Road by Jack Kerouac Review
Literary Look: The Beatnik Generation

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