April 13, 2008

Musical Youth

This book was a 2007 Graphic Novel Cybils Award Nominee.

(If you can name that musical reference in the post title, by the way, I'll be impressed. And we'll both be old.)

Four Italian teenagers. One drummer, a wanna-be Nazi. One singer, a hypochondriac. One bassist, the quiet one. And the guitarist--our narrator, Giuliano. When Giuliano's dad lets them hold band practice in an old garage on their property, their Garage Band really seems like it's going to take off. The one condition for using the garage is that they stay out of trouble.

Unfortunately, this is four teenage boys we're talking about, each with their own set of troubles--an absent father, overbearing parents...and, soon, a burned-out amp. If they don't replace the amp, they won't be able to record their demo tape. However, their search for a new amp lands them in even more hot water.

Divided into five "graphic songs," this graphic novel by Gipi is a deceptively simple story with a number of subtle and complex undertones. The artwork reflects this nicely, with its loose, slightly jagged ink drawings and neutral-toned watercolor washes. Above all, it's very real--like life, it contains humor, sadness, pain, fun, and consequences. Don't miss the sketches at the back--a nice glimpse into the creative process.

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