Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Baby's In Black by Arne Bellstorf

Coming soon to a bookstore near you: Baby's in Black: Astrid Kirchher, Stuart Sutcliffe, and The Beatles is a hardcover graphic novel about the early days of one of the best-known bands in the history of the world.

You see, once upon a time, in the early 1960s, the Fab Four was in fact a band of five: John Lennon (guitar), Paul McCartney (piano and guitar), George Harrison (guitar), Pete Best (drums) and Stu Sutcliffe (bass), and they were playing at clubs in Hamburg, Germany. A young German guy named Klaus Voormann was one of their earliest fans, and he brought his ex-girlfriend, Astrid Kirchherr, to see them. Klaus and Astrid eventually met the band, and, as the end note in the book indicates, Klaus maintained his friendships with John, Paul, George - eventually living with some of them, and performing with others. But although some of Klaus's story is woven throughout this book, it truly tells the story of Astrid Kirchherr's real-life romance with Stuart Sutcliffe.

The graphic novel tells the story of Astrid's relationship with Stuart Sutcliffe, a close friend of John Lennon's with a talent for fine art. Stu and Astrid fell in love, and, in 1960, they became engaged. When the rest of The Beatles returned to England, Stu stayed in Hamburg, studying art at a local university and living with Astrid. Unfortunately, he suffered from increasingly severe health issues, and in April of 1962, he died suddenly while in transit to the hospital.

This book was originally published in Germany in 2010 by Reprodukt under the title Baby's in Black: The Story of Astrid Kirchherr & Stuart Sutcliffe. It was later translated into English by a guy named Michael Waaler, and published in the UK by SelfMadeHero in 2011. The good people at :01 First Second are bringing out the first U.S. edition of the book at the beginning of May. Fans of graphic novels, The Beatles and/or the early 60s art scene will want this one for sure.


Colleen said...

I just finished this one and enjoyed it a lot - my only complaint was with the artwork. I think the style is excellent (works well with the period) but I had trouble keeping track of all the men. John was obvious but when you started adding in the other Beatles and the friends they met you end up with kind of a sea of similar looking figures. I wish there was a way to differentiate them more - that was the only time I got frustrated while reading.

Sarah Stevenson said...

As a huge Beatles fan, I'm looking forward to this one. I like the look of the pencil lines in the artwork, but I can already see just from the cover that the characters are going to be a little hard to tell apart. I had that trouble with Feynman, too, from time to time.

Anonymous said...

Colleen: I had the same complaint. Klaus and Stuart ended up looking virtually identical once Stu's hair was cut, and it was nearly impossible for me to sort out by the artwork what happened at the end. If not for the end note, I'd have been completely flummoxed.

Ms. Yingling said...

My Beatles fan has a birthday on May 17th, so this is perfect! Thanks for the heads up on this one!