August 9, 2007


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Garage Band by Gipi (translated from Italian, First Second, 2007, 119 pages)
Reviewed by Lucas Lund

Italian comics artist Gipi (Gianni Pacinotti) has created one of the more cohesive books in the graphic-novel genre. Garage Band tells the story of a rock band from its first day through its last. Things donít go well after they steal a replacement for a blown amp, and the band is thrown out of its garage, but the book ends with a surprising note of hope.

Each of the four young rockers has a distinct personality if not appearance ó I did confuse Alessandro with Alberto in a few panels to no ill effect.

The art itself is of two minds. The inking is simple and sharply angular, even harsh. The color, though, is mostly shades of gray. Perhaps symbolic, it does serve the theme of adolescent self-discovery well, but gives the book a melancholy feel. What could be more appropriate for adolescence than melancholy and mixed messages?

But Garage Band didnít engage me. Though Gipi creates four well-rounded characters, he fails to create a main character or an engaging conflict.

I tire of the gloom that has descended on the land of graphic novels, but I suspect that readers in their teens and twenties would enjoy this book. B+ ó Lucas Lund