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‘Hendrix: Electric Requiem’ HC (review)

Written by Mattia Colombara, Gianluca Maconi
Art by Gianluca Maconi
Published by Ablaze Publishing

 

While Woodstock, in retrospect, seems to have been a defining cultural event of its time, to most Americans who weren’t actually there, it was pretty much just a blip on the news for several days about the crazy traffic in New York state where a bunch of hippies had gathered on a farm.

When the documentary movie was released the following year, that’s when it really became significant.

Jimi Hendrix lived six months after the film’s release. I wonder if he ever saw it, or if it was just “been there, done that” as far as he was concerned?

One thing’s for sure and that’s that more Americans saw Hendrix’s stunning beautiful noise version of The Star Spangled Banner on film than ever saw him perform live.

Jimi looked cool! He sounded cool! He played guitar like no guitarist before him, deftly pulling never-before-heard sounds out of his instrument that some of the greats couldn’t find if they looked for a lifetime.

But Jimi had issues, and in Jimi’s case, they led to his early demise. That’s where the new graphic novel biography Hendrix: Electric Requiem starts off. Apparently originally published in Italy, the book treats the term “voodoo chile” literally and shows us Jimi just after his death before then backtracking and giving a fairly straightforward biographical narrative of the major events in his life.

After Jimi reaches adulthood, artist Gianluca Maconi is given plenty of opportunities to show us iconic looks and poses whilst maintaining consistent clever page and panel usage throughout, all to heightened effect.

At only 145 pages, some of which are admittedly done with a strong dose of poetic license, writer Mattia Colombara can only give us the legend, and some basic background facts, but it all works. There are facts I had never before heard as well as annotations at the back explaining specifics or details of numerous scenes.

The translation is credited to one Micol Beltramini, and he does a fine job as I consistently read Jimi’s words in Jimi’s voice. As with any work like this about music or musicians, what’s missing is the music itself. In this case, each chapter is named after a Hendrix number, which serves to pop hat particular bit of music into one’s head as you go.

Would we still think of James Marshall Hendrix as highly had he not left us so young? Or would he have settled into an elder statesman role had he lived, trotted out for tribute concerts and other special events?

There’s no way to know, of course, but if the latter, I doubt we’d be seeing such enjoyable graphic novel biographies as Hendrix: Electric Requiem.

Booksteve recommends.

 

 

 

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