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‘Quentin by Tarantino’ GN (review)

Written and Illustrated by Amazing Améziane
Published by Titan Comics

 

Doing a biographical comic can be a thorny thing.

On one hand, you can go crazy with the visuals and make it resonate in the style of the subject.

On the other hand, it could go really bad and be completely off and miss a lot of information that is important to the subject at hand.

Creator Amazing Améziane’s new biography of Quentin Tarantino falls somewhere in the middle.

I enjoyed a lot of it, but man, it was a bit hard to get through.

The creator tries to put so much information into it that it really feels wordy and heavy.

From the outset, I also disliked the narrative setup of the book.

Amazing Améziane makes themself a character in the book. It is instantly annoying and sort of took me out of the entire experience completely.

Amazing Améziane starts the book by arriving in a bar. And guess who the bartender at this bar is?

That’s right! It is Quentin Tarantino. He is there to tell us the story about what he likes and where he came from!

Hopefully, the author doesn’t stop at the deli that Steven Spielberg and George Lucas own after, or the pizzeria that Martin Scorsese runs.

Amazing Améziane asks the Tarantino character some questions and they engage in some small talk. We then are treated to an encyclopedic recounting of Tarantino’s life and where he’s been. It plays almost like reading an encyclopedia too, as we get to explore his life. The first chapter is basically about where Quentin Tarantino came from and that was definitely the most interesting. I had read biographies on Tarantino before, but seeing it visually laid out was pretty cool.

We get to see Tarantino go from a video store clerk at Video Archives, to producing and filming his first film called My Best Friend’s Birthday. We get to see the formation of Tarantino in those formative years. We get to see him deal with half of his first film getting burned up in flames. We get to see how he bounces back from that, and how he ends up on the open road to becoming the filmmaker that he is today.

The thing about this biography is that it is great to learn about these events in Tarantino’s life. The facts are all great to learn about and pore over in a way.

It is fun to see Tarantino shoot Reservoir Dogs or Pulp Fiction or even Jackie Brown. It is great to see the references to a lot of his influences. For instance, there is an entire page dedicated to Elmore Leonard for instance and the influence he had on Tarantino. It is really cool how the author correlates all of these influences into who Tarantino became as a filmmaker. I love reading about the facts and how they matter to who Tarantino became.

The only thing that really was a detriment to the whole thing is that beyond the facts?

The story is pretty substandard. Tarantino comes off as almost someone to be worshiped or almost like a deity. It is so off putting that I had a hard time caring about anything beyond the facts. I had a hard time as well convincing myself to continue reading the scenes that weren’t fact based. Tarantino is talented, sure. He’s smart, yes. But he is also alive still and working. His story is still happening. This makes the whole thing feel, sadly, a bit ghoulish.

Beyond all of that, all of the fact in this book are really nothing new. If you have ever read a biography about Tarantino you’ll be covering the same ground as you had before. There is no great revelations nor are there any new discoveries.

Amazing Améziane had to come up with new techniques to relay the story. Some techniques are new and work very skillfully. Some are very art deco or throwbacks to a simpler time. But a lot of them don’t work and it feels very mawkish when they don’t.

I love the research that obviously went into the book. The execution leaves a lot to be desired.

I do feel like someone will eventually create the perfect graphic novel about Tarantino’s life.

Sadly, it is not this one.

RATING: B-

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