On Monday, I met my fellow comics/culture fiend Mark W at the Design Museum’s Wim Crouwel A Graphic Odyssey. Guest curated by the brilliant Tony Brook of Spin (Hi Tony), this major retrospective of the Dutch design superstar’s work covers his entire career from his start in exhibition design to his role as elder statesman today. A large part of the exhibition covers work created for Total Design, the ground-breaking multidisciplinary firm he helped establish in 1963. This was a great thrill for me as I’d just spent last weekend reading TD 63 – 73, Unit Editions’ new book about Total Design and it was fantastic seeing the work close up. Afterwards, we headed for the shop and bought several pieces of Spin-designed exhibition collateral, but left while we still had enough money for the train fare home.
Recommended, go see!
As soon as I laid eyes on Arne Bellstorf’s new graphic novel, Baby’s in Black, I knew it was my kind of book. It tells the story of photographer Astrid Kirchherr’s tragic love affair with original Beatle Stuart Sutcliffe during the band’s Hamburg days (and ironically borrows it’s title from the Beatles’ song about her). I’ve seen this story portrayed before in the movie Backbeat but what makes this book special is the fact that Bellstorf had direct access to Astrid Kirchherr and has written his book after hearing her story first hand. On certain pages the reported dialogue between Kirchherr and the Beatles feels so fresh and authentic you can almost hear their accents.
Bellstorf’s writing and illustration is first rate – the brilliantly cropped panels reveal a wealth of story telling detail, and the lovely, sketchy style of illustration is a joy to behold – this is probably the best graphic novel I’ve ever read.
She loved him, yeah?