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?