Based on the true origin story of The Beatles, Baby’s in Black is a graphic novel that follows the Fab Four when there were five of them. Stuart Sutcliffe, the original bass player, becomes enamoured with Astrid, a German photographer that the guys meet while playing in a small club in Hamburg. She spends a lot of time with the budding artists, taking some (now famous) photographs of the group. From their initial attraction and constant presence around each other, thus began a love affair that ends up with Stuart quitting the band and focusing on his art career.
Being a fan of The Beatles, I was extremely excited to read this graphic novel. I had seen the 1994 movie Backbeat, which also covered the story of Stuart and Astrid, and was curious to see how this compared. Fortunately, I had the opportunity to ask that very question to Arne Bellstorf in May when he was in town for the Toronto Comic Arts Festival. The movie, in fact, was very glamourized and dramaticized for the sake of a compelling movie.
The story itself is a familiar one for Beatles fans, but Bellstorf, telling it in graphic novel form brings a different artistic light to it. While the black & white drawings suit the style and feel of the book, I found it difficult to distinguish which guy was which between the panels. To be honest, if I wasn’t already familiar with the story, I would probably have been a bit more confused. The dialogue and panel changes seem choppy at times, but the “Love Me Tender” interlude moments are beautifully staged.
Baby’s in Black, a beautiful love story of two people who were closely associated with one of the biggest bands of all time.
Rating: ★ ★ ★ (3/5 stars)
Baby’s in Black is now available in stores.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.