Side A: The Music Lover's Graphic Novel
Story: Various | Art: Various
Publisher: Poseur Ink
Release Date: April 2007
Everyone remembers their first time. The specific scenarios differ of course, but the feeling of discovering life changing music is universal. Side A: The Music Lover's Graphic Novel chronicles the experiences of over thirty music lovers as they come to musical consciousness and ponder past events set to specific soundtracks. These short stories are presented panel to panel in comic book form and range in style from goofy and cartoonish to vividly realistic. Though each comic is an original creation, and some are far removed from the others, love of music is the binding form.
Black and white panels lead readers into the nostalgia of writers who all have (or had) a passion for music. Some comics fit the limited selection of colors while others would have benefited by a color palette, namely the more animated sketches. None of the comics are drawn out to unnecessary lengths, so the collection can be picked up at any time for a quick read. To get a better idea of what's to be found in Side A, here's an anecdotal example. In Mike Stevens' piece, he recalls his youth as a backward pants wearing fan of the duo Kris Kross. One day in 1999 while walking past his brother's room he overhears "gritty" and "harsh" music that would change his life forever. Entranced, Stevens is revealed in one of the next panels proudly holding up a Sonic Youth cassette while smiling broadly. His reflections mirror those of many writers found in Side A:
"For the first time, [my music] was something I liked instead of something people said I'd like. And I ate it up. Anything I could find. It all evolved me. It was like going through puberty before puberty. I wasn't yet becoming a man. I was becoming myself."
And of course, making fun of oneself is mandatory when looking back:
"Gone was my backward hat & pants. Now I just had my shaggy hair, that dirty flannel and combat boots that were too big. It was nice, and well worth being mistaken for a girl."
Poseur Ink also offers a two song 7" featuring Get Back Loretta and Fight Fair titled Winter Bloo for purchase with the graphic novel for those interested. "95" by Get Back Loretta has a steady beat to it and could be confused for an easy going dance track if not for the soul in vocalist Steven Bradford's voice. Fight Fair's "Take One for the Team" is a mix pop punk and hard rock, a track I don't find particular interest in, since the genre itself isn't a favorite of mine.
Personally, the only real downfall of this graphic novel is my lack of familiarity with the authors. If I knew more about the people behind the stories, if I were familiar with their other works, my interest would have been higher. But it isn't a requirement to know the authors at all; it would just be a nice perk. Side A: The Music Lover's Graphic Novel is often amusing, sometimes surreal, and easily relatable for anyone who still cherishes their first vinyl record. This is coffee table reading for the musically nostalgic.