Jan 26, 2014

Book Review: One Model Nation



BOOK REVIEW: One Model Nation


I know that when somebody mentions yet another well known musician has decided to dip their toes into the world of Indie comics, you can almost hear that sound made by a collection of hundreds of hipster eyeballs, all rolling in unison.

I might have been in the camp as well, had I not previously had my stone heart melted by the superb Umbrella Academy series. Of course I still approach anything where musicians are writing about fictional musicians with a certain amount of trepidation.

Courtney Taylor-Taylor is well know and the front man for the Dandy Warhols. Luckily the reader need no familiarity with that band in order to get the full experience here. 

The story focuses around a young Prog-Rock band in a politically charged eastern Europe in the 70s. The story manages to weave together ideas around a the radicalizing of a youth culture and what that meant for the accompanying art and music scene. The characters are often mild mannered yet take their music and beliefs very seriously. There is a real mix of car chases and gunfights mixed with the hum drum mechanics of working in a touring band.

The black and white art created is serviceable, but at times seem to be struggling under the sheer length of the story being told. With that being said, the story is too long. I am not sure if its intentionally slow pacing is meant to pump up the intensity of the violent bits (a la the Godfather), but in this occurrence it falls short.

I thought that it was an interesting idea to create a full length greatest hits album for this fictional band and then release that along with the graphic novel. This commitment to the concept added another layer to the story and listening to the music while giving the book a second read, did help to bring me in a little more then I had been before.

If you like your indie comics full of youth in revolt and have a hankering for a little nostalgia around the roaring 70s in Germany, then this book is for you.

If politics and the brotherhood of musicianship are of no interest to you, then I think that you might want to give it a pass.