By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)
Life Drawn Publishing
Available to order on Amazon USA
Some graphic novels can benefit from having that MPLS Sound if pressing those cheap plastic vinyl records is possible. This book could have been brought up a notch had it included a soundtrack too, as an insert or digital code, so readers can benefit from listening to the music that defined that Minneapolis style.
In this book’s case by Joseph P. Illidge & Hannibal Tabu, it’s about why Starchild aka Theresa Booker became a musician. she fell in love with the music that not only Jimi Hendrix made famous but also Prince. It’s also an indirect look at who the musician Prince is and what he represents. Not everyone knows his origin story, and Theresa’s tale is supposed to represent his struggles as a musician. After reading this illustrated work, however, I have to revisit Purple Rain. Both works examine how tough it is to become respected in the music industry. The fictional characters introduced in this book felt very real.
The band is Theresa on lead (singer), James on guitar, Ellis on bass, Dani on drums, Slim on keytar and Lizzie on keyboard. I thought they were a real band when considering the many trials and tribulations they went through; a search on the internet had me only finding two groups, a Canadian progressive rock band formed in 1975 and a doom metal band from Georgia who debuted in 2003. There’s also competing with the ‘name’ to which Paul Stanley of KISS embraced, but I digress.
Reading this work reminded me of the movie Bohemian Rhapsody. Both Freddy Mercury and Prince have a charisma which fans adored. Queen didn’t necessarily define the British sound, but they certainly knew how to adapt to changing trends. Prince’s style evolved to define the Minneapolis sound; he blended funk, New Wave, R&B and art pop in his shows. A side-story reveals he’s looking for a new band.
Although rarely a focus, this tale also considers the racial tensions occurring through Minneapolis at the time. It considers the violence that happened in the streets and the police brutality which went on.
There can be multiple Starchilds. Each of them can hail from different parts of the galaxy to represent all the styles of music available to those willing to look. The important message here is in how harmony is achieved. True to any band, everyone has to be on the same wavelength. The only unfortunate eventuality is when someone wants to leave the stellar nursery to go out on her own…