If you’ve ever wondered at how important the artwork in a graphic novel is to telling a story, you should definitely give Scott Chantler’s Bix a read. If you’ve heard of Bix Beiderbecke but don’t know much about him and want to know more, then you should give Scott Chantler’s Bix a read. If you’ve never heard of Bix Beiderbecke but have an interest in jazz music or American history or biographies, then you should read Bix.
Bix Beiderbecke was an amazing jazz trumpet player in the 1920’s, born in Iowa to a strict family with an unforgiving father. Bix tried to live a ‘normal’ life but the call of music was too strong. His skills were strong and he played with some of the biggest names in jazz at the time, and his name will appear on a few records. But like something right out of a dime novel, Bix was haunted by demons – demons that often came from a bottle. Those demons would cause him to miss gigs, and he’d regularly lose jobs.
The actual dialog in this 250+ page graphic novel is quite slim – the first word balloon doesn’t appear until page 80! – but Chantler’s art and layout is SO expressive that we don’t need dialog to understand the story or the emotions of the characters.
The story is quite basic and touches the highlights (low-lights?) of his life, so those more familiar with the Bix Beiderbecke story may not get anything new from this story (I reviewed a Bix biography in 2018) but this is still very much worth reading for the format – the dialog-lite graphic novel.
Looking for a good book? Scott Chantler’s graphic novel Bix is an incredibly well-made, unique biography that is well worth reading.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review.
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author: Scott Chantler
artist: Scott Chantler
publisher: Gallery 13
hardcover, 256 pages