As this has only just arrived, but as this double-dose of comics new-to-US-readers by Joff Winterhart has been previously published in the UK, where it garnered some impressive praise by some people whose opinions we pay attention to (see below), we dove right in. So far we can report that Days of Bagnold Summer consists of a narratively linkedseries of one-page comics, each of which stands on their own yet each one building on the previous to tell the story advertised by the title. Days of Bagnold Summer doesn't blink in presenting the uncomfortable aspects of adolescence and adolescent parenting (Our blurb might read, "There's a cringe on every page!").
"Beautifully drawn and exquisitely written... confirms Winterhart as one of the most talented graphic novelists in the UK." – Zadie Smith on Driving Short Distances
"There is probably no truer portrait of teenage and parental angst." – Posy Simmonds on Days of Bagnold Summer
This 250 page, horizontally formatted, duo-tone hardcover delivers a nearly wordless comics biography of 1920s jazz pioneer, Bix Beiderbecke, who was among the first European-American musicians to grasp the revolutionary implications to music embodied in Louis Armstrong & Co.'s riffing improvisations. An early musical prodigy, Beiderbecke was the child of a strict and inflexible (some might say, stubborn and pig-headed) German-American father (and, of course, a more indulgent and flexible mother) with whom Bix found himself constantly at odds: Bix's desires and evident destiny were not what his father had in mind. This contentious relationship between son and father forms the backbone of the narrative upon which the body of the story told here depends. Significantly, while there is occasional text present in the form of letters and telegrams, the only dialogue in the work takes place in the sequence between Bix and his sweetheart, Ruth. The primary pleasure of this "text" is its wordlessness. Chantler's dexterous sequencing of images manages to make the sketching out of an entire life story almost entirely in pictures look easy. A rare treat. Aren't hep to Bix? Check out a solid sampling of his work, here.