From the mind of American Indie band The Dandy Warhols’ singer-guitarist Courtney Taylor-Taylor and Ignatz award winning illustrator Jim Rugg (The Guild) comes One Model Nation. One Model Nation is a graphic novel following the battle that fictitious band One Model Nation is pushed into during the turbulent late 70s in Berlin and the government witch hunt of the notorious Baader-Meinhof gang.
So, I will start out with saying this, I’m not huge into politics, or indie rock, but I swallowed what disinterest I thought I would have and some what enjoyed this book. I’m not saying this book will become the best book of 2012, but if you are a fan of indie rock or 1970’s German politics (and who isn’t) pick it up.
The story starts slow, I mean really slow, I wasn’t sure if I could get into the book, but I will say after the first 10-15 pages the story picks up. The story that involves the Baader-Meinhof Gang is interesting, the whole music persecution from the German police and the Red Army and its effects on the youth of Berlin is captivating, but there really isn’t much else to the book. I really respect what Taylor-Taylor was doing here, but it just didn’t mesh well. The amazing Michael Allred (Madman) gives a very endearing foreword for the book and how it needed to be written, but I thought this would really work better as a movie. The dialogue is sharp and realistic, I know some guys who talk like this, although there are less German accents in my circles. The pacing wasn’t bad either, the story focused on a lot of things, but it never got confusing.
The art was neat, it screams indie rock and Rugg really helps pull you into the grey, depressing, era of militaristic Berlin in ’77. Every blurb of color really pulls you in and makes you focus on what ever it’s illuminating, whether it be the shocking red of spilt blood or the ravishing purple of a beautiful woman’s revealing outfit. A guest appearance of an Allred influenced character is also an interesting artistic choice, keep an eye out.
Over all I give the book a solid 6/10 it is visually stunning, the pacing is well done, and the dialogue is very realistic, but the story itself is just plain boring. I really hate trashing art, especially art about art, even more when it’s about art overcoming persecution, which is ironic because I am persecuting it, but you can’t get around the dry history of the era. Buy this graphic novel for the musician in your life, especially if they are into indie rock, they should love the dark story of a band rising up against all odds to just disappear and never make it big, or get it for a hipster, hipsters love this shit.