On this page:

  • Baby’s in Black
  • Punkrock Heartland
  • RPM

Bellstorf, Arne.  Baby’s in Black. Reprodukt, 2010.

Hamburg, 1960.  Astrid Kirchherr graduated with a degree in art and is about to begin a career as photographer.  Then her boyfriend Stuart Sutcliffe, one of the original Beatles, appears and tells her about his experiences in St. Pauli.  This graphic novel relays the tragic love story of Astrid and Stuart in Hamburg’s artsy subculture in the 1960s.

The stylized comic pictures stand in sharp contrast to the photography that Astrid produced or the art that Stuart created in his short career.  For this reason, the book could be used effectively to compare types of art and representation of true stories/true subjects.  The portraiture of the very well known Beatles is also so inexact that the the only unambiguous depiction of the real life people who inspired the story come across in the words of the text.

This novel also offers the opportunity for instruction in translation exercises. About half of the main graphic novel is in English, but the text features German translations of the dialogue in the back.  It is also a great resource for teaching and learning colloquial expressions.

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Baby's in Black 2

E for everyone

Video: Arne Bellstorf und sein Comicbuch über die Hamburger Jahre der Beatles


Lirium, Andi.  Punkrock Heartland. Männerschwarm, 2010. 

ISBN 13: 978-3939542926

Sample Text: After Bass had been released from prison: ,,Als ich im Sommer 2000 endlich entlassen wurde, besorgte ich mir am Hauptbahnhof ein Handy, ‘ne Gaswumme und ‘n halbes Gramm Speed. Ich stellte meine Kram bei meiner lieben Mutter unter, ass bei ihr zu Mittag und quatschte was mit meinem Bruder, der jetzt in meinem Zimmer wohnte, Skateboard fuhr und so gar nicht mehr die kleine Nervensäge war, die ich in Erinnerung gehabt hatte. Er war jetzt 16 und Mamma war stolz auf ihn.” 

This graphic novel follows the adventures of Bastian (Bass) and his friends who live amid the punk culture of Hamburg, Germany. Bastian is twenty years old and ran away from home when he was 13.  He lands in jail after trying to give his life some meaning. He then joins a band of punks in Hamburg and begins an affair with Zottel; and later finds out that Zottel has a girlfriend.

Linguistically, the text contains mostly slang phrases, some associated with the drug scene or gay community. The pictures  all contain the same three or four colors (black, white, gray and yellow); and each page sets itself apart with its chaotic layout that does not use regular panels. Instead, the pictures on any given page flow into one another.

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matureSmoking, drugs and some suggestions of homosexual sex acts, and violence with weapons.

Lenzin, Martina. RPM. Reprodukt, 2010. 

ISBN 13: 978-3941099463

Sample Text: Dialogue between Tin and talk show host: ,,Aber was ist das für eine Selbstverwirklichung, zu der man nur über Passivität und Zerstörung gelangt?” ,,Sagst du damit indirekt, Punk sei  unmotiviert gewesen?” ,,Punk hat uns vorgemacht, das die Konditionierung zerschlagen werden muss. Der notwendige Folgeschritt aber fehlte: alles selber in die Hand nehmen! Dazu muss man wach sein, immer in Bewegung, spektakuläre Dinge meiden, die einem bloss Zeit rauben, Seitenpfade finden, ein eigenes System erschliessen.” ,, Was heisst das alles für die Kunst? Die Musik, Tin?”

Looking at the post-punk atmosphere, Tin is disappointed at the mass production mentality. She founds her own magazine and confronts enduring questions of the music industry: why do I make music, and how do I reach an audience?

Short episodes are interspersed with pages that show Tin speaking to a talk show host. The drawings in the non-therapy episodes consist of black and white sketches with over-exaggerated animal-like figures conducting the dialogue. In these episodes the language is much more sparse and conversational than those with the therapist level conversations (Sample Text above).

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rating pending