Michael Jordan: Bull on Parade

Wilfred Santiago. Fantagraphics, $24.99 (200p) ISBN 978-1-60699-711-6
Cartoonist Santiago (21: The Story of Roberto Clemente) focuses on another sports celebrity this time: basketball star Michael Jordan. With a strong, tightly-written narrative that often deftly illustrates social issues of the time, the book seeks to show the private life and motivation behind Jordan’s basketball career—it’s more a behind-the-scenes biography than an action-adventure sports drama. Jordan is shown as a teen in 1970s North Carolina dealing with racism and parental expectations; the story then flows into his basketball stardom with the Bulls, in an upset against the L.A. Lakers and during the rivalry with the Utah Jazz. After the loss of his father and the media attention in its wake, however, a very human Jordan begins to assess his career and what might come after. Santiago presents the book in full-page, full-color paintings—it’s a complex, sophisticated style, but sometimes so dark that clarity is lost. Likewise, the strongly stylized artwork veers between photo-realism and hurried-looking collages. In all, this is a sympathetic portrayal of Jordan for those who like to look deeper into their sports stars. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 03/09/2015
Release date: 10/01/2014
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