cover image Baby’s in Black

Baby’s in Black

Arne Bellstorf. FSG/First Second, $24.99 (196p) ISBN 978-1-59643-771-5

Based on the biography of Stuart Sutcliffe, one of the original Beatles, and his relationship with German photographer Astrid Kirchherr, Bellstorf’s tragic love story offers insight into the time the Beatles spent performing together in Germany before they made it big. Astrid is a bohemian Francophile who is drawn to the incredible music of the Beatles, then playing in a dive bar in Hamburg. She is immediately attracted to bassist Sutcliffe, and despite their different languages and worlds, the pair fall into a happy, and seemingly easy, romance. But their happiness is short-lived: the Beatles are being forced to leave the country, and Stuart’s health is failing. The dialogue all rings true, and although both languages are portrayed in English, the confusion of the characters comes through without losing the audience. Thought the art style suits the story well, the facial features and hair of the male characters are similar enough that it is often difficult to identify which character is which. Fans of the Beatles will certainly be interested in this little-told tale of their early years. The end notes are particularly helpful in giving further perspective on Astrid’s continued relationship with the band. (May)