cover image Che: A Graphic Biography

Che: A Graphic Biography

Spain Rodriguez, . . Verso, $16.95 (106pp) ISBN 978-1-84467-168-7

There are few members of the 1960s underground comics wave whose names inspire more awe and respect than that of Rodriguez (Zap , Nightmare Alley ). Unfortunately, relatively little of that class's avant-garde flash or humor shows up in his worshipful graphic biography of Ernesto “Che” Guevara. Rodriguez tracks Guevara's development from adventurous but asthmatic middle-class Argentinean medical student to messianic revolutionary with aplomb. Guevara's by-now legendary motorcycle and hitchhiking wanderings around South America are portrayed with some levity, while the Cuban revolution and its aftermath are covered with an impressive command of the event's sociopolitical context. By folding Guevara's biographical narrative (already well-traveled by multiple other sources) into one that draws out his growing political awareness, Rodriguez keeps Guevara's beliefs front and center throughout this eventful but thickly worded book. While Rodriguez allows hints of criticism to seep in here and there, this is for the most part unalloyed hagiography, which can seem more like something produced by revolutionary committee than an artist. His art is muscular and unfussy, though oddly square, as if Mark Trail had suddenly discovered the genius of Karl Marx and Simón Bolívar. (Oct.)