cover image Instrumental


Dave Chisholm. Z2, $24.99 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-1-940878-15-7

Tom, a middling trumpet player in a going-nowhere jazz band, acquires a supernatural trumpet that produces music so beautiful it kills listeners with weak hearts. As music becomes a matter of life and death for him, he confers with the shades of great musicians of the past as well as his mortal bandmates. Creator Chisholm is a jazz musician himself, and this Gaiman-like fantasy about the blurred line between art and magic is solidified by an underlying sense of lived reality; the characters inhabit a real world of burned-out speakers, coffee-shop gigs, and day jobs. The book’s central weakness is the art, which strives for Craig Thompson–like elegance but is too often sketchy and unpracticed. The ending also falls a little flat. But Chisholm has produced beautiful art elsewhere—see his gorgeous music-themed contribution to the anthology Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream—and this is a solid first graphic novel. Hopefully, in the future he’ll really cook. The book includes a CD of a soundtrack also by Chisholm. (May)