Sunday, June 25, 2023

Book Review: All Tomorrow's Parties

Many cultural critics would agree that Andy Warhol gave the Velvet Underground their break simply by bringing them under his wing. While they reached a certain level of notoriety and local celebrity in their time and have since acquired a lasting cult following, their success was in large part fostered by Warhol’s patronage. But at the time, this relationship was muddied by a certain level of codependence and an insatiable appetite for fame and irony, leaving Lou Reed to ponder quietly: Would we have succeeded without Warhol's help? This doubt begins to spread like a malignant force, eventually leading to the band’s undoing as they break away from Warhol and, perhaps, give up their golden ticket to success.

Explore the story behind the group The New York Times called "arguably the most influential American rock band of our time," through good times and bad, as captured in emotive style by multi-award winning artist Koren Shadmi (Twilight Man, Love Addict: Confessions of a Serial Dater).

All Tomorrow's Parties: The Velvet Underground Story will be released on August 22, 2023. Life Drawn, an imprint of Humanoids Inc., provided an early galley for review.

Music and comics have been a part of my life for over a half-century. So, the merger of the two mediums in this project had great allure for me. Admittedly, the Velvet Underground is not a group who has a lot of presence in my music library (yet), however I knew of them and their influence on other bands that came after them. Thanks to the story as told through this graphic novel, I feel I know the band a lot better.

This is also my first exposure to the work of Koren Shadmi. I really like his art style with its strong sense of narrative flow and the level of detail he puts into the work. He reproduces likenesses very well (many I instantly recognized before reading the captions). I will definitely seek out more of his work.

The behind-the-scenes pages at the end (his essay plus some of the sketches and such) was a nice way to round it all out.

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