Sunday, December 6, 2009

Charlie Patton

Unlike Yoshihiro Tastumi, who spent 800+ pages writing about a type of art as well as the tale of one person's life, R. Crumb fits a brief history of Jazz and the life of Charlie Patton all into 12 pages. And my main complaint is that this story does feel cramped.
R. Crumb tells this story mostly through narrative, with pictures to go along with the paragraphs. It is an overview, not an in depth day-to-day tale of Patton's life. I, personally, would have wanted a few of the scenes to be more detailed with more dialogue - as if we were living it with Patton. I would have particularly liked to see the scene where his father gives him the guitar, one of the fights with Bertha Lee, and a performance in this style.
Because there is hardly any dialogue and R. Crumb tells the story in such an objective, facts only, style, the reader doesn't really get a real feel for who Charlie Patton is as a person. The images are compelling, especially panel four page six where he is hitting a woman on the head with a guitar (looks violent and sexual at the same time) and the second to last panel on page 12, where you really can see the change in Patton's appearance and the fear he has of being to close to death.
Still, R. Crumb's artistic style and provocative images will keep this story in my mind long after I have finished writing this blog.

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