By: John C. Mayberry
Now I’ll be honest, in my younger and dumber years I wasn’t much for music that had been around longer than I’ve been alive. But now that I’m older, and although not too much wiser, I recognize what a fool I’ve been to pass up such great music from generations past. And thanks to Hendrix: Electric Requiem, released by the publisher Ablaze, I have a new understanding and appreciation of the heart and soul that went into every piece of music Jimi Hendrix ever wrote and performed.
The story written by Mattia Colombara with artwork by Gianluca Maconi is easily one of my new all-time favorite reads. The surreal, almost metaphysical life story of Jimi Hendrix unfolds brilliantly from start to finish, putting you within the time periods that the man himself lived in as he rose to legend status, with powerful symbolism used throughout by means of the different colors used to illustrate the moments in his life that helped shape him into the musician people everywhere know and love. The usage of color, together with the expressiveness of the artwork and the writing itself have left an impression on the comic book world that cannot be overlooked and will be impossible to overshadow.
Hendrix: Electric Requiem is worth every second you’ll spend reading and re-reading it. Of all the biographies on anyone I’ve read, this is by far one of the most entertaining. And I’m not saying that just because it’s a graphic novel, everything about this story is just nothing short of amazing. Mattia Colobara and Gianluca Maconi, thank you both for this awe-inspiring masterpiece. I can’t wait to see what genius the two of you can think of next!
Writing – The script for this work is fantastic, and even then, I feel like that word is putting it lightly. Dialogue I find is very accurate to the era being portrayed and really pulls you back to those days. For those who actually got to experience their young lives during the time of Jimi Hendrix, the writing for this story will for sure be a touching moment of nostalgia for you guys.
Artwork/coloring – The artwork on the characters is simple yet very expressive, and everything from their fashion to the environments they’re drawn in look perfectly authentic. So much so that you’d swear you were looking at an old stock photo of that time. The coloring done really adds more meaning to the story in ways I didn’t expect but was very happy to see. You’ll begin to see panels of certain tones being used in specific moments, which brings me to…
Symbolism – There were almost no words for me to describe how deeply symbolism was used in this graphic novel. The cool tones that symbolize the influences that helped him reach music stardom, the artwork used in some panels to symbolize his transcendence to legend status, symbolism is almost everywhere in this story. And the way it’s used is just amazing.
OVERALL SCORE – 10 out of 10
Yeah, I said it once at the beginning and I’ll say it once more…Hendrix: Electric Requiem from Ablaze has instantly become one of my all-time favorite graphic novels. Sure, I could have read a book about Hendrix’s life and career, but I sincerely doubt in novel form that it could have been portrayed everything more perfectly or vividly. This is a graphic novel that is a truly fitting tribute to one of music’s most beloved artists. Mr. Colobara, Mr. Maconi, you two should be damn proud of your work on this, because I know Hendrix himself would be touched and amazed by it.