Following the release of ‘Nevermind’ in 1991, Nirvana became one of the biggest bands in the world and still sell millions to this day – over a decade on from Kurt Cobain’s untimely passing. This graphic novel depicts the life and times of the troubled Nirvana frontman, from his childhood to his very last days.
Whilst there are many books out there on Kurt, this is the first be delivered in a comic format – which very much makes its unique selling point. The illustration work by British artist Flameboy is exceptional and evident from just the cover alone – showing him as weeping fallen angel.
Bearing in mind the events that made up Kurt’s life, ‘Godspeed’ comes with a Parental Advisory notice, as some of the issues are very serious. The story starts with a young Kurt struggling to understand why his family was falling apart and using his imagination to find a world he felt safe in. His creativity continues to bloom through his rebellious teenage years and his inspiration from bands such as The Melvins and The Pixies force him into shaping his own musical identity. This is very much where the story picks up in pace as you follow Nirvana fighting to break out in a scene that didn’t want to listen to them.
Obviously the stardom that the band eventually find leads them to the usual rock clichés but it is important to remember that this book would not have been at all authentic if these issues were left out. It’s very interesting how the extra attention, excessive partying and temptations on the road affect the group – and once Kurt meets his future wife (Courtney Love) – he unintentionally starts to drift away from his bandmates. The events of Kurt Cobain’s tragically short life are depicted in a very artistic way, without ever feeling unnatural. The words that go along with Flameboy’s astounding visual work are original and tasteful, often inspired by the band’s lyrics – giving the story an almost poetic feel.
As Kurt struggles with his addictions, marriage, fatherhood as well as his career, the story takes a very dark turn and shows the last years of someone rapidly spiralling out of control. All conspiracy theories are ignored and Courtney Love is represented as a caring, passionate young woman that only has her child and her husband’s best interest at heart.
Kurt Cobain was someone who disliked mainstream culture and reluctantly became the voice for the 90’s alternative. Perhaps he may have objected to a book like this if he was still alive, but it has to be said that this release by Omnibus Press is factually correct and delivered in a format that lacks no artistic integrity.
Publisher: Omnibus Press