The library is a great place for readers to discover comics, and it’s a great place for comics readers to check out things that they want to try without spending their hard-earned cash. I’m looking at comics that I find in the New York Public Library system.
There’s always some creative person whose work you want to experience, a filmmaker, a novelist, or a cartoonist. It’s been on my agenda for a while now, but I finally uncovered a book of Spain Rodriguez’s from the library, and it happens to be a biography of t-shirt icon Ernesto “Che” Guevara.
As a biography, Che isn’t exactly unbiased. Spain’s clear affection for the man and his accomplishments are on the forefront of every single page, with barely even a passing mention of any controversies that Che was embroiled in during his time. Readers coming to it should certainly bear that in mind – Che is a celebration of a man’s accomplishments, not a rounded biography.
In that context, it’s quite effective. Spain’s clearly done his research, and he touches on all of Che’s major life moments, with particular time spent on the Cuban revolution and Che’s time in Africa. Artistically, it’s a very strong piece, with strong likenesses and precise panel-to-panel storytelling. He’s very adept at massaging sequences out to their natural climax, and he explores many facets of Che’s accomplishments in considerable detail.
Spain Rodriguez is one of the classic artists of the comix underground movement, and Che Guevara is one of the most influential counter-culture figures of the past century. It seems fitting that one chronicle the life of the other, and under Spain’s careful pacing and attention to detail, Che is a worthwhile, if biased, ode from one legend to another, and you can hopefully find it in your local library.