By Nicolas Finet, Christopher & Degreff: translated by Montana Kane (NBM)
ISBN: 978-1-681122-76-2 (HB) eISBN: 978-1-681122-77-9
The list of people who lived hard, died young and changed the world is small but still, somehow, painfully overcrowded. Possibly the most tragic, influential, yet largely unknown is a born rule-breaking rebel who defied all conventions and became almost inevitably THE icon of doomed youth-with-big-dreams everywhereâ€¦
Author, filmmaker, journalist, publisher, educator and music documentarian Nicolas Finet has worked in comics for more than three decades and also generated a bucketload of reference works – such as Mississippi Ramblinâ€™ and Forever Woodstock. His collaborator on that last one was veteran author, journalist and illustrator Christopher (The Long and Winding Road; many other music-centred tomes and adaptor of Bob Dylan).
Their compelling treatise on misunderstood and self-destructive Janis – just like her music, poetry and art – is something to experience, not read about, but Iâ€™ll do my best to convince you anywayâ€¦
After a quick dip into early life and influences, the story proper opens in Texas in 1947 as â€˜Forget Port Arthurâ€™ zeroes in on key childhood traumas and revelations around the homelife and schooling of little Janis Lyn Joplin at the start of the most culturally chaotic and transformative period in American historyâ€¦
Brilliant, multi-talented, sexually ambiguous, starved for love whilst desperately directionless, her metamorphosis through Blues music mirrors that of many contemporaries (a fair few of whom comprise the infamous â€œ27 Clubâ€ of stars who died young). However, as this book shows, although something indefinable was always just out of Joplinâ€™s reach, her response was never to passively accept or ever surrenderâ€¦
After wildly rebellious teen years, an uncomfortable educational life, a brief brush with conventional conformity and a near-lethal counter-culture encounter in San Francisco – as detailed in â€˜The Temptation of Disasterâ€™ – her meteoric rise in the era of flower power, liberal love and drug experimentation and record company exploitation lead to her return to California and triumphant breakthrough in 1966, all carried along by â€˜Spells and Charmsâ€™â€¦
Stardom with hot band Big Brother and the Holding Company, a host of legendary encounters and even greater personal dissipation makes wild child into living myth at Monterey and other landmarks of the Summer of Love, before success and acceptance prove to be her darkest nightmare in â€˜Lost and Distraughtâ€™â€¦
Global stardom and media glorification are balanced by heartbreak, betrayal and too-many brushes with death. As Woodstock confirms her status and talent to the world, the landscape inside her head turns against Janis. Endless exhausting tours and brief amorous encounters further destabilise the girl within and the end – when it comes – is no surprise to anyoneâ€¦
With a moving Preface from comics legend and childhood friend Gilbert Shelton, a huge and star-studded Character Gallery and suggested Further Reading and Viewing, this forthright, no-nonsense yet extremely imaginative interpretation of the too-short flowering of â€œthe Roseâ€ offers insight but no judgement into a quintessentially complex, contradictory and uncompromised lifeâ€¦
NBMâ€™s library of graphic biographies are swiftly becoming the crucial guide to the key figures of modern history and popular culture. If you havenâ€™t found the answers youâ€™re seeking yet, then youâ€™re clearly not looking in the right placeâ€¦
Â© Hatchette Livre (Marabout) 2020. Â© 2021 NBM for the English translation. All rights reserved.
Love Me Please – The Story of Janis Joplin 1943-1970 is scheduled for release on July 15th 2021 and is available for pre-order in both print and digital editions.
Most NBM books are also available in digital formats. For more information and other great reads see http://www.nbmpub.com/