There’s always been a strange underlying relationship between comic books and music. Many musicians, like Gerard Way from My Chemical Romance, are so into both mediums that they end up contributing wonderful content in both fields. These creators often blend both of their passions together and give us a whole new look and viewpoint when it comes to sequential art and storytelling. This trend continues in One Model Nation, which was written by Courtney Taylor-Taylor of The Dandy Warhols and produced by Mike Allred, the creator of Madman.
One Model Nation follows a German band in 1977 that are just trying to play their music and enjoy their craft but are being labeled terrorists and threats to society by the police. Sebastian, the band’s leader, wrestles with the image that the band is giving off and the violence that is continually sprouting around him and his friends. He searches for a purpose to his music and a stance to take against the powers that be, and eventually finds what he’s looking for in the most unlikely way.
Taylor’s writing in this graphic novel is lean, to the point, and kept me turning each page until I was done. I got through the whole volume in an entire sitting, not because it’s short, but because it completely captured my attention. As someone who grew up around people trying to become musicians I can recognize every type of person in this book and they all feel genuine. They’re the same types of young rock stars you see at basement shows and crowded youth venues all across the world.
Rugg’s art is very simple, understated, and really captures the feeling of Germany in the 1970’s. The greatest thing about the artwork is that it’s very crisp and orderly when people are simply talking or walking, but it’s sped up and furious when there are car chases, shoot outs, or whenever One Model Nation takes the stage. It leaves room to be dynamic when it needs to be and calm when it calls for it, and it just works on every level.
The verdict on this book is that it’s a great story. Even if you don’t have any interest in music or politics, it’s still a heartfelt story about young people trying to find their place in the world. I highly recommend this book to fans of The Dandy Wharols, musicians, and people who love powerful sequential art. So basically I’m recommending it to everyone.