The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story by Vivek J. Tiwary

First off, the Fifth Beatle” is not about the Beatles but its manager, Brian Epstein, who “guided the Beatles to unprecedented international stardom rewriting the rules of the pop music business in the process.” But the book wasn’t really so much about how he changed the music business either; it was his inner struggle about his homosexuality in a time where it was illegal to be one. The way the story was told was not exhaustive enough for me to feel for Brian though; it didn’t give me enough information to understand what was driving him and what was driving him away. “The Fifth Beatle” read more like anecdotes of people’s memory of Brian. It even ended abruptly that I had to go to Wikipedia to find out what happened to him. But the dramatic and even poetic illustrations and layout more than made up for the story-telling weakness. Colors and hues take over to express the mood and the characters in which words would be so limited in a graphic adaptation. It gave me the sense that if film noir were to be put in comic book form, this is the standard. Robinson and Baker are the Orson Welles of the graphic novel industry.

– Elizabeth

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