Comic Review: James Brown: Black and Proud (IDW)

“The Godfather of Soul. The Hardest Working Man in Show Business. Ladies and Gentlemen, IDW brings us the graphic novel biography of James Brown; Black and Proud!” Born poor in […]

“The Godfather of Soul. The Hardest Working Man in Show Business. Ladies and Gentlemen, IDW brings us the graphic novel biography of James Brown; Black and Proud!”

Born poor in the Southern United States during the depths of the Great Depression, James Brown worked his way to the top of the R&B charts and influenced musicians, dancers, and singers. He inspired black Americans to take pride in their heritage and abilities.

Flawed and talented by turn, his story is a captivating tale. This full colour illustrated graphic novel, originally published in French in 2016, is written and illustrated by Xavier Fauthoux. It’s now translated into English. Xavier Fauthoux had previously won a 2012 film direction award for an entry in the James Brown Video Challenge, so it’s sure that his interest in Brown has spanned years.

This is a captivating biography, methodically researched and well presented. Brown’s early days are documented in detail, showing us the true picture of his humble, painful origins in rural Georgia. Beaten, hungry and abandoned by his parents, James Brown gets work as a young child in a brothel, where he survives by singing and dancing, along with selling snacks to the visiting soldiers. Life gets real, then it gets real bad.

Interspersed with accounts of his life are the parallel battles of black Americans dealing with racism.

It’s not a cheerful life, nor is it without pain and struggle. Brown is no angel, either to himself or anyone near him. But he innovates, inspires and succeeds.

A compelling true story and nicely captured to give proper respect to a powerful and creative entertainer.

IDW, James Brown: Black and Proud, $24.99 for 140 pages, Not Rated; Assume Teen

Alan Spinney

About Alan Spinney

After a career of graphic design, art direction and copywriting, I still have a passion for words and pictures. I love it when a comic book comes together; the story is tight, and the drawings lead me forward. Art with words... the toughest storytelling technique to get right. Was this comic book worth your money? Let's see!!