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Che: A Graphic Biography Paperback – October 17, 2008

4.3 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

There are few members of the 1960s underground comics wave whose names inspire more awe and respect than that of Rodriguez (Zap, Nightmare Alley). Unfortunately, relatively little of that class's avant-garde flash or humor shows up in his worshipful graphic biography of Ernesto Che Guevara. Rodriguez tracks Guevara's development from adventurous but asthmatic middle-class Argentinean medical student to messianic revolutionary with aplomb. Guevara's by-now legendary motorcycle and hitchhiking wanderings around South America are portrayed with some levity, while the Cuban revolution and its aftermath are covered with an impressive command of the event's sociopolitical context. By folding Guevara's biographical narrative (already well-traveled by multiple other sources) into one that draws out his growing political awareness, Rodriguez keeps Guevara's beliefs front and center throughout this eventful but thickly worded book. While Rodriguez allows hints of criticism to seep in here and there, this is for the most part unalloyed hagiography, which can seem more like something produced by revolutionary committee than an artist. His art is muscular and unfussy, though oddly square, as if Mark Trail had suddenly discovered the genius of Karl Marx and Simón Bolívar. (Oct.)
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Review

“Spain is one of the true giants of the comics medium. He is a singular artist; his work is unmistakable.”—Joe Sacco

“Spain’s take on Che is brilliant and radical.”—Art Spiegelman
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 106 pages
  • Publisher: Verso (October 17, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844671682
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844671687
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 0.4 x 10.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #518,031 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A person's opinion about a book is his right; however, I don't believe Paulik's one-sentence "review" that Che: A Graphic Biography was a whitewash"---at least not of history as I know it to be.

I was alive and reading in the 50s and 60s. In those days, newspapers provided frequent reports of US business interests---together with our Government's support---prompting a ruthless economic exploitation and its attendant human oppression in Cuba as well as several central american countries. Furthermore, Cuba's exploitation by US corporation and mob interests was well known by anyone who read the NY Times or Washington Post.

To my knowledge, there was not a word in this book that contradicted what was known by any well-read Americans who cared. What was commonly whitewashed in those days were the descriptions of the corrupt Batista regime's minions (aka "exiles"), who packed and fled to Miami with the arrival of Castro's forces in Havana. More common thereafter was TV's "redwashing", which frequently reported "news" of Russian weapons in Guatemala, Communist terrorists in Nicaragua, and the "international communist menace" in "enslaved" Cuba.

Perhaps Reader Paulik's "whitewash" refers to Guevara's personal life. If so, then he must know more about the man than I. In any case, Che remains a hero to millions including myself.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Always enjoyed Spain's art ever since his "Trashman" days at EVO. This is a well written and beautifully illustrated Che bio that showed me many aspects of the revolutionary icon's bio i had been unaware of. He (Che) was quite a world traveler, and my favorite anecdote deals with his exasperation while training African cadre that scoffs at taking basic military precautions because they insist they are protected from bullets by magic. One guy tells Che not to worry because the other side believes it too!
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Format: Paperback
As a secondary English Language Arts teacher, I’m always interested in picking up graphic novels for my classroom. When this one jumped out at me from a clearance shelf (guerrilla style), I thought it was a novel idea to tell a biographical story in graphic form.

I must admit my former ignorance about Ernesto “Che” Guevara’s life and ideology. I feel that most people of my demographic (30-something Americans) probably don’t know much about him, either. From a teacher standpoint, I can say with surety that the US educational system under-emphasizes Latin and Central American history. As a people, we seriously underrate our southern neighbors (unless we’re talking about cruise destinations; at least this is how my Appalachian region perceives Latin America). Having said that, I could easily recognize Korda’s famous photograph of Che Guevara, but that was about it.

This is why I find it fascinating that Rodriguez opens his story with two men on a street discussing the iconic photo. “I keep seeing this guy’s face everywhere!” “You mean Ernetso ‘Che’ Guevara?” The story takes off from that point. I still didn’t understand the impact of the instantly recognizable photograph until the concluding essay by Sarah Seidman and Paul Buhle.

Because it has sparked such an interest in me, I would highly recommend this graphic story to anyone curious about Che Guevara.
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Format: Paperback
Did you know that Che was asthmatic? Che: A Graphic Biography is a black-and-white graphic novel presentation of the life, death, and ideals of revolutionary icon Ernesto "Che" Guevara. From his motorcycle journey through Latin America to his rise to fame as a leader of Fidel Castro's movement to his travels through Africa to his involvement in the Bolivian insurgency that ultimately led to his death, Che: A Graphic Biography is a surprisingly in-depth and sympathetic portrayal of this complex figure. Highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Alot of intensive research went into this graphic bio, which adds to its appeal, especially for a younger generation. Takes read way beyond the tee icon -- and 'cut out' revolutionary -- to his multiple accomplishments globally. Such a keen social conscience and a rare willingness to sacrifice for what he perceived as a better world.
Appropriate for gifting high-school-age grandchildren, your adult daughter and nephew. Beyond US propaganda, Spain Rodriguez's concept and drawing is exceptional--an heirloom in the making.
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I loved this book because it didn't make Che out to be the handsome young hero yet gave his life the meaning he deserved. I think the graphics we amazing and would recommend this book to anyone.
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By KMM on September 17, 2011
Format: Paperback
Strong artistic work, absorbing read. You want this book.

Another review mentions "Appropriate for gifting high-school-age" -- yes, and younger; the violence children are exposed to in quite mainstream cartoons is way worse than this, and the writing is very accessible. I do not mean to suggest that this is a kiddie book, just that it is a uniquely digestible (and thus important) history. Rodriguez and Joe Sacco (and Chester Brown, and &c) deserve a lot more mainstream attention and praise; it is no small feat to make history and politics into something so page-turning and accessible.

I have never been able to read Spain without kinda wincing at the rough edges -- a Spain Rodriguez breast is a sight to behold -- but his bold style works well here; a Che biography with soothing visuals would not have made the same impact.

I'll wait a bit on passing down my other comix but this is a great addition to my library for homeschooling my young daughter, and I will be amazed if it does not inspire great interest in Latin American politics; I am off to find myself a history of Cuba. Che's life and work is fascinating stuff, and I feel sorry for people unable to see past their own politics far enough to realise as much. There is plenty to criticise about Che, but also much to love.
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