Tag Archives: Country Music

Comic-Con 2014: Where’s David Lasky?

David-Lasky-Comic-Con-2014

Alright, you’re at Comic-Con and feeling fine but where’s David Lasky? You may be asking that very question if your taste in comics runs toward indie and offbeat. Or maybe you’re a fan of his recent graphic novel, with Frank M. Young, The Carter Family. And with the handy illustration above, provided by David Lasky, you will know just where to find him at Comic-Con.

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COMIC-CON 2013: ‘The Carter Family: Don’t Forget This Song’ Wins Eisner Award for Best Reality-Based Comic in Tie-Win

David Lasky Accepting the Eisner Award. Photo by Jacq Cohen

David Lasky Accepting the Eisner Award. Photo by Jacq Cohen

“The Carter Family: Don’t Forget This Song” is a very special book dear to my heart. You can read my review of it here. So, to learn that it won an Eisner Award last night at Comic-Con is great news. It shared the honors with another wonderful book, “Annie Sullivan and the Trials of Helen Keller”

I highlight this from The Washington Post:

The night’s other tie was in the Best Reality-Based Work category, with Joseph Lambert (“Annie Sullivan and the Trials of Helen Keller”; Center for Cartoon Studies/Disney Hyperion) and Frank M. Young and David Lasky (“The Carter Family: Don’t Forget This Song”; Abrams ComicArts) sharing the award.

David Lasky accepted the Eisner award. Co-creator Frank Young was not able to be present. So, good for them! You can check out “The Carter Family: Don’t Forget This Song” here. And you can check out “Annie Sullivan and the Trials of Helen Keller” here.

You can check out a recap on the Eisner Awards here.

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Filed under Art, Art books, Comic-Con, Comic-Con 2013, Comic-Con International: San Diego, Comics, David Lasky, Eisner Awards, Frank M. Young

“THE CARTER FAMILY: DON’T FORGET THIS SONG” Review

Truth is stranger than fiction for The Carter Family who prove to be a true All-American story: unassuming, proud, and innocent. Much like one of those trite dime store novels by Horatio Alger, this family succeeds by luck and pluck. Thankfully, however, the story of one of America’s great country music families is told with grace and wit in the graphic novel, “The Carter Family: Don’t Forget This Song,” coauthored by Frank M. Young and David Lasky, and published by Abrams ComicArts. Mr. Young primarily writes and Mr. Lasky primarily handles the artwork in his unmistakable style. All said and done, after a number of years of work on this project, the book looks and feels like it was meant to be. The fact that this story is not only a graphic novel but presented as if it were a series of old-time Sunday funnies is a perfect fit with such a natural and easygoing narrative.

The driving force behind how this early 20th Century Virginia clan gained notoriety rests with Alvin Pleasant Carter and Sara Dougherty Carter. If not for A.P. Carter’s magic touch with crafting songs and Sara’s haunting vocals, there would not have been a Carter Family to begin with. The luck and pluck part comes into play in a myriad of ways. To start with, A.P. and Sara were an unlikely pair to begin with. He was shy and awkward. She was stubborn and impetuous. They both had their own ideas of what they wanted and preferred to be left to their own devices. Once it clicks that they, and their family, actually do have talent, that is when the prospect of good fortune ironically leads everyone down a precarious path. A.P. is prone to disappear to maintain his quota of songs to sell while Sara’s mood swings add to mounting instability.

Titles of songs and lyrics are intertwined into the narrative to bring out the bittersweet. Each chapter heading is the title of a song, like “Meet Me by the Moonlight Alone,” which features young Alvin courting Sara, or “Look How the World Has Made a Change,” a chapter towards the end when personal dreams have been broken but technological progress presses on. The songs have their own eerie irony and enhance the pleasing ambiguity of the book’s storytelling. The characters themselves often have poker faces but not always. The tension is contemporary but subtle. Things move slowly here, but not without intention.

As much history lesson as satisfying character drama, “The Carter Family” balances out what the world was like then and choices that were made along the way. When A.P. Carter would wander away to collect new songs, it wasn’t like he was out with a net capturing butterflies. The songs had to come from somewhere. To his credit, he was a songwriter in his own right and had the poet’s ear for good lyrics. He was also innocent to what intellectual property means to us today. In his time, people collected songs in the old oral tradition. If something sounded good, someone took it upon themselves to memorize it, not bothering as to where it came from. It was an easy enough system until A.P. meets Lesley Riddle, an African-American who shares with him an unusually good song, “The Cannonball.” In this case, it seems that Mr. Riddle crafted something from another source, in the same manner as A.P. was in the habit of doing. So, does Mr. Riddle get any credit? Mr. Carter tries to do just that. However, his manager/producer/song publisher, Ralph Peer, who should know better, denies Mr. Carter’s request.

As any good country song will tell you, life is not fair. This is something the Carters must learn over and over again just like any rock star today has to be ready to take the good with the bad. Even in their low-key manner, this Carter family is full of drama and we’re the richer for it. That said, the story is told in such a poetic and hypnotic way that, like any good country song, it will leave you with a satisfying melancholy.

“The Carter Family: Don’t Forget This Song” is published by Abrams ComicArts. This is a 192-page hardcover book in full color with a CD of Carter Family songs. Visit the Abrams ComicArts site.

I hope you enjoyed this review. Please continue reading to the next two posts for exclusive interviews with Frank M. Young and David Lasky.

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INTERVIEW: DAVID LASKY AND “THE CARTER FAMILY: DON’T FORGET THIS SONG”

David Lasky is the coauthor, with Frank M. Young, of the graphic novel, “The Carter Family: Don’t Forget This Song.” It has been a treat to observe Mr. Lasky’s evolution as an artist. He always loves a challenge and, with this book, he realized early on this was a project that would take years to get right. Sensitive to the human condition, his artistry reveals A.P. Carter and Sara Dougherty Carter for who they were while leaving something to mystery. Like the Mona Lisa’s smile, there is only so much we can know. Mr. Lasky used dip pens of the time to help capture the pace of a bygone era but he also employs a contemporary sensibility in drawing out the drama of these characters. This is the story of the early years of country music giving way to the early years of radio and beyond.

“The Carter Family: Don’t Forget This Song” is published by Abrams ComicArts. This is a 192-page hardcover book in full color with a CD of Carter Family songs. Visit the Abrams ComicArts site.

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INTERVIEW: FRANK M. YOUNG AND “THE CARTER FAMILY: DON’T FORGET THIS SONG”

Frank M. Young is the coauthor, with David Lasky, of the graphic novel, “The Carter Family: Don’t Forget This Song.” The book is an in-depth look at one of the leading families of country/folk music. Their story spans the 20th Century and is as much a history of American popular music as it is the story of a family with its leading characters, the patriarch, A.P. Carter, and the matriarch, Sara Dougherty Carter. That these two were not exactly going to have an easy time of it is pretty clear from the start. But, despite their innocence and stubbornness, they would conjure up mesmerizing music to grace the newfound radio airwaves.

In this interview, Mr. Young’s enthusiasm for his subject is contagious. He is quite intrigued by the relationship of A.P. Carter and Sara Carter, two unlikely stars of popular music. But it was A.P. Carter’s ability to recognize a compelling tune and Sara Carter’s haunting voice that could not go unnoticed. Anyone looking for an authentic American grassroots sound would do well to discover The Carter Family. Their story in this book follows their rise, the conflicts and challenges, and the aftermath of an amazing journey into early American show business.

“The Carter Family: Don’t Forget This Song” is published by Abrams ComicArts. This is a 192-page hardcover book in full color with a CD of Carter Family songs. Visit the Abrams ComicArts site.

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Filed under Art, Art books, Books, Comics, Country Music, David Lasky, Frank M. Young, graphic novels, Music, The Carter Family