GRAPHIC NOVELS

Basquiat

SelfMadeHero. May 2019. 136p. ISBN 9781910593653. pap. $19.99. Rated: Teen+. biog
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In 1968, a seven-year-old Jean-Michael Basquiat is given a copy of Gray’s Anatomy while recuperating after being struck by a car. Within a few years, Basquiat will be living on the streets of Manhattan, supporting himself by selling T-shirts and postcards of his own designs. A few years later, he’ll become one of the most famous and successful artists in the world before dying of a heroin overdose at age 27. Writer Voloj (The Joe Shuster Story) and illustrator Mosdal (Hank Williams: Lost Highway) imbue this brief biography with crackling energy and a breakneck pace to match the tumultuous life and career of their subject, whose synthesis of punk, pop, hip-hop, and street cultures continues to be influential more than 20 years after his death.
VERDICT This compelling fusion of subject and style brilliantly uses cameos by some of the celebrities Basquiat encountered over his brief life—including Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, and Madonna (whom Basquiat briefly dated)

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