Recently a very good bookish friend of mine, who also happens to be a passionate music enthusiast, read and reviewed a graphic novel about the famed musician, Kurt Cobain. He normally doesn’t post reviews on any specific platform, keeping his thoughts to himself, however. He felt that this particular narrative provided a fascinating look into the life and troubles of one of the world’s most phenomenal musical artists. Out of respect for his passion, as well as admiration for his lovely review, I decided to share it here with all of you (with his permission, of course!).
Please, enjoy! ♥
Who Killed Kurt Cobain is a graphic novel reworking of the book Le Roman de Buddah written by Heloise Guay de Bellissen. This interpretation is penned and drawn by Nicolas Otero, and printed by IDW Publishing. The story is about the lead singer of Nirvana, beginning with his abusive upbringing and leading up to his untimely death. The novel touches on many subjects including the band’s sudden skyrocketing fame, which left Cobain feeling drained, causing him to lose interest in touring. It also led to his tumultuous relationship with his wife Courtney Love, his well-know drug addiction, and finally his death.
Who Killed Kurt Cobain is a difficult book to discuss. It’s written from the perspective of Cobain’s imaginary friend, Buddah, and provides a narration from the inner workings of the tortured artist’s own mind. We get to experience things from his own mindset with a slightly skewed bias of someone who’s trying to look out for their best friend.
The writing itself is quite good as showcasing the esoteric turmoil Cobain felt as he felt more and more pressure to produce music and to perform for ever-growing crowds. Also, albeit briefly, the narrative examines his battle with a deteriorating health, which includes Crohn’s disease (a stomach illness that causes extreme agony and depression). These factors when combined with his violent relationship with Love eventually led to Cobain’s drug abuse.
Who Killed Kurt Cobain paints a rather vivid world of hurt, loss, confusion, and moments of happiness that were terribly fleeting. While I appreciated the writing, there were certain portions that I found were too focused on using Buddah as a guide for story-flow, which took away from the natural fluidity. One of the elements I enjoyed the most was how the story isn’t told in a cohesive order. We get glimpses here and there of varying events, which helps create an atmosphere of reflection; it felt like someone was sitting down and think back on their life as they approach the end of it.
The art style is a wonderful compliment to this type of story; creating a perfect mix of chaos with intimate. One moment Cobain is on the floor in pain with his guts hanging out, and the next is an extremely awkward and beautiful scene of Cobain’s and Love’s first time together. The lack of colour until the absolute end adds to the overall feeling of depression as one would find within their mind while reminiscing on their life.
All in all, Who Killed Kurt Cobain is something that I would highly recommend for fans of Nirvana. Personally, I don’t agree with it’s conclusion. I have my own theories in regards to Cobain’s demise, but I will refrain from sharing those as that’s not what this review is about. If you’re not a fan of Nirvana, but you do enjoy a tragic story that has great writing and artwork, I recommend giving this a shot.