The Fifth Beatle Expanded Edition TPB Review
Dark Horse really hit a home run with The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story. The Graphic Novel by Vivek J. Tiwary, Andrew Robinson and Kyle Baker won Harvey and Eisner Awards with it’s initial release. Now, Dark Horse is releasing it as a trade paperback, arriving in your local comic shop on October 12, 2016.
We’ve already had a review of The Fifth Beatle, but with the expanded edition, I thought it’d be a good time to offer my two cents worth.
Writer: Vivek J. Tiwary
Penciller: Andrew C. Robinson, Kyle Baker
Inker: Andrew C. Robinson, Kyle Baker
Letterer: Steve Dutro
Colorist: Andrew C. Robinson, Kyle Baker
Cover Artist: Andrew C. Robinson
Eisner and Harvey Award winner!
The Fifth Beatle recounts the untold story of visionary Beatles manager Brian Epstein—who created Beatlemania and guided the band from basement gigs to unprecedented international stardom. This multiple-award-winning graphic novel has been added to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Library and Archives!
This new softcover edition includes a revised sketchbook and Beatles memorabilia bonus section with behind-the-scenes insights from writer Vivek Tiwary and artists Andrew Robinson and Kyle Baker—expanded to include eight pages unique to this edition!
* #1 New York Times bestseller.
“Heartbreaking, exhilarating and unexpected . . . A complete triumph.”—The Hollywood Reporter
“Abounds with emotional moments . . . Filled with vibrant images.”—The New York Times
This is one of those stories that could have been done in any medium, but some of the choices, such as the bullfighter analogy above, really only work in comics. It could be done in film, but I doubt it would be so successful. There are scenes done with tight panels, capturing the dialogue pattern to the young Beatles. Andrew Robinson literally puts on a clinic here teaching people how to illustrate a spectacular story that is filled with extraordinary events on a completely human level. Almost every page turn reveals another piece of beautiful art keeping a reader drawn in and invested in this story.
Brian Epstein was an amazing man and this story shows him, cracks and all, especially as a gay man in a time that homosexuals weren’t just persecuted, but prosecuted. His relationship with John is shown entirely from Brian’s perspective, but we glimpse how Lennon viewed his relationship with the Beatles’ manager. The character of Moxie is also used in a unique way. Introduced as Epstein’s personal assistant it becomes obvious halfway through there’s more there than meets the eye.
Epstein is shown as flawed, but brilliant. In this depiction, the point is gotten across that without Brian Epstein, the Beatles would not have been the legend that they are. When I was younger, music magazines would constantly speculate over who deserved the title of “the Fifth Beatle.” This presents a solid case the Brian Epstein was the fifth Beatle.
The expanded edition presents some of the preliminary sketches done by Andrew Robinson, even giving us insight into the process. This is invaluable to fans of great comic art. It doesn’t distract from a great story, though, and adds something to the experience. For any fan of the Beatles, this book is a must have, in both the original edition and this expanded version.