Graphic Novel (Guest) Review 340/365: Is This Guy For Real?

Please keep up with all of my old Graphic Novel Reviews here as I quest for 365 in 365 days! Or search #365GN on Twitter.

Hey, all! I have some cool things coming your way in June, so make sure that you are checking back every day. I appreciate you for reading.

Continuing the guest reviews of my esteemed Comic Book Teacher friends, I present to you an amazing chunk of graphic novel reviews by my main man Jason Nisavic.  Jason is a Social Studies teacher in my district.  He has used graphic novels to great success in his classroom, he runs our school’s improv team, and he also heads the Gay/Straight Alliance; I tell you this because Jason is a busy dude, so I appreciate it when he comes through with some top-notch reviews!

Title: Is This Guy For Real? The Unbelievable Andy Kaufman 

Author(s): Box Brown

Publisher: First Second Books (2018)

Age Rating: 17+

Andy Kaufman and old-school wrestling were a match made in heaven.  Both kept people on their toes, doubting their own eyes and thrilling in the dissonance of not-quite-knowing what was real or make believe.  In an endearingly simple style, Box Brown gives us a love letter to both. This particular story explores an aspect of Kaufman’s career that is likely only partially understood by anyone too young to experience it in real-time; his utter obsession with all things wrestling.

As we are entertained, readers are treated to insights into the profound impact that the wrestling performance style had on Kaufman’s own behavior.  It is at once both revealing and reassuring, showing fans the same old precocious Andy but putting on-display his worship of wrestling greats like Freddie Blassie.

The book’s devotion to revealing the behind-the scenes minutiae involved in Kaufman’s performances becomes its greatest strength and its most prominent flaw.  As a lifelong fan of the comedian’s style, I found my familiarity rewarded with extra bits of understanding.  To someone who is being introduced to the comedian through this book, it might be a little difficult to understand what, exactly, his appeal was.  The static pictures can’t capture the magic, but will hopefully inspire readers to watch his work to see what a truly unique comedic mind can do!

-Thank you, Jason, for this review, and I look forward to featuring your insightful take for the next chunk of days!  Please give Jason a follow on social media @teaching_humans

Happy reading!

Eric

Twitter: @comics_teacher

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