Campfire pays tribute to ‘The Beatles’ with its graphic novel

Author: Jason Quinn Illustrator: Lalit Kumar Sharma Publisher: Campfire Age group: All ages Price: Rs 399 Being ‘arguably’ the biggest rock band in the world is something which doesn’t come easily. Behind the stardom there’s the hidden struggle and stories, and encapsulating their journey is Campfire’s graphic novel ‘The Beatles: All Our Yesterdays’. Recently, the Beatles completed 50 years (of being a famous band) and that’s when the idea to pen this graphic novel dawned upon the Campfire team. the BeatlesSays Campfire, director, Girija Jhunjhunwala: “They were icons of the 60s but their music and their struggle is universal and something that transcends time. The book is about the early days of the group; their period of struggle, what made ‘The Beatles’ and that is what we want to bring out in our book. It shows the difficult journey that they had to go through before they could achieve fame. The narrative does not make the journey appear easy or ideal. It shows it as it was — the failures, the success, the sweet and the bitter-sweet moments.” To bring this 152 pages one shot graphic novel to life, eight people (the author, artist and inker duo, editor, colourist, designer, letterer) worked on it over a span of eight months; from the first drawing to getting the printed book copies. “Being a graphic novel the art is animated. The colour palette has been kept realistic. The art style is an amalgamation of different manners of rendition that gives it a unique look. While it is stylised and decorative, it is also relatable and believable,” comments Jhunjhunwala when asked about the art style. “The art focuses more on the essence of the time—the 60s. The incidents are depicted in a manner which captures the core (of the events) without making it appear too complex or burdening the scenes with unnecessary details, thereby keeping the focus on the story of the primary characters — John, Paul, George, Pete, Ringo and Stu.” She further says that though the entire journey of the Beatles’ early days makes for a fascinating read, the part that is really interesting is when they go to Hamburg for the first time. Over there, one witnesses a change in the characters as each one comes into his own. It becomes quite clear that John Lennon is the leader, Hamburg was the group’s trial by fire, and along with that there are some of the band’s skirmishes and John’s crazy antics! Being a biography of sort, collecting data and giving justice to the band’s journey with authentic information is an absolute necessity. The Campfire team sourced this information from various founts; credible and validated accounts of the band members’ lives, biographies, newspaper articles, archival photographs and artworks created by people who were closely associated with the band, style catalogues of the 60s and 50s, old magazine covers, films, documentaries and so on and so forth. Based in the fifties and sixties era, the biggest challenge while coming up with this novel was recreating the essence of that period. “From clothes to hairstyles to buildings and interiors — a lot of work has gone into recreating the pertinent time period. Pre-1961 the Beatles without their trademark pudding – basin haircut do not really resemble the iconic image that is popular in media. Hence, it was a bit of a challenge for the artist to capture the essence of each face without its trademark characteristics and yet make them believable,” reveals Jhunjhunwala. The Beatles being an evergreen music group, have fans across generations. A confident Jhunjhunwala says, “Any young, creative individual struggling to make their mark today — whatever field — will be able to relate to them and for the generation that grew up on their music it will be a trip down memory lane.” The comic book got launched at Hyderabad Comic Con 2016 and Campfire hopes to reach out to as many music and comic fans as possible. The Beatles: All Our Yesterdays would be available in eBook format at a later date.