Che : a graphic biography

By Spain Rodriguez ; edited by Paul Buhle

Place: Publisher,Year: New York : Verso, 2008

Genres: Non-fiction, biography, history

Format: Graphic novel

ISBN: 1844671682

Intended audience: Adult

Number of pages: 106

Setting: Argentina, Peru, Mexico, Cuba, Congo, and Bolivia

Time period: 1928 – 1967 and beyond

Plot summary: The story of Ernesto “Che” Guevara’s life and death is presented in a graphic novel format.  The story begins with Ernesto’s birth in 1928 in Rosario, Argentina and gives the reader some background on both Ernesto’s family and Argentinian history.  The story then follows Che’s life as he journeys across South America on a motorcycle with his friend Alberto, finishes medical school, and then begins his life’s work as a revolutionary.

Appeal Factors:

Pacing – A fast pace is maintained throughout the story by highlighting exciting parts of Che’s life.  The book is end oriented, except that an ending essay delves into graphic images of Che and how his image continues to be used in contemporary times.

Characterization – The story is told in third person and focuses upon Che.  The most important secondary character is Fidel Castro.

Frame – The opening page sets the background for the rest of the book; it shows two people walking down a street where pictures of Che are visible everywhere.  One guy comments that he keeps seeing Che’s face everywhere.  The black and white drawings not only tell the story of Che’s life, they also tell a more subtle story about Che as a symbol.

Story Line – This is a serious story about one man’s quest for ridding the world of imperialism and uniting Latin America.  While he may have failed individually this quest, he certainly set the stage for envisioning and claiming a better future for many disadvantaged people around the world.  He also helped to create a sovereign nation in Latin America that offers health care to everyone in the country for free.  “Today Cuba is the only country in Latin America without malnutrition” (p. 100).

Subject Headings:

From PCPL:
Guevara, Ernesto, 1928-1967 — Comic books, strips, etc.
Revolutionaries — Latin America — Biography — Comic books, strips, etc.
Guerrillas — Latin America — Biography — Comic books, strips, etc.
Revolutionaries — Cuba — Biography — Comic books, strips, etc.

Similar authors:

From Amazon:

(frequently bought together):
Students for a Democratic Society: A Graphic History by Harvey Pekar
Malcolm X: A Graphic Biography by Andrew Helfer

(customers who bought this item also bought):
J. Edgar Hoover: A Graphic Biography by Rick Geary
Dangerous Woman: The Graphic Biography of Emma Goldman by Sharon Rudahl
A People’s History of American Empire by Howard Zinn
Wild Thorns (Interlink World Fiction) by Sahar Khalifeh
The Origins of the Cuban Revolution Reconsidered by Samuel Farber
The Conscience of a Liberal by Paul Krugman
Arab in America by Toufic El Rassi

Other Info: This book was not listed in NoveList when I searched for it.

Includes an essay “Che Guevara, Image and Reality” by Susan Seidman and Paul Buhle (p. 101-6) which examines how Che’s image has been used since his death.

Personal Notes: [Annotated 2/12/09]

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