one of the greatest basketball players of all time who also happens to be one of the largest international marketing figures. This biography hits the high points in his life, from his early frustrations at not making his high school basketball team, to his time in Chapel Hill where he won a national championship, to his two stints with the Chicago Bulls where he eventually won six world titles, to his attempt to break into major league baseball, to his many business successes. It is clear that this book is the work of a fan, and MJ comes off as a larger than life figure, but there are also references to his darker aspects of his life, including his gambling habit, at least one mistress, and the strange circumstances his father's murder.
What I really enjoyed about the book is how it situates the man in his times and context, making some connections to social issues such as race, censorship, shady business practices, poverty, and violence. I think this is especially a good contrast, as Jordan himself has distanced himself and never really publicly voiced his views on such matters. Also, where I think the book really shines are in its depictions of game action. It shows pivotal scenes from all the Bulls' championship runs, and those scenes are simultaneously bright, powerful, and dynamic. Just check out the sequence below:
Saturday Night Live. Would anyone who did not already know what this was get it?
Wilfred Santiago, a graphic artist
currently living in Chicago. He is known in graphic novel circles for his excellent biography 21 - The Story of Roberto Clemente. It seems to me that he excels at telling stories about the athletes who have figured large in his life. He speaks more about his work on the MJ biography in this interview.
Most of the reviews I have read about this book have been positive, though some offer reservations. Michael Bettendorf summed up his review, "Santiago’s drawings and colors bring a unique style into the comics
medium and offers great snapshots into the life of Michael Jordan, but
if you’re expecting a full-fledged biography, you’ll be disappointed." Publishers Weekly commented positively about "a strong, tightly-written narrative that often deftly illustrates social issues of the time." Shea Hennum had much praise about the book, especially because "Wilfred Santiago does a fantastic job of getting me to buy into a subject I have no real interest in."
Michael Jordan: Bull on Parade was published by Fantagraphics, and they have a preview and more information about the book available here. There are a few "bleeped" swear words and some mature situations with infidelity, but I do not think there is anything that a reader in middle school or above could not handle.