First Family: The Kennedys
By Neal Bailey and Bret Sprecher
Published by Bluewater comics

Ted Kennedy

The ‘Ted Kennedy Story’ is a very good example of how a biographical piece can be interesting and informative in a comic book format. The pacing of the narrative is perfect and the information presented it not too heavy as to cause an information overload. The way the narration blends with events helps to create a sense of endearing approach for the reader. Being a European citizen, I did not know a lot about the Kennedys, but through this comic book, I got enough information to respect what these people did for the American people.

The art style complements the story in a relaxed manner. The artists are not trying to make realistic scenes, but instead, just give us an idea of crucial events that are important for the narration. The over head depictions of certain characters is a nice touch, especially during the end of the story, as we are informed of Ted’s death at the same time of the characters of the story. I particularly like the spacing and the planning of the panels; with an average of four panels per page, the story moves swiftly and it does not crowd the reader’s senses. I feel it very difficult to read comics that have a lot of dialogue crammed into speech bubbles which in turn are crammed into several panels per page. Thankfully, this comic does not do that and the clear narration combined with the clear art style gives the reader the impression of reading the entire comic in a flash.

I highly recommend comics like these as they are instructional and entertaining. Schools should make use of such comics more often and support the companies that do. This will encourage the company to look at other figures to include in their series of comics. In the end, it results in a win-win for all.

Caroline Kennedy

Another great short biography with a twist. Half-way through the actual biography, the author confronts us with an honest conundrum. Since Caroline wanted her privacy, after what she has been through, the author asks if we, as the comic book readers, and him, as the comic book writer, is also invading her privacy. It is an interesting question that puts the reader in the same level as the author and one with no easy answer. However, being a public figure and a person that did great things in her life, she deserves to be recorded in history as such. The comic switches from narration to the authors actions quite naturally and I have enjoyed reading it. This is a comic book with a biography and a message. A clever use of a narrative structure with something that was really unexpected. Nonetheless, it was a welcome surprise as it got me more interested in the actual thoughts of the author, not only his narration and research on Caroline Kennedy.

Again, the art in this book complements the story so well that when the book finishes, you keep hoping that it continues. In a way it does continue, but in another biography of another public figure. After all, this is a history comic so the stories can never really end.

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