No other graphic novel does a better job of capturing the free-wheeling joy of jazz music than Southwestern Ontario comic creator Scott Chantler’s newly released Bix.
You may know Chantler from his work on historical titles such as Two Generals and Northwest Passage, as well as his fantasy series for the young adult audience, Three Thieves.
Chantler, who calls Stratford home, has a way of imbuing each panel he draws with a special gleam, making it look as though every page is a scene from a black-and-white movie of old.
You likely don’t know the story of doomed musician Leon Bix Beiderbecke, who died in 1931 after a career that was truncated by hard living.
Chantler is upfront about his tale presenting his best interpretation of the trumpet player’s rise and fall. To this day, there are competing legends about the man who was known for his version of Singin’ the Blues.
Speaking of rising and falling, the most interesting part about Bix is the way Chantler’s panels move up and down on the page to represent the rhythm of the jazz music the central character loves to play. By experimenting with panel positioning in this way, Chantler puts himself in the same league as the legendary Jack Kirby and Concrete creator Paul Chadwick.