Liverpool, England 1961
It’s dreary, rainy and cold. You’re still sore from the beating you took simply because you’re different, gay and Jewish. It’s even against the law to be gay. You risk going to jail just because of who you are. Then you wander into a small club, four young boys are on stage, their music takes you away, fills you with hope and love…and a dream. The dream of spreading that message of love so perhaps one day, if enough people hear it, you won’t be so lonely anymore.
That’s the inspiring, against-all-odds story of Brian Epstein brought to light, for perhaps the first time ever in book form, graphic novel or otherwise by writer Vivek J. Tiwari and artist Andrew C. Robinson with Kyle Baker.
Brian’s story has been inspiring Vivek for half of his life. Twenty-one years ago while at Wharton School of Business, Vivek was studying…well, business and looking for successful people to emulate. Why not look at the manager of the most successful band in the universe? However, he found out that there was not a whole heck of a lot of books or material on Epstein. This was twenty-one years ago, the stone age before there was Wikipedia, what was he to do?
To see what he did, go to Alternative Mindz for my interview with Vivek at New York Comic Con 2013.
As for the comic book itself, it is not a dry, factual retelling of Beatles history but rather, as its known in the vernacular of adaptations, inspired by the life of Epstein. It is epic, funny, and beautiful to look at. Robinson’s artwork, which he produces with watercolors makes each page take on the aesthetic and mood of the 60’s. As soon as I opened up the book it brought to mind Mad Magazine, specifically Mort Drucker. That’s not meant to be insulting, Mad had some of the greatest artists of the industry working for them.
Besides, Robinson cites him as a major influence in the artist’s notes in the back ad of the book, so there.
Robinson should be proud, his four-year labor of love pays off beautifully!
Further on in the book Kyle Baker contributes a whimsical adventure of the Beatles in the Philippines. Somehow he was able to convey what seems like a hyper kinetic animated interlude in the book!
Vivek’s writing is well paced and captures the feel and whimsy of the Beatles without losing the humanity behind it. Vivek sprinkles the story with interesting characters, whether they be real or imagined. The dialogue is sharp and snappy and he captures the Beatles personalities accurately, at least to my casual fanaticism regarding the Beatles. Had he decided to do a book on the sixth One Direction-er, I would have spotted any shenanigans!
Speaking of shenanigans, this makes a great gift not just for Beatles fans but also for fans of just great storytelling. Just as a heads up, there is strong language (a few f-bombs here and there but used tastefully), sexual situations (there is one scene of Brian and a lover but all naughty bits are covered) and drug abuse (which is an actual plot point and not glorified) so if any of that is your concern, keep it in mind when purchasing for yourself or for others.
The Fifth Beatle is a fantastic, touching and great read. There’s a strong message that is being delivered without being preachy but it has to be delivered. We’ve come a long way in regards to equality but there’s still a lot if work to do. The Beatles’ message of love still rings true and loud 50 years later, you just have to add your voice to it. Vivek and Robinson have and its…fab!
The standard hardcover edition will be available for $19.99 in an over-sized library format. A collector’s-edition hardcover of this groundbreaking graphic novel will also be available, featuring a wraparound, textured cover and a section of bonus materials including Beatles and Brian Epstein memorabilia, artist sketches, and alternate covers, for $49.99.
The limited edition (1,500 copies) features a tip-in sheet signed by creators Vivek J. Tiwary, Andrew C. Robinson, and Kyle Baker, along with a twenty-four-page bonus section including rare Beatles and Brian Epstein memorabilia and behind-the-scenes sketches, a unique, textured cover, and a special slipcase, for $99.99. It’s also available through Dark Horse Digital for $14.99 (app available on Google Play & App Store).
Take a moment to check out and follow all the Fifth Beatle news on:
Twitter: (The Fifth Beatle) @fifthbeatle, (Vivek J. Tiwary) @VivekJTiwary, (Andrew C. Robinson) @spacejunkees
On the Web: http://thefifthbeatle.com/
The Fifth Beatle
Writer: Vivek J. Tiwary
Pencillers: Andrew C. Robinson, Kyle Baker
Inkers: Andrew C. Robinson, Kyle Baker
Colorists: Andrew C. Robinson, Kyle Baker
Letterer: Steve Dutro
Cover Artist: Andrew C. Robinson
On Sale: November 20, 2013
Publisher: Dark Horse
Diamond Id: JUL130016
Format: HARD COVER
ABOUT VIVEK J. TIWARY
Vivek J. Tiwary is an award-winning producer, writer, and financier for film, television, theater, music, and graphic novels. He is the producer and writer of “The Fifth Beatle,” a feature film and graphic novel based on the life of Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein. “The Fifth Beatle” has secured unprecedented access to Beatles’ music and is in development to shoot in 2013. In television, Vivek sold a sitcom pilot “Punk Rock Dad” to CBS, based on the bestselling memoir/parenting manual by Pennywise lead singer Jim Lindberg, and he is developing a number of additional series including “Ascension,” a historical fiction / thriller juxtaposing the history of astronomy with mankind’s future in the stars. On Broadway, Vivek’s productions have won a combined 25 Tony Awards from 44 Tony nominations—every single one of his shows have been decorated. They include “The Addams Family,” Green Day’s “American Idiot” (the groundbreaking adaptation of the superstar rock band’s multi-platinum album), Mel Brooks’ “The Producers” (the most Tony Awards ever) and “Young Frankenstein”, “A Raisin In The Sun” (starring Sean Combs), and “A Little Night Music” (starring Catherine Zeta-Jones and Angela Lansbury). Off-Broadway, Vivek produced a theatrical collaboration between electropop/performance artists Fischerspooner and avant-garde theatre collective The Wooster Group (founded by Willem Dafoe, Spalding Gray, and others) that launched the 2008 Sao Paulo Art Bienal. Vivek also serves on the Board of Directors for Valiant Entertainment (www.valiantentertainment.com), a multi-platform company that boasts the third largest and most-loved universe of comic book characters and has been hailed by the New York Times as “Marvel 2.0”. Prior to founding Tiwary Entertainment Group (www.tiwaryent.com) and online music education/empowerment company StarPolish, Vivek held a number of major label music-industry positions, including launching and heading the Alternative Marketing Department at Mercury/PolyGram Records, and managing Video Promotion for Mercury/PolyGram, where he worked closely with MTV and VH1. Vivek has worked with artists covering the entire musical spectrum including Bruce Springsteen, Shania Twain, Bon Jovi, Pearl Jam, Kiss, LL Cool J, John Mellencamp, Allen Ginsberg, Oasis, Hanson, 311 and The Mighty Mighty BossTones to name but a few. Among many charitable pursuits, Vivek is the Co-Founder of Musicians On Call (www.musiciansoncall), a nonprofit organization that uses music and entertainment to complement the healing process. He is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of both the Wharton School of Business and the University of Pennsylvania’s College of Arts and Sciences. Vivek also holds a filmmaking certificate from The New York Film Academy and is an acting student of Susan Batson/Black Nexxus Acting Studio.
ABOUT DARK HORSE COMICS
Founded in 1986 by Mike Richardson, Dark Horse Comics has proven to be a solid example of how integrity and innovation can help broaden a unique storytelling medium and establish a small, homegrown company as an industry giant. The company is known for the progressive and creator-friendly atmosphere it provides for writers and artists. In addition to publishing comics from top talent such as Frank Miller, Mike Mignola, Neil Gaiman, Brian Wood, Gerard Way, Felicia Day, and Guillermo del Toro, and comics legends such as Will Eisner, Neal Adams, and Jim Steranko, Dark Horse has developed its own successful properties, including The Mask, Ghost, Timecop, and SpyBoy. Its successful line of comics and products based on popular properties includes Star Wars, Mass Effect, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Aliens, Conan, Emily the Strange, Tim Burton’s Tragic Toys for Girls and Boys, Serenity, and Domo. Today Dark Horse Comics is the largest independent comic book publisher in the US and is recognized as one of the world’s leading publishers of both creator-owned content and licensed comics material.