• Review
By – September 29, 2020

Mar­vin, a graph­ic nov­el adapt­ed and illus­trat­ed by Ian David Mars­den based on The Way I Was by Mar­vin Ham­lisch, tells the sto­ry of Ham­lisch, a famous film com­pos­er, through a Jew­ish lens. A large por­tion of the graph­ic nov­el fol­lows Mar­v­in’s par­ents in flash­backs as they escape Nazi Ger­many to come to Amer­i­ca, where Mar­vin him­self is born. Explor­ing his par­ents’ sto­ry allows for a greater under­stand­ing of his Jew­ish her­itage and what his par­ents had to do to sur­vive Nazi Germany.

The book shines when it show­cas­es Mar­v­in’s suc­cess­es. Once he starts to make it as a com­pos­er, he nar­rates the sto­ries behind some of his biggest tri­umphs, such as his break­out score for The Swim­mer,” and his Gold­en Globe Win­ning song for Kotch.” The graph­ic nov­el illus­trates his writ­ing process, often uti­liz­ing some of the skills he learned from his edu­ca­tion at Jul­liard, detailed at the begin­ning of the book. Mars­den includes celebri­ty cameos and behind the scenes looks at Hol­ly­wood which add sparkle and recog­ni­tion to the story.

Mars­den’s art style invites in all graph­ic nov­el read­ers. The car­toon­ish yet vivid faces of the char­ac­ters are warm and friend­ly, and make Mar­v­in’s sto­ry feel famil­iar and acces­si­ble. Mar­vin is a fun read for any film fan who wants to learn about musi­cal scores, iron­i­cal­ly one of the medi­um’s most unsung aspects.

Richard C. Kraus is a stu­dent at Sarah Lawrence Col­lege where he stud­ies writ­ing, film and the­atre and serves on the board of his college’s Hil­lel. A fan of tele­vi­sion, film, com­ic books and pop-cul­ture, he writes for www​.what​cul​ture​.com.

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