[Comic Book Review] Z2 Comics’ CHASIN’ THE BIRD: Charlie Parker in California

PopCultHQ received an advance review copy of CHASIN’ THE BIRD: Charlie Parker in California from Z2 Comics. Available now, the creative team for this issue features writing from Dave Chisholm, art from Dave Chisholm, colors by Peter Markowski, and lettering from Dave Chisholm.

Here is PopCultHQ’s Spoiler-Free Review of…

CHASIN’ THE BIRD: Charlie Parker in California

Writer: Dave Chisholm
Artist: Dave Chisholm
Colorist: Peter Markowski
Letterer: Dave Chisholm

Cover by Dave Chisholm

Charlie “Bird” Parker and Dizzy Gillespie brought frenetic sounds of bebop from the East Coast jazz underground to the West Coast for a two-month residency at Billy Berg’s Hollywood jazz club in 1945. This marked the beginning of a tumultuous two year-stint for Bird bumming around L.A., showing up at jam sessions, crashing on people’s couches, causing havoc in public places, and recording some of his most groundbreaking tracks, “A Night in Tunisia” and “Ornithology.” Chasing the Bird explores Bird’s relationship with the people he met encountered during his L.A. sojourn and those found themselves in the orbit of the jazz genius.


Spoiler-Free Review 3

PopCultHQ’s Comic Book Review:
CHASIN’ THE BIRD: Charlie Parker in California

Charlie “Bird” Parker. One of the greatest sax players and jazz artists ever to jam. Complicated, brilliant, driven. Someone who lived for the music as much as anyone could. And now jazz lovers and graphic novel devotees can dive into the lives of those who were caught in the wake of his two-month stint in L.A. Get ready to fly, because with Charlie Parker, it’s a wild ride.

Writing: Some people can write about music and write comics, but it’s often hard to intertwine the two in a way that truly works. To be able to craft a tale about a man like Bird through a visual medium like comics – that takes a gift. Dave Chisholm has that gift. His love of music reverberates throughout the writing. Just as much as his clear love of comics allows this story to flow in a beautiful and profound way. There is nothing halting or confusing about the narrative, nor does the depiction of Bird alter based on his encounters with different L.A. natives. From start to finish, Bird is Bird.

Art: Dave’s artwork is absolutely gorgeous to look at. L.A. and its people come to life through Dave’s art, as does the music of Bird. Which may sound crazy, but the notes that flow from Bird’s sax, if a person loves jazz and loves Charlie’s work, then they hear his music through those illustrated notes. Just as much as they see the different people that are touched by this colossus of jazz. There is something wonderful about art that conveys such depth, and Dave’s art does it in spades.

Colors: Color is something that readers depend on a lot when it comes to comics and graphic novels. Color, or in other cases the absence of it, can either elevate or take away from a story. Peter’s color not only meshes well with Dave’s art and script, it shoots up to the moon. Like a combo whose trumpeter or pianist jacks a song and takes it in a whole new direction. Peter and his perfect palate of color swing everything around and still bring it back down to Earth.

Letters: Letters are a vital component of comics. A comic can have great story, great art, great color. But if its lettering falls flat, then the whole story is a waste. Dave, having taken on the story and art tasks, steps up to deliver perfectly profound lettering. There is a beating heart that resides within ‘Chasin’ the Bird’ and the lettering aids in bringing its rhythm out in force. Something readers will note is whenever the word ‘Breath’ shows up, it quite literally feels as if one must take a breath to prepare for what comes next. Not only does that help heighten the tension and excitement, it works as a transitional device. A very clever and brilliant tactic by Dave in his lettering duties.

PopCultHQ’s overall assessment:

Jazz is one of the most enduring and powerful forms of music to spring up in the last two centuries. It has survived changing tastes, cultural upheavals, and given the world a vast array of unforgettable artists and songs. Charlie “Bird” Parker was one of the greats. His sound and style helped change the genre, and the impact of that sound touched the lives of everyone who met him. This graphic novel is one hearty and deep look at the man, the music, and the people he met in L.A. A must read for any hep cats or funny-book fans.

PopCultHQ’s Rating:

5 Out of 5 Stars

Purchase CHASIN’ THE BIRD: Charlie Parker in California online:

Buy Direct from Z2 Comics!


Be sure to follow the creative team!

Writer/Artist – Dave Chisolm

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Colorist – Peter Markowski

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Follow Z2 Comics:

Z2 is the premier destination for top quality music-based comics and graphic novels, having worked across genres to deliver an authentic experience to diverse audiences.

Some of the publisher’s best-selling books include Apocrypha: The Legend of BABYMETAL, YUNGBLUD Presents: The Twisted tales of the Ritalin Club and Eden: A Skillet Graphic Novel, alongside debut works of graphic fiction by Dan Auerbach (The Black Keys), Andy Biersack (Black Veil Brides), DJ Paul Oakenfold, internet sensation Poppy, jazz trumpeter Dave Chisholm and others. Z2’s upcoming works include books created with partnership with The Grateful Dead, Sturgill Simpson and others.

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