One Model Nation (Reissue)
Writer: Courtney Taylor-Taylor; Artist: Jim Rugg
Jan 30, 2012 Web Exclusive
One Model Nation has been re-released by Titan Books, promising some additional art, different publishing treatment (hard cover, new cover art, etc.), some bonus materials, and an intro by a man whose work I cannot get enough of, Mike Allred (Madman, The Atomics, Red Rocket 7, iZombie). It's curious: I thought the original release was okay; this one is definitely a step up. Have I changed, or has the book changed that much? It's a good question that I'm still asking, since my efforts to track down the Image edition of One Model Nation for a cross-compare have been met with failure.
But I know this much to be true: The Dandy Warhols' frontman Courtney Taylor-Taylor is still the author, yet this time out he forgoes the pseudonym he used on the Image version. No secret identities. And Jim Rugg is the artist, yet in this version he does art chores on the beginning and ending framing sequences—done in the original version by Cary Porter (presented here as bonus material). In the original, the switch-up was jarring; with Rugg doing it all, it's much more cohesive.
And let's talk about the foreword. Allred's intro gets the book off on the right foot by providing a bit of context, both for the story and behind the scenes. It's odd, but I'll readily admit it got me in the right frame of mind to digest the book. But maybe more than that, it's just indicative of how the entirety of the packaging and presentation has been changed to better highlight the contents.
So, all the ephemera aside, how good is One Model Nation? Rugg's art is good across the board and in some places excellent in terms of character acting and dramatically posing in-concert performers. A little inconsistency in the characters creeps in, leading to a little confusion, but not the feeling of sameness that the first edition sometimes left me with. It could owe some of that improvement to the color and shading; the art feels more vibrant as well.
The story and some dialog has reportedly been reworked a bit as well, though everything I liked about it the first time around remains: in-concert scenes, fan characterizations, relationships between the band members and other musicians. The basic story follows the members of a German band, One Model Nation, and their interactions and associations with fans, police, and terrorist groups during a time of political unease, a fictionalized Germany of the late '70s. Plot aside, a lot of the dialog is quite introspective and interesting, yet presented in a way that people might actually speak. A few scenes are funny; some are shockingly violent. The overall story is fine, even tense and dramatic in places, but it's what's between the plot points that makes the book worth your time.
Author rating: 7/10
Average reader rating: 7/10