More than 20 years ago, Jon Lee Anderson set out to disentangle the revolutionary's real history from his legend. The result was the critically acclaimed biography Che: A Revolutionary Life. Now, in partnership with award-winning political cartoonist José Hernández, Anderson has adapted Che into a 421-page illustrated biography ... The sheer amount of artistic labor that's on view in these 421 pages is awe-inspiring. Still, the creators falter when they try to condense complex ideological questions into too few panels ... Even with its problems, though, Che remains a remarkable accomplishment, one that belongs next to such works of graphical history as the March series and Shigeru Mizuki's Showa books. By foregrounding the tension between myth and truth, Che illuminates the present state of our politics as well as the past.
Che: A Revolutionary Life... is a graphic novel adaptation of Jon Lee Anderson’s Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life, and Anderson himself was involved in the production of this book. The art by José Hernández is painterly and beautiful, he does an excellent job of capturing the likenesses of familiar faces like Che himself as well as his comrade Fidel Castro. But the whole book feels more like a series of extremely detailed storyboards than a graphic novel ... The book reads fairly gracefully, but the pacing is awkward and slow.
Hernández paints a portrait of Che as an idealistic leader whose dogmatic faith in socialism created a flawed vision of class warfare, put Fidel Castro in power and led to Che's own tragic downfall ... The snippets of dialogue that Hernández chooses to connect panels feel disconnected and jumpy, but the artwork stuns with cinematic precision and photographic detail ... Scenes of bullets whizzing by Che and his guerilla fighters provide tension and immediacy, while close-ups that focus on the speakers and blur background details lend the narrative a documentary feel. Anderson and Hernández depict a proud and flawed leader who inspired the disenfranchised and whose exploits and early death added to his mythology.