Golden Boy: Beethoven’s Youth, Ross
Author: Mikael Ross
Translator: Nika Knight
Format: Hardcover, 194 pages
Publisher: Fantagraphics (2022)
Master cartoonist Mikael Ross (The Thud) tells the story of Beethoven from 1778 to his first major public appearance in Vienna in 1795. It begins when the family is living a difficult life in Bonn. Father Johann battles with alcoholism and is deep in debt. Only young Ludwig and his talent at the piano offer any hope for the future — if only he would stop composing his own pieces and just play what’s expected of him.
Mikael Ross was asked to do a small comic for the Beethoven Society. Through this opportunity, he discovered the diaries of the baker’s son that lived downstairs from Beethoven’s family, the content of which inspired Golden Boy. As in his previous book, The Thud, Ross skillfully mixes humor with empathy and pure social drama, crafting a coming-of-age story that transcends its biographical subject matter. His colorful, expressive style and mastery of the language of comics are perfectly suited to the tall task of capturing Beethoven’s timeless music visually.