GHETTO BROTHER Review Round-Up: “A Comic Origin Story, One About a True Superhero”

 

Ghetto Brother is the true story of Benjy Melendez, son of Puerto-Rican immigrants, who founded, at the end of the 1960s, the notorious Ghetto Brothers gang. From the seemingly bombed-out ravages of his neighborhood, wracked by drugs, poverty, and violence, he managed to extract an incredibly positive energy from this riot ridden era: his multiracial gang promoted peace rather than violence. After initiating a gang truce, the Ghetto Brothers held weekly concerts on the streets or in abandoned buildings, which fostered the emergence of hip-hop. Melendez also began to reclaim his Jewish roots after learning about his family’s dramatic crypto-Jewish background.

Here’s what the critics are saying:

Ghetto Brother is a brisk, compact work highlighting an overlooked, yet pivotal, part of the history of both a genre and a city.”

Rolling Stone

 

“Absorbing—a true testament to the power of faith in goodwill.”

 

“A  gripping story that feels like a history lesson but a lot more than that.”

 

“A fascinating, largely unknown story that’s told in a compelling, unexpected way.”

 

“Matter-of-fact and informative.”

 

“Written by Julian Voloj and illustrated by Claudia Ahlering, Ghetto Brother resists tropes that are common in comics and biographical storytelling for a first person visually guided narrative that gives a personal account of seeing the world change in real time…The universe is cyclical but in hip hop, it starts with Benjy Melendez. Ghetto Brother is it’s comic origin story, one about a true superhero that continues to replay itself, from the inception point to infinity.”

 

 

“An unusual piece of literature in that a medium usually reserved for fantastical tales and superheroes is now being used as a vehicle for the telling of a true story.”

 

“This wonderful book shows us that Jews come in a wide variety of ethnicities.”
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