In this biography of Zelda Fitzgerald, readers get a deeply personal look into the life of the famous flapper and wife of F. Scott Fitzgerald. As a famous figure of the Roaring Twenties, Zelda stands out. She flaunted her freedom and repeatedly shocked the conservative Southern society in which she grew up. Although F. Scott Fitzgerald was only one in a string of admirers, he was the one who matched her audacity. Together they took the world by storm, even getting kicked out of the Biltmore Hotel for throwing a huge party during their honeymoon. They embodied the devil-may-care attitude of the 1920s. However, they were plagued by alcoholism, affairs, and mental instability.
Using quotes from notable contemporaries and the Fitzgeralds’ personal letters and diaries, this book feels like an authentic representation of Zelda’s life, her difficult relationship with F. Scott, and the capricious Jazz Age. This is not a feel-good novel, though, as it depicts the self-destructive behavior for which Zelda became known. Constantly fluctuating between passion and jealousy in her relationship with her husband, Zelda was diagnosed as bipolar and then as schizophrenic. She spent a great deal of time in mental institutions later in life. Using her own words from primary sources, the book gives insight into the chaotic mind of Zelda while depicting her history and tumultuous relationships with those around her.
The art is done all in black, white, and blue ink with many details from time period. The background and clothes show off the Roaring Twenties, though I would have liked to see a little more Art Deco. The people often look bizarre with weird, smushed faces and awkward poses. I found myself distracted on a couple occasions, trying to figure out what was meant by some character’s expression.
Despite the odd character depictions, SuperZelda is a good introduction to Zelda Fitzgerald and her over-the-top life. She remains an icon of the Jazz Age, described by F. Scott as “the first flapper.” This book both idolizes her and shows her as she really was, flaws and all. Though many aspects can be depressing, the book quotes Zelda herself, “But somehow I can’t find anything hopeless in having lived.”
SuperZelda: The Graphic Life of Zelda Fitzgerald
by Tiziana Lo Porto
Art by Danielle Marotta
One Peace Books, 2013