The friendship between jazz legend Thelonious Monk and jazz patron Baroness Kathleen Annie Pannonica de Koenigswarter is a remarkable true story of how people from dramatically different backgrounds and social statuses can find a connection in a mutual appreciation of art. Their relationship is at the center of Youssef Daoudi’s Monk, a new graphic novel from First Second that details Monk and Nica’s story in sumptuous black-and-white artwork.

The English-language debut of French artist Daoudi, Monk is a striking introduction to a bold talent, and these exclusive preview pages spotlight his talent for creating an engrossing environment and capturing the likenesses of his two leads. “When I was 18, I would draw while listening to Monk for hours.,” Daoudi says. “He was such an inspiration for me. When I knew about Nica, I was immediately obsessed by the project and images dawned on me with all the roaring and banging of that legendary era. I have a lot of fun writing every line, drawing every stroke, in an attempt to catch the musicality of this beautiful story.”

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“What I love about jazz is its unique and powerful combination of discipline and freedom, melody and improvisation, harmony and creative dissonance, tradition and revolution,” Daoudi says. “I think that the bond between Nica and Thelonious represents somehow the spirit of that music.” Readers can learn more about that bond when Monk is released in fall of 2017, but in the meanwhile, check out this Gateways To Geekery on Thelonious Monk to learn more about the seminal jazz musician.

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