The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story Cover Now what do you get it you mix together four Scousers from Liverpool, a four-color funny, and a really nice chap from New York City who loves you yeah-yeah-yeah? No. You don't get a bohemian bunk-up, silly. What you get instead is a smashing in-depth interview with my mate, Vivek, who created a fabulous opus entitled...

The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story

Times Square 1) What are your own origins, Vivek? Plus what path did you take in life to get to where you are today?   I was born in New York City, my parents were born in Guyana, South America, and their parents were born in India. So I'm a first generation American.

My parents were great lovers of the arts, so ever since I was a little kid they were taking me uptown to Lincoln Center to see opera and ballet, and to Times Square for Broadway shows. And as soon as I was allowed out of the house on my own, I was going to see punk rock shows at CBGB's and the old Ritz, exposed to early Sonic Youth and the like.

So you can safely say I grew up with a wonderfully well-rounded appreciation for the arts.

My grandfather was a visionary entrepreneur and a great influence in my life, and he always told me, "You need to do what you love, and you need to work for yourself". And I loved the arts. So it was always my goal to have my own company, and to work across the artistic disciplines, from graphic novels and pop music, to film, television and Broadway.

So Tiwary Entertainment Group is truly a dream come true.

2) How did ‘The Fifth Beatle’ comic book come about? And how did you meet up with your collaborators?   When I was at 'The Wharton School of Business', dreaming of working in the arts and entertainment fields, I thought I should study the lives of some of the great entertainment visionaries. Thinking that Brian and the Beatles were the team that wrote and rewrote the rules of the pop music business, I thought to study the management of the Beatles.

Shockingly, there is a paltry amount of information available about Brian Epstein -- "The Fifth Beatle" will be the only book (graphic novel or otherwise) in print dedicated to his life -- and so this began a literally lifelong quest to learn as much as I could about his life.

Initially, of course, I was looking for a business blueprint. But it was the human side of his story that truly struck a chord with me -- the obstacles he faced in being gay when it was a felony in the UK, being Jewish at a time of anti-semitism, and being from Liverpool, which at the time was hardly a cultural mecca.

Brian Epstein really was the ultimate outsider, and while I can't claim to have faced the degree of obstacles he faced, as a first generation American of Indian origin making his way in the entertainment industry, I could absolutely relate to his story. I've always called Brian my "historical mentor"-- someone who's life I've sought to learn from, both what to do and what not to do...

"The Fifth Beatle" really is a labor of love.

Nat Weiss
Much of my research into this story was done via interviews -- many with folks like Brian's closest confidante and best friend, Nat Weiss, who sadly passed away last month. So I've accumulated a wealth of knowledge on Brian Epstein that simply isn't available anywhere else, and it's a story that greatly inspired me -- so I felt it should be shared with the world.

As soon as I started brainstorming how I wanted to tell the story, I thought in terms of color palate. The story starts in 1961 Liverpool -- industrial, rainy, drab, very "black and white and grey". It ends in 1967 London -- the birth of the psychedelic era and the summer of love, very "technicolor". So thinking in visual terms like that, the story clearly felt like both a graphic novel and a film. So I set about developing both. 

I was connected to Andrew Robinson through his agent at the time. And Andrew's talent, his ability to convey images in such a painterly fashion, and to both be true to the period while making it his own -- that on top of his ability to creatively collaborative -- well, he is simply perfect and the final product speaks for itself!

Kyle Baker is someone I've known for years, as we are both native New Yorkers. We were first introduced by the wonderfully talented Martha Thomases, who has held all sorts of major positions in the comics industry. Kyle is such an amazing cartoonist, and he grew up with the Beatles, so when I wanted a section that paid tribute to the Beatles cartoons, Kyle was the obvious and perfect choice!

3) What Beatles song would you say best represents this project and why?   I don't think I could pick a single Beatles song to represent this project! But if I had to express the project in songs, I would say the juxtaposition of the Beatles' "All You Need is Love" with Noel Coward's "If Love Were All" might come closest to doing the trick.

Paul McCartney Caricature
4) Out of all the Beatles – either living or dead – which one would you like to promote your comic, and why would you want to choose this particular person?   Paul McCartney famously said "If anyone was 'The Fifth Beatle', it was Brian"-- and he has been very supportive of this project, for which we are extremely grateful! So I'm going with Paul! 

5) What have you learnt about yourself through this endeavour? And were their any unforeseen obstacles you had to contend with along the way?   One of the lessons I learned from Brian is that perseverance, hard work, and determination are king. No record label wanted to sign the Beatles. Ed Sullivan didn't want to book them. No one believed. And yet Brian had a dream that he fought to realize, and the whole world is a better place for it.

6) What can you tell us about the movie based on this project?   I have written the screenplay, and we have secured unprecedented access to Beatles music! We are literally the first and only film in history about the band to have secured that kind of music access. Previous films about the Beatles such as "Nowhere Boy" and "Backbeat" have gone without Beatles songs. I can't discuss specifics and won't drop names, but there are discussions being had right now with exciting potential directors, and cast to follow.

The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story Art
7) In your own words how would you describe this story?   Please click here. I wrote that text, and there is a personal note from me there as well.

8) During your time in this field, what is the one thing that has kept you in good stead?   As mentioned above-- perseverance, hard work, and determination are king.

9) If your comic had a motto, what would it be?   "If anyone was 'The Fifth Beatle', it was Brian" -- Paul McCartney.

So there you have it, folks. 'The Fifth Beatle' and my mate Vivek for you to click on and enjoy in all of their heavenly glory. Also, if you fancy a bit of additional social networking action, please follow this amazing project on facebook and twitter. Go on. Click-Click. It'll be a right blast.

THE FIFTH BEATLE - A TRUE LABOR OF LOVE THE FIFTH BEATLE - A TRUE LABOR OF LOVE Reviewed by David Andrews on September 20, 2013 Rating: 5
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