:: McQUEEN :: FULL-THROTTLE COOL ::
Steve McQueen: Full-Throttle Cool
Author: Dwight Jon Zimmerman
Artist: Greg Scott
“I’m not sure whether I’m an actor who races or a racer who acts,” said Steve McQueen. Many know “The King of Cool” foremost as both an actor and consummate automotive enthusiast, but certainly fewer know other salient plot points of his life. Author Dwight Zimmerman and artist Greg Scot examine the American icon, charting some of his professional and personal highs and lows In Steve McQueen: Full-Throttle Cool, a biographical graphic novel.
The narrative takes us from McQueen's birth to death, with much ground covered in-between—from early childhood when he was abandoned by his father, through his subsequent estrangement from his mother, and his time living with his maternal grandparents and Uncle Claude. It was during this period when McQueen's Uncle would gift him a red tricycle on the boy's fourth birthday that is said to have sparked his interest in racing. Later, the future superstar, although he wouldn’t know it yet for a little while longer, would join the Marines where he would serve with distinction. Upon being honorably discharged, McQueen would receive his first acting instruction thanks to funding from the G.I. Bill. The story then shifts, at the same time weaving in McQueen’s film career with his second “job” in racing—as well as his often tumultuous personal life. McQueen would die of complications from mesothelioma in 1980, but his body of work in both acting and motorsport still lives on today, and leaves an indelible legacy.
While the illustrations are clean and simple, and set the scenes quite effectively, the book doesn’t always present a complete picture of its subject. Blame that partially on the limitations of the graphic novel format, and the relatively short page-count. Neither does it paint an always rosy view of the man—the McQueen depicted is alternately selfish, arrogant, and often inspired—an uncharacteristically nuanced view, and to the creative team’s great credit. While there are certainly more detailed, and accurate biographies available, Steve McQueen: Full-Throttle Cool is a good introductory graphic novel/biography for motorsports or Steve McQueen fans, as well as readers who might not be as familiar with the man.