The Apollo Celebrates 85th Birthday With Graphic Novel

Showtime at the Apollo-Publicity-H-2018
James Otis Smith/Abrams ComicArts
The history of the music venue gets a closer look Jan. 8.

2019 marks the 85th anniversary of the opening of Harlem’s legendary Apollo Theater, and Abrams ComicArts has a birthday gift to celebrate: Showtime At The Apollo, a new graphic novel adaptation of Ted Fox’s acclaimed history of the music venue.

Featuring appearances by the likes of B.B. King, George Clinton, Ray Charles, Dinah Washington and James Brown — as can be seen below, in an exclusive preview — the new edition of Showtime not only adapts Fox’s book, originally published in 1983, it expands upon it, bringing the story of the venue up to date, including events as recent as 2018 as it tells the complete story of one of the most iconic venues in the country.

Illustrating the book, adapted by Fox himself, is James Otis Smith, making his graphic novel debut with the project; previously, he’s worked on the children’s book Madunia: Stories of the Ancient Lands and the web comic Gang of Fools, soon to be released in print by Lion Forge Comics.

The preview below relates the creation, and impact, of James Brown’s The Apollo Theater Presents James Brown from 1963, and how it permanently connected the peerless performer with the venue from that point onward.

The hardcover graphic novel, published by Abrams ComicArts, will be released Jan. 8.