Black Francis, Josh Frank & Steven Appleby - The Good Inn
Debut graphic novel from Pixies frontman feels thin and unfinished despite charms
The debut work of fiction by Pixies frontman Black Francis is an illustrated novel based on an unfinished soundtrack to an unmade film about the first ever pornographic movie to feature a narrative. Co-written with Pixies biographer Josh Frank, The Good Inn is based on an idea Francis had for a film (part of the score for which Francis pre-emptively recorded with his fellow Pixies Joey Santiago and David Lovering) set in turn-of-the-last-century France about a shipwrecked soldier who has lots of sex with a farmer's daughter. The illustrations, by Steven Appleby (who also illustrated Pixies' last studio album, Trompe Le Monde), were originally commissioned as a way of creating a storyboard for the as-yet unmade film.
So far, so fascinating. But is The Good Inn any good? Well, yes and no. It's packed with plenty of outré ideas that interweave lost history with an alternative universe, and one can discern some of the Pixies’ songwriter's recurring motifs of eroticism and old Europe. However, the novel is written in screenplay format and as a result it feels thin and unfinished. But perhaps it's meant to.