Music can have a transportive effect in that it can make you look back at a fond time in your life. Music has the ability to make a positive impact on mental health, but it can also be the undoing of many promising young artists. Such was the case for Kurt Cobain as he ultimately committed suicide. Writer Jeremy Holt is shining a light on Nirvana and mental health struggles with his new graphic novel Skip to the End.
Published by Insight Comics, Skip to the End follows bassist Jonny Wells, who is trying to cope with the death of his best friend. Twenty years after Cobain’s suicide, Wells is a heroin addict and unable to move on from his past. All this changes when he discovers a magical guitar that allows him to travel back in time. Determined to find out why Cobain took his own life, Wells uses the guitar to return to the past. However, when Wells discovers that his trips to the past can’t change the present, he may be too addicted to stop.
I became aware of Skip to the End when a representative of Insight Comics reached out to me after my call for comic and mental health related content. The graphic novel deals with issues of addiction, mental health and suicide awareness, which makes it a relevant story for modern society. Too many people are afraid to talk about their issues, especially men because of the fear of being ‘weak’ or the pressure of ‘manning up.’ Cobain’s suicide became part of the infamous ‘27 Club’ and a more recent example is the tragic passing of DJ Avicii.
By referencing Nirvana and Cobain’s struggles, Holt is highlighting an important topic that needs as much awareness as possible. Holt’s previous work involves Skinned, Southern Dog and Pulp. He’s joined by a talented team of artists, including Alex Diotto, who collaborated with Holt on Southern Dog. Renzo Podesta has provided colour and pencil work, with his art having appeared in the miniseries 27.
Graphic novels like Skip to The End are an essential reminder that it’s okay to talk about your problems and I applaud Holt and the team for their efforts.