Coming along at the same time as the mass production of decent-quality, affordable records, the Carter Family was one of the first pop music acts in American history. It was an odd time to be a popular band; the Carters were selling records around the country, but they still couldn't afford groceries. Their country and gospel music—the burgeoning record industry called it "hillbilly" music—was a precursor to rock and roll.

And so local writer Frank M. Young and local cartoonist David Lasky have produced The Carter Family, a kind of comic book Behind the Music, a biography of a band that achieved a kind of popularity that nobody had ever experienced before. The Carters display early versions of the same weird peccadilloes and tragic personal flaws as the rock stars we apparently can't hear enough about today. (For example, A. P. Carter was always using the family car to lug home enormous sawmill equipment he'd scrounged up while out scouting for new songs to perform.)

The Carter Family doesn't hide the flaws of its protagonists, but it isn't a sleazy tell-all, either...(Keep reading.)