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Haspiel takes on Castro in Lockpez’s bittersweet revolution memoir

If comic books were DVDs, this would be the “making of” extra.

In its latest exhibition, Kentler International Drawing Space takes a behind-the-scenes look at the new graphic novel “Cuba: My Revolution,” a collaboration between illustrator Dean Haspiel and Cuban-American artist Inverna Lockpez about the latter’s life under the Castro regime.

Beginning Oct. 2, the Red Hook gallery will premier drawings made by Lockpez during the 1960s, which, because of their critical nature, were confiscated by Castro’s government and only recently recovered. Those images are paired with original sketches and revisions made by Haspiel, as well as correspondences and pages from “Cuba: My Revolution,” for a rare glimpse into the making of a comic book by one of Brooklyn’s most celebrated illustrators.

“It’s a glimpse into the process behind the graphic novel, but also a chance to contemplate the comic page as an original artwork,” said artist Calvin Reid, who has an essay accompanying the exhibit.

A teenager during late 1950s Cuba, Lockpez believed in Castro’s revolution, enough that she joined the militia as a medic. Her faith failed her, though, when she was imprisoned and tortured after a false accusation of treason.

“Cuba: My Revolution” is a fictionalized account of those years with Haspiel providing the illustrations.

“It is fascinating to see some ideas pursued, then dropped, or changed in inventive ways,” said the exhibition’s curator, Mariella Bisson. “In these raw, immediate sketches, the viewer can feel the artist exploring.”

“Cuba: My Revolution: The Making of the Graphic Novel and Related Drawings” at Kentler International Drawing Space [353 Van Brunt St. between Wolcott and Dikeman streets in Red Hook, (718) 875-2098], Oct. 2-Dec. 12, with an opening day artists’ talk at 4 pm and reception from 5-7 pm. Free. For more info, visit www.kentlergallery.org.

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