Neil Young’s Greendale (2010)

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So Greendale is a comic book (graphic novel, whatever–I suppose it’s a graphic novel, since there aren’t issue breaks and it’s not a collection) written by a man, illustrated by a man, based on an album by a man… featuring exceptionally strong female characters. They’re kind of nature witches, really. But it’s about the women in this family. Kind of. But the protagonist is definitely a strong female protagonist.

Greendale has a heavy anti-corporate sentiment to it. I haven’t heard the album or seen the subsequent film, so I don’t know if Dysart and Young beefed up the graphic novel as corporatism has, since the album’s release, destroyed the American economy. But that sentiment is a MacGuffin.

The core of Greendale is a family drama. It’s not even a dramatic family drama–Dysart keeps his protagonist hopeful, even as negative events flood the characters’ lives–but it got tears to my eyes, first, as a family drama.

The second time was as the protagonist comes to understand her place in the world and in her family, as a woman. Not as many tears, just some wetness. It’s just really well written and affecting.

I don’t really want to see the movie now–Cliff Chiang made me want to see Greendale this way forever. His style is perfect for capturing the protagonist’s hopefulness, but he’s also able to show the darker sides of the story.

There’s really no room for a sequel, but I wish I could have more.

CREDITS

Writer, Joshua Dysart; artist, Cliff Chiang; colorist, Dave Stewart; letterer, Todd Klein; editors, Pornsak Pichetshote and Karen Berger; publisher, Vertigo.

Ghostdancing 6 (September 1995)

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Ok, I missed the part about the cataclysmic world altering events only taking place in the West and not effecting anything else in America. Apparently, Delano doesn’t like the Huron.

Though there was that great picture of the yachts fleeing Manhattan.

It’s a confused conclusion, really more about the bad guy getting his comeuppance than anything else. I’m not even sure the ostensible lead has a part in the comic past a non-talking, one panel appearance.

He never, for example, gets reunited with his mother, which Delano has been promising since the second issue. Instead, she gets a great finish, but one where it’s now moment important to see meet her son than vice versa.

Instead, Delano goes with a far cuter ending, with the coyote guy getting the final pages.

I assume Delano was leaving the end open for another series.

Ghostdancing isn’t bad, it’s just painfully mediocre.

CREDITS

The Big One; writer, Jamie Delano; artist, Richard Case; colorist, Danny Vozzo; letterer, Todd Klein; editors, Tim Pelcher and Art Young; publisher, Vertigo.

Ghostdancing 5 (August 1995)

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Well, the issue I’ve been dreading, the one where Delano explains all the backstory, here it is. And is it as bad as I’d anticipated? Oh, yeah.

As the American people flock–nude–to the wilderness to become one with the land (it’s an interesting idea, the land of America is magical, whereas the rest of the world maybe not), Delano sticks the reader in a car for the bad guy to give the good guy a lengthy, false history lesson.

Then the good guy meets maybe his dad, who gives him a truer history lesson.

Then there’s a bunch of stuff about how the white man ruined America when they came and colonized. But at least there’s no real illuminati nonsense this issue.

Ghostdancing is, five issues of six completed, a good idea for a comic, but not a good comic. Delano needs lots more space.

Or maybe less.

CREDITS

Fifth Tremor; writer, Jamie Delano; artist, Richard Case; colorist, Danny Vozzo; letterer, Todd Klein; editors, Tim Pelcher and Art Young; publisher, Vertigo.

Ghostdancing 4 (July 1995)

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See, a cliffhanger. The bad guy is getting ready to do something bad and “to be continued.”

It’s an awkward issue, a bridging one, setting up the big conclusion. The comic takes place over a few hours, giving the reader a few pages (at least) with each member of the cast.

Unfortunately, Delano gives one of the illuminati an emphasis too and those pages, no surprise, are the worst in the issue. He just can’t make them work, not with the explanations he’s got in play already. They distract–as does keeping the most interesting thing in the issue (bones reincarnating at a museum and dancing) in dialogue instead of showing it.

After a third issue, it appears Delano has gotten back to his outline for scripting.

I’m still somewhat hopeful for the last two issues, but it’s unfounded.

Oh, and there’s some rather weak art from Case this issue.

CREDITS

Fourth Tremor; writer, Jamie Delano; artist, Richard Case; colorist, Danny Vozzo; letterer, Todd Klein; editors, Tim Pelcher and Art Young; publisher, Vertigo.

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