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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Greendale Goes Graphic

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It's been a CD, a concert/stage play, a film, a book and a DVD. Now comes word that Greendale will become a graphic novel -- a fancy name for a comic book.

According to Publishers Weekly, Vertigo Publishing executive editor Karen Berger said:
"I met Neil about year ago. He approached us. He loves comics and he’s been following all the attention for graphic novels that’s going on. The book will reflect Young’s activist bent, much like the rest of his creative work. It’s his baby, and he’ll have a big hand in producing the book and promoting it later on."


Acclaimed artist graphic author Josh Dysart and artist Sean Murphy will be bringing Greendale into its next incarnation. Here's an interview with Josh Dysart on the project on NEWSARAMA.COM:
Newsarama: Changing gears - tell us about your graphic novel project involving Neil Young's Greendale album from 2003 - your project actually takes place in this fictional town created by Young, correct?

JD: Yes. It takes place on the eve of the invasion of Iraq and it's the story of a young high school girl on the road to finding her inner-activist in a small fictional town set in northern California. Two truly incredible things are about to take place in this town: one is that a visitor of supernatural proportions is arriving to shake things down to their very foundations. The other is that our protagonist is about to discover something miraculous about herself and all the women in her family.

Unlike the Unknown Soldier, there will be nothing ambiguous about the politics of this book at all. Everyone knows Neil Young is left of Lennon and I'm looking forward to being unapologetically leftist right along with him. The book will be anti-war and pro-planet. It will be humanist and righteous and fun and sad and hopeful-assuming I don't screw it up.

NRAMA: Is Neil Young directly or indirectly involved with this project? Do you have his endorsement?

JD: Absolutely. He is directly involved. I pitched him my take. We got notes back from him. I even met his whole family-his son and daughter, his wife, and of course, the man himself. (Crosby, Stills and Nash were also there, but now I'm just namedropping… heh). He's a wonderful, wonderful person-when I met him it felt like he'd been in my life forever; which, through his music, I guess he has.

NRAMA: Will there be characters from Young's album/ film involved in your project?

JD: Yup, characters and situations but there's a story-telling element in the Greendale art book that didn't really make it into the film or the album. So, that's what I've focused on for the graphic novel. We're not just stringing the stories from the album together. It will be very different from the previous incarnations of the material. A little bit traditional Vertigo, a little bit Dysart, a whole lot Greendale.

NRAMA: Which songs from Greendale resonated with you the most?

JD: The album is, to a large degree, a story; so, it's hard to pick out favorites and separate them from their role in whole piece. The sort of meta-sensibility of the first song, "Falling From Above", is very engaging. "Devil's Sidewalk" personifies the crunchy, clumsy, marching, majestic attitude and sound of the whole album. "Leave the Driving" is probably the best example of storytelling, especially when it juxtaposes the actions of Jed-actions that will destroy his whole life-with the larger observation of global paranoia in the second half of the song. I dig that humming punk rock rattle of an E in the otherwise slow ballad "Bandit"; which, out of context is probably my favorite song on the album. "Grandpa's Interview" has my favorite scene in the whole story. Grandpa's rage at the television crews sort of becomes a huge tirade against this sense of misplaced obligation we feel towards the media machine. "Sun Green" is an epic piece of music, and a success if only for this one line, "Hey Mister Clean, you're dirty now too!" You can bet that will find its way into the book. That's almost the whole album, huh? I should stop.

NRAMA: Young's Greendale film has been critically compared to Raymond Carver and Sherwood Anderson-both of whom are very important short story writers in American literature; does this create artistic pressure for you personally?

JD: Well, I'm certainly not going to sit around and worry about achieving Carver levels of craft and spirit in my writing-that would just throw me into artistic paralysis. Yes, there is a great deal of artistic pressure. It comes from working with Neil though-from wanting to reach him and his fans. I don't think about competing with Carver or Anderson, thank God!

More on 2003's Greendale tour.

Thanks David and Marty! And thanks to Michael for correction!


4 Comments:

At 8/06/2007 09:45:00 AM, Anonymous Michael C Lorah said...

As a fan of Neil and comics (regular reader here, regular contributing writer at the linked Newsarama), I'm pretty jazzed about the Greendale graphic novel.

To clarify, Joshua Dysart is WRITING the script for the graphic novel. I believe at artist named Sean Murphy (according to the PW link) is handling the illustrations.

Though it would be great is James Mazzeo were involved in the art in some way!

Examples of Sean Murphy's artwork can be seen here: http://www.seangordonmurphy.com/

 
At 8/06/2007 07:01:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Neil being described as "left of Lennon" brought a smile to my face.

 
At 8/09/2007 09:14:00 AM, Blogger Book'em Productions said...

"...(Crosby, Stills and Nash were also there, but now I'm just namedropping… heh).....". Man, I really hate you Dysart! ;)

 
At 8/10/2007 07:51:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This better not be the reason the archives have been delayed further. I'm sorry but a comic book version of greendale just aint worth the effort when the archives are being put on the backburner.

 

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