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Saturday, April 24, 2010

Preview of Greendale Graphic Novel

Greendale Graphic Novel
By Joshua Dysart/Cliff Chiang

For several years now, a Greendale graphic novel has been in the works.

From - Forum Comics & BD - GREENDALE (Neil Young & Joshua Dysart/Cliff Chiang), (French) a few panels have been excerpted.


It's been a CD, a concert/stage play, a film, a book and a DVD. And now 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."

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!

Sun Geen
By Cliff Chiang

From Vertigo | Comics:
Sun's always been different. There's been talk that the women in her family have all had a preternatural communion with nature. And when a Stranger comes to town – a character whose presence causes Greendale to, well, go to hell – she'll find herself on a journey both mystical and mythical. To face the Stranger, she'll unearth the secrets of her family in a political coming-of-age story infused with its own special magic.

Also, here's an An Open Letter to Cliff Chiang by Joshua Dysart.

Pre-order on

More on Greendale: "Neil Young's Avatar" and 2003's Greendale tour.

Thanks Roel at for reconnecting thoughts and actions, Gary "and I fell into a greendale" and Purple Words on a Grey Background!



At 4/24/2010 05:36:00 PM, Anonymous Chris from Québec City said...

The drawings are awesome.The first time i heard Greendale i was disapointed and i think the problem is the production,the sound. I wish Neil could find a way to 'remaster' it like he did for harvest moon and will do for AYP (Toast).

At 4/25/2010 01:30:00 AM, Blogger CCTB said...

Whats with all this cartoon crap, keep the music to memory! Too commercialized!

At 4/25/2010 06:40:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, it seems like the logical next step to me - Neil gets his Greendale message out to a whole new audience who in turn will maybe get turned on to his music. That`s got to be a good thing.

I wouldn`t be surprised if we see a lot more of this type of thing from Neil as he gets older and maybe won`t have the stamina for so much touring.

`Grandpa said to cousin Jed, sittin` on the porch,
I won`t retire but I might retread`.


At 4/25/2010 07:46:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

AWESOME ! Thanks Trash

At 4/25/2010 10:54:00 AM, Anonymous Laslo said...

The drawings look great and I can't wait for the book to be released. While the train set was, perhaps, a bit much, I don't think the graphic novel is a case of "too commercialized". Obviously Neil always intended Greendale to be much more than simply the music and the graphic novel is an excellent extension of the project. Also, I tend to think we won't be seeing this sort of thing again from Neil. Then again, who knows!

At 4/25/2010 03:28:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Each context that the story of Greendale is retold in (album, acoustic concert in Ireland, film, stage show, etc.) fleshes out the idea a little bit more, which gives us the chance to understand it more and more. It sounds like this context will give us a lot of info we don't already have, in a fun way. The more the merrier, I look forward to it. I just hope there will be enough copies printed.

Greg M (A Friend Of Yours)

At 4/25/2010 06:08:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How was Harvest Moon remastered? He put out a live version....Dreamin' Man.I don't recall a re-mastered Harvest Moon. There was re-mastered Harvest.
Greendale sounds good to me, I like the production. Sparse and beautiful. I understand what you mean though, first time I heard Greendale was live, twice, before the album came out. I was thoroughly entertained, I thought it interesting, but strange. After the album came out I listened to it a few times and it really grew on me. Saw the show two more times on the second leg and thought it even better. One of the best Neil albums of the last ten years and just shows that Neil is still capable of greatness and surprise.


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