Author: Joshua Dysart, Neil Young
Artist: Cliff Chiang
Type: Fiction, comic
I read it: September 2011
Neil Young’s 2003 “audio novel” is ripe for exploration in other genres. He already made it into a movie, and now there’s a suitable graphic novel companion. The book plays a good balance between devoted offshoot and original expansion.
Sun Green is the main character, a restless teen becoming angry with her country’s greedy, warring ways. She receives visions of her path while she deals with difficult family members and discovers her adventurous side. Here lies the primary divergence from Young’s album: there’s a bit of the supernatural in the comic. Sun receives guidance from vaguely cliched spirit women, who are all part of the Green family tree. This does allow for some of the best art in the book, and the skeletal deer that haunt Sun are a unique image. There’s also the man in red who resembles Neil Young, intentionally or no. And I believe a version of this devil appeared in the film, so perhaps the story had a supernatural streak from the beginning. Regardless, the comic stands firmly on its own ground and has a satisfying arc with just the right amount of swearing and shouting to make the story real without being overly edgy. And for those who know the songs, it’s fantastic fun to hear Carmichael being called a “credit to the force,” or Grandpa to say it’s no honor nor duty to be on TV (“it’s not my crime”) or to see The Imitators rocking in the local bar. Greendale is one of the best places ever invented by man, and I like that it can be visited by many roads, including this colorful new one.