Neil Young’s Greendale

Neil Young’s Greendale
by Joshua Dysart, Cliff Chiang and Dave Stewart
Vertigo, 2003

A curious book, based on Neil Young’s 2003 concept album, which was also filmed as a rock opera in 2004. It’s very 2003, post-9/11 but pre-recession, so it’s furious about Bush Jr. and the war in Iraq but also still concerned with doing something about the environment. From the same furious background as Green Day’s American Idiot (which has also been turned into a musical) but less punky and more hippie. Like any Marvel/DC product it’s nicely drawn but in no danger of pushing any comic grammar boundaries – that’s not what the Big Two do.

Album -> film -> graphic novel makes a nice change from graphic novel -> film, although it’s not clear why this book has come out seven years after the album. What other albums would make good comics? The only one I can think of offhand would be Attack of the Grey Lantern by Mansun. This enjoyable if  slightly half-arsed concept album from a now-obscure Britpop band was re-released this year in a 3-disc expanded edition, for no obvious reason. The Grey Lantern is a shabby superhero battling with unsavoury characters in an English village, like The Kinks in spandex. Would make a fun comic, because there’s no narrative to speak of, just a bunch of vignettes.


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