Book Review: Summertime Blues

Gonna raise a fuss, gonna raise a holler: rock & roll books

Summertime Blues

Neil Young's 'Greendale'

by Joshua Dysart and Cliff Chiang
Vertigo, 160 pp., $19.99

Greendale is Neil Young's most fully realized commercial failure. Set in a pastoral Southern California town at the height of Bush's reign of terror, the 2003 concept album details the fictional Green family and its various struggles against modernity and corporate monopolies through a convoluted song cycle that's akin to reading a Choose Your Own Adventure book from start to finish. Greendale was adapted to the big screen as a grainy Super-8 film directed by the Canadian songwriter under his alias Bernard Shakey and staged as a theatrical production by Dallas' Undermain Theatre in 2008. Now, Vertigo comics takes a stab at the work, with Human Target illustrator Cliff Chiang fleshing out the story in hard-lined black and white. The imagery's quite remarkable, and writer Joshua Dysart (Unknown Soldier) keenly shifts the focus of the story to Sun Green, a young political activist with an inexplicable, preternatural connection to nature, but there's simply no way to save or make sense of the script, even with the inclusion of the Green family tree. Still, you have to applaud such an earnest and artfully rendered attempt at polishing a turd.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

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