During the last podcast we talked about the release this month of the graphic novel…(no, that’s not quite right…graphic album? illustrated interpretation?)…of an CD’s worth of Bob Dylan songs.
Thirteen graphic artists from around the world were assembled to create the large-size Bob Dylan Revisited. Each “chapter” is a song in graphic form, and each one is different from the last in often remarkable ways. Often the story is presented like a mini comic book, with the lyrics of the song acting as the narration of the story (“A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall”, “I Want You”, among others) and sometimes the song is just the foundation for some more free-form and often stunning illustrations (“Desolation Row”, “Like a Rolling Stone”, among others).
My favorite is probably the most straight-forward story in compilation, “Hurricane”, based on the true story of black boxer, Rubin Carter, tried and convicted of a murder he didn’t commit. I also liked “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” which is uncharacteristically shy on lyrics, but is expertly translated as the end of a deadly shootout scene from an old Western flick.
None of the Sci-Guys are particularly Dylan fans, so it is hard for me or any of us to say Bob Dylan Revisited would be a great read as simply comic and graphic novel fans. However, for Bob Dylan fans this is a great way to look at two handfuls of Dylan songs in a whole new way.
Timing on this release isn’t rocket science. This will make a prefect present for Dylan fans who “have it all” and at $24.95 it is far from over-priced (and you can surely find it cheaper at certain online retailers).
What I got most out of this was the idea of how cool it would be if this were to become a series of books covering a variety of artists. Bob Dylan is certainly considered the seminal storyteller, but other artists like Bruce Springsteen, Metallica and even Jay-Z and the Beastie Boys might be other candidates for books like this.
Bob Dylan Revisited is an experiment that succeeds in both originality and, more importantly, execution. We hope it continues with some more of Sci-Guy favorite musicians.