Sunday, November 1, 2009

Bob Dylan Revisited graphic novel

Bob Dylan Revisited is a new hardcover graphic novel featuring thirteen adaptations of Bob Dylan songs adapted by european cartoonists. Like the anthology collection, Comic Book Tattoo, inspired by or adaptations of Tori Amos songs, Bob Dylan Revisited has a page with the lyrics of the song that precedes the comic adaptation of that song. Of the thirteen cartoonists within this gorgeous volume, I'd only previously heard of Dave McKean, who adapts Desolation Row and Lorenzo Mattotti, who does a surreal version of A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall. All of the artists do excellent interpretations of Dylan songs, with my favorite being Gradimir Smudjaa's adaptation of Hurricane, a powerful song about a boxer.

I wouldn't say that I'm the biggest Bob Dylan fan, but I like a lot of his songs and definitely think he was / is as influential to a lot of musicians as the Beatles were. My weird reservations about Bob Dylan come from my being a huge Neil Young enthusiast. I think that while Neil Young is respected as a musician / songwriter, I think most people see him as being kind of like Dylan's shadow. Increasingly though I've come to realize that I should stop thinking of Dylan / Young in a Thing / Hulk who-is-stronger sense and have come to terms that Neil Young songs (and his voice) just speak to me more on a personal level than the songs (and voice) of Bob Dylan, but that doesn't mean that either of them is better than the other - they're both musical giants.

I wasn't listening to any music while reading Bob Dylan Revisited and wasn't familiar with all of the Dylan songs adapted, but that didn't impair my enjoyment of this book. Dylan's lyrics tell stories unto themselves and I think that as long as you appreciate good short stories and great art, even if you're not a fan of Bob Dylan's music, you'll enjoy and want to share Bob Dylan Revisited with others. I do think though that the next time I read Bob Dylan Revisited, I'll listen to the songs as that will surely give the adaptations another perspective. It probably goes without saying that any fan of Bob Dylan's music will greatly love this book.

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