Monday, October 19, 2009

I see a Darkness

Cash I See a Darkness (Paperback)
A review of the graphic novel.
by Rheinhard Kleist

224 pages
Self Made Hero

A spare and elegant interpretation of a story anyone likely to read will likely already be familiar with.

The challenge then, for German cartoonist Rheinhard Kleist, is to take the same material from Johnny Cash's autobiography and every other compendium of tributes and oral tradition that the makers of the film dipped into and justify his own versions existence.

But Kleist has produced something wholly unique and beautiful here. His choice of which parts of an iconography almost gospel to Cash adherants and produced a must have for Cash fans and fans of excellent sequential graphic art.

The format is an assured biographic narrative inter-cut with less successful dramatizations of Cash songs with Johnny in the starring roles. Get it for the southern Gothic aesthetic of the depression era segments and the noir prison bar shadows of the mythic concert at Folsom.

Not the dramatic comic strip interpretation of Ghost riders in the Sky.

The art is the real treat here. An evocative mix of intricately delinated and shadowed close ups and almost expressionistic rendering of the backgrounds along with almost cartoonish sequences that mostly manage not to distract from the rest of the book's look.

It's a fine line, but for the most part Kleist walks that line.

Of course there's also this earlier interpretation from Christian Archie publishers Spire:

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