This week has been kind of crazy. I quit my full-time job to pursue a career in comic book publishing. It's been a little scary, but, luckily, I have really great friends and a supportive wife to see me through it. I also have great books to read and review, so let's get into it.
Now, I normally try to read two graphic novels a week for this column, but this week you'll notice I only read one, The Re(a)d Diary. The truth is that this book by Teddy Kristiansen and Steven T. Seagle is actually two books. You see, it's actually a very funny story of how this graphic novel came to be.
Years ago, Steven T. Seagle and Teddy Kristiansen created It's a Bird, an amazing book about one man confronting his own human frailty while trying to write a comic book about Superman, the least frail character ever. A few years later, Kristiansen sent Seagle a copy of his new French language graphic novel, Le Carnet Rouge. Seagle thought it wa beautiful but he couldn't read a darn word of it. This, however, didn't stop Seagle from crafting a story to go along with its beautiful artwork. Later, Kristiansen worked to actually translate the book to English with Seagle, and now we get to read both books, Kristiansen's original The Red Diary and Seagle's interpretation, The Read Diary.
Both stories have similar themes of loss, regret, and deception, but Seagle's book is a bit more scandalous, with his character's whole life being a series of lies. It's interesting to read Kristiansen's original intention and then see Seagle's skew based solely on the images. It's almost like playing the game telephone and seeing how differently the story changes through another person's perception.
What never changes thoughout is how Kristiansen's absolutely amazing artwork brings both stories to life. His stark lines and limited use of color match both stories perfectly. There is a sense of melancholy that seeps out of every page. The characters are drawn simply but convey a range of intense emotions, and his depiction of war is terrifyingly beautiful.
Each of these books on their own is a wonderful story wrapped in incredible art, but by reading them back to back, it's like reading a correspondence between old friends. There is not just the experience of reading each story but the experience of seeing how a human perspective can alter something into something entirely new and different.
So, this week I read The Re(a)d Diary and you can see my 'To Read' List is actually getting a little light, so I need your help. I need new books to add to my 'To Read' List. So, comment in the section below or send me a tweet to @jasonenright on Twitter and let me know what you've read recently, and what I should be reading next. Until then, keep reading!