I think of myself as a non-visual person. I’m too inebriated (in a good way) by words to perceive much else when words are in front of me. Because of that, I don’t think I’ve read a graphic novel since Maus: A Survivor’s Tale, by Art Spiegelman, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1992 with its unusual evoking of the Holocaust through the eyes of a mouse.
Genius, a graphic novel by Steven T. Seagle, a writer, and Teddy Kristiansen, a Danish artist, appealed to me because I think we all need to stretch ourselves. Okay, I need to.
I’d also noted that the story is atheist in perspective. Its atheism is worn very quietly. Only one line about a quarter of the way through the 126-page novel expresses the narrator’s godlessness, and it’s not a spoiler if I quote it: “I’m an atheist—most educated people are.”
From two to about five panels per page tell the story of a man who worries all the time. He’s smart, he’s having trouble coming up with a zinger of an idea to placate his boss, he doesn’t know how to help his wife who may be seriously ill, and he constantly interacts with his cognitively-impaired and irascible father-in-law (to whom Einstein once told a big secret [?]).
The surrealism isn’t what sticks with you about Genius, though. It’s the humanistic, realistic parts, the coming-to-terms with what a life, at its best, can be and mean.
- For more insight into the author’s background, read an interview of Seagle by Patrick Kevin Day here.
Copyright (2013) by Susan K. Perry
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