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A Reader of Fictions: Ghost Riders in the Sky - Johnny Cash

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Ghost Riders in the Sky - Johnny Cash

Johnny Cash: I See a Darkness

Reinhard Kleist
Genre: graphic novels, biography
Pages: 221

Although this biography of Johnny Cash is divided into three sections of years in Cash's life, the graphic novel jumps in time. These jumps can be a bit confusing at times, but, by the end, I was able to put it all together. One of the really neat things Kleist did was to sometimes do a story within a story, where he would go into the plot of the songs for a couple of pages. I thought that was really unique and clever.

Certainly this graphic novel leaves a lot out, but I think Kleist did a great job capturing what Johnny Cash was like. Of course, I haven't read anything about Johnny Cash before (I've only seen the movie Walk the Line). Still, based on all of the awards it raked in, I would imagine that it is true to the soul of the man.

The illustrations, while not my favorite type of art, fit the subject matter perfectly. Cash is a man of grizzled, rough features; of pain and darkness; of complexity. He could not be pictured in a pretty style; this gritty artwork does the job. The only place that I didn't think it worked was in the brief section on his childhood. Kleist does not seem to be able to draw youthful people; everyone in the book looked at least 35, and a hard-living 35 at that.

Now I really want to go listen to some more Johnny Cash songs, as I have very few (and mostly just the super popular ones that he probably got really sick of). It's amazing that he was able to recover from his addiction and escape the omnipresent darkness.

"As the riders loped on by him he heard one call his name
If you want to save your soul from Hell a-riding on our range
Then cowboy change your ways today or with us you will ride
Trying to catch the Devil's herd, across these endless skies "

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