I have not written in months. Or rather, I have not written anything of much consequence. I’ve written for my day job, and I’ve posted here. But my personal work, the stories I must ply from my heart and mind, have largely sat untouched.
While reading Blue In Green, I figured out why I have not lately touched my personal work. It is because consequential work, work of the type I would like to produce, demands effort and sacrifice. It demands a level of commitment I cannot currently achieve. Hovering in a liminal state during perhaps the most liminal month of my most liminal year, it is taking most everything I have to continue being a partner, a friend, an employee, a son, and a brother. I cannot be a writer, too.
So I understood exactly how Erik Dieter felt when the pale man offered him a choice in New York City. Dieter simply wanted to cut through life’s bullshit, while he was still young and alive, and create something that felt real. Something that felt great.
It is ironic that, where Erik Dieter failed, Blue In Green succeeds. Ram V, Anand RK, John Pearson, Aditya Bidikar, and Tom Muller have created something great, while commenting on the very act of artistic creation.
Everything About Blue In Green Feels Like Jazz Music
While most every comic is a collaboration, Blue In Green works as well as it does only because its collaborators are completely in sync with one another. Each knows when to hold rhythm and produce a steady beat, so others on their team can shine, and when it is their time to cut loose and play their solo. There are pages that work as well as they do only because of Anand RK’s Sienkiewicz-like constructions, which follow certain rules yet still bend the world:
And there are pages that work only as well as they do because of John Pearson’s beguiling colors:
Then, there is Aditya Bidikar’s lettering, which is tense and tight throughout the book, but sometimes snaps in such a way as to detach the reader from reality:
Underneath it all is Ram V’s narrative, a story about a man who is grieving not only his mother, but himself. Erik Dieter is a man who is more worried about being dead and having accomplished nothing than he is of dying. His search, for both a narrative he fits into as well as a greatness he can achieve before he dies, is what drives Blue In Green.
If Erik’s story is a jazz piece, then Ram V’s narrative is its base (and yes, its bass). Each of Blue In Green‘s additional artists builds upon that base, and while their methods are different, their intent is singular. This graphic novel is a mood piece, and each of is artists successfully understands and plays their part in setting that mood.
Simply looking at a page from Blue In Green, even without processing the words set upon it, will make you feel a certain way. If that is not successful graphic storytelling, then I do not know what is.
A Book About Legacy, Loss, and Life
When I finished reading Blue In Green, I felt that I truly understood what its creators were trying to say. And as I began writing this wrap-up section, I was tempted to tell you that this book resonated so strongly with me only because I am a quote-unquote “creator” myself.
However, I do not actually think that’s true. I think anyone who has reckoned with the notion of legacy will find a lot to consider in Blue In Green. I think parents, especially, and those who may be on the edge of losing their parents will see themselves reflected in this book. Blue In Green is a book about striving, and how a person’s entire life can be spent attempting to attain something without understanding the consequences of their actions. It is a book about generations that are both disconnected and yet entirely in contact with each other. Yes, Blue In Green is a group of artists’ book about creating art. But those of us who create art know art is simply a reflection of life. Blue In Green is a haunting reflection, and most anyone who reads it will see themselves in its mirror.