So Greendale is a comic book (graphic novel, whatever–I suppose it’s a graphic novel, since there aren’t issue breaks and it’s not a collection) written by a man, illustrated by a man, based on an album by a man… featuring exceptionally strong female characters. They’re kind of nature witches, really. But it’s about the women in this family. Kind of. But the protagonist is definitely a strong female protagonist.
Greendale has a heavy anti-corporate sentiment to it. I haven’t heard the album or seen the subsequent film, so I don’t know if Dysart and Young beefed up the graphic novel as corporatism has, since the album’s release, destroyed the American economy. But that sentiment is a MacGuffin.
The core of Greendale is a family drama. It’s not even a dramatic family drama–Dysart keeps his protagonist hopeful, even as negative events flood the characters’ lives–but it got tears to my eyes, first, as a family drama.
The second time was as the protagonist comes to understand her place in the world and in her family, as a woman. Not as many tears, just some wetness. It’s just really well written and affecting.
I don’t really want to see the movie now–Cliff Chiang made me want to see Greendale this way forever. His style is perfect for capturing the protagonist’s hopefulness, but he’s also able to show the darker sides of the story.
There’s really no room for a sequel, but I wish I could have more.
Writer, Joshua Dysart; artist, Cliff Chiang; colorist, Dave Stewart; letterer, Todd Klein; editors, Pornsak Pichetshote and Karen Berger; publisher, Vertigo.