Perhaps describing the rendering of the seminal work, JFK And The Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Mattersas a comic book should be explained. It is more correctly described as a "Graphic Novel" -- generations beyond the comic book of Kennedy's time and likely more suitable for today's audience.
One man in particular feels that what has been missing to this point has been a rendering of a major book in graphic novel. That person is Seth Reuben Jacobson, co-author along with the illustrator, Oliver Hine. The book is also being edited by the scribe of the source book, Jim Douglass.
"When I first read JFK and the Unspeakable, Seth declared, "I knew that I had to see it released as a graphic novel. Its analysis of the data was breathtaking, and I wanted it to get into the hands of a younger, modern audience that would never reach for a hard-bound copy."
When the original book came out, Oliver Stone in a Huffington Post blog post described it as "one of those rare books that, by helping us understand our history, has the power to change it." He continues:
"To a large extent, the fate of our country and the future of the planet continue to be controlled by the shadowy forces of what Douglass calls 'the Unspeakable.' Only by unmasking these forces and confronting the truth about our history can we restore the promise of democracy and lay claim to Kennedy's vision of peace."
But, portraying the JFK story through this medium? Has pen-and-ink "grown up" enough to serve in this role? Might it even be a superior "wake up" device?
According to another, successful graphic artist, Canadian David Robertson, the graphic novel serves as a wonderful teaching tool. Or, as he describes it, "The only educational tool that can engage a boy or a girl, grade 3 students or University students. How awesome is that?"
Robertson explains its effectiveness in five simple points:
1. They are a great motivator (esp. for the struggling reader).
2. They are visual. Pictures are worth 1,000 words.
3. They have a visual permanence. And, the reader dictates the pace of learning.
4. They are popular. No question there.
5. They funnel into more learning. It's habit forming.
So, what we have here in the person of Seth Jacobson, the son of respected graphic novelist and former editor-in-Chief at Harvey Comics for 40 years, Sid Jacobson who is putting this to the test and furthering a family tradition.
In an interview with Seth for WGRNradio.com' "15 Minutes of Fact," he discusses the challenges in persuading Jim Douglass to allow his work to be translated into this medium, how he searched out the artist, Oliver Hine, pulled together and hunted for money on Kickstarter.
And, finally, decided to take a chapter from Charles Dickens' playbook by publishing his book a chapter at a time so as to fund the effort as well as build an audience.
Not a bad idea. Consider this my blog #1 on "JFK and the Unspeakable" and stay alert for upcoming reflections on its progress. As each chapter unfolds, I trust mine will become equally habit forming.
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