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Review – An Elegy for Amelia Johnson

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An Elegy for Amelia Johnson CoverAn Elegy for Amelia Johnson had me bawling by the end.  Over two metro rides I read this original graphic novel written by Andrew Rostan.  It’s a story about death and life, and as you’d expect with that, the comic can be depressing at times.  But damn is it good and worth being bummed.

In her 30 years on earth, Amelia Johnson has touched many lives with her compassion, intelligence and spirit. Now, at the end of a yearlong battle with cancer, she asks her two closest friends to take her final messages to the people who have touched her life the most. Henry Barrons is a cocky, Oscar Award-winning documentary filmmaker whose demeanor hides deep insecurities. Jillian Webb is an acclaimed magazine writer with an inability to make long-term commitments. They set out across the country to fulfill Amelia’s dying wish…and end up learning more about her—and themselves—than they ever imagined. Andrew Rostan, Dave Valeza and Kate Kasenow deliver a meditation on loving and forgiving those close to us in their moving graphic novel debut.

There’s just so much here.  It’s a great story about what you’ll do for friends and examining our lives and what we want to accomplish.  For a debut graphic novel, it’s even more impressive.  There’s just so much to love, the art is fitting, story touching, it’s just fantastic in so many ways.

I think this is an absolute buy, and deserves such and audience.  Many folks have talked about how you get women to read comics, and this is “chick lit” in graphic novel form, but don’t let that hold you back from checking it out.  I know I’m a sap at times, but even if you’re not, you’ll enjoy this.

Plot: Roston has done an amazing job with this very emotional story.  It’s focus is the legacy we want to leave, the life we live and what we’d do for friends.  All great topics with tons to mine for material.  I was a blubbering mess by the final pages and had people asking me on my metro ride if I was ok.  That says something about the quality of writing.  Rating: 10

Art:  Dave Valeza and Kate Kasenow do the art duties and the style took a bit for me to get used to.  It has more of an Archie feel to it, which throws off the seriousness at times.  But it’s solid art nonetheless.  Overall rating: 9

Overall: Chick-lit, a Lifetime Movie, doesn’t matter, this is a graphic novel and damn is it good.  The story is what you’d expect in those two items I mentioned, but there’s an emotional pull to it we can all relate to and it’s not over the top cheesy.  A fantastic read and absolute contender for a year end award.  Archaia is an amazing publisher and this is a perfect example of the quality you can expect from them.  Overall: 9.5

Recommendation: Buy

Page count: 128 pages    Price: $14.95     Release: 3/2/11

Archaia provided Graphic Policy with an advance copy of this issue for FREE for review.

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