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Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Reader's Diary #2178 - Chris Miskiewicz (writer), Noah Vansciver (artist): Grateful Dead Origins

Not a huge follower of the Grateful Dead, if Chris Miskiewicz and Noah Vansciver's graphic novel biography, Grateful Dead Origins, is any indication, I nonetheless wasn't too far off the money. I pictured them as a hippie sort, connected to drug culture, but not overly political. This, it seems, was a fair assessment.

Perhaps because of their laissez-faire attitude, I wasn't immediately drawn into the book. I couldn't really distinguish between the band members and the lack of any real drama in this period of the career meant the story was a little slow. Still, I came to appreciate aspects. The San Francisco scenes of the 60s are, of course, fascinating. Plus, I started to find their communal optimism very amusing. Don't know how to play a bass? No problem, learn it as you go along. Don't know how to work a sound board? You'll learn on the job. We like your drumming, but we already have a drummer. Who cares, we'll just have two. It's shocking that they made all of this work.

I also quite liked Vansciver's art. The simple cartooning fit the band and story, with a bit of counter-culture appeal.

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