Life, Death, and the Truth – “An Elegy for Amelia Johnson” by Andrew Rostan, Dave Valeza, and Kate Kasenow
She’s making the best of it, though, by sending two of her best friends – who have never met – across the country to deliver six recorded video messages to six people who’ve meant something to her. The friends, Oscar-winner Henry and frustrated novelist Jillian, butt heads before they realize they’re rather perfect together. Amelia wants Henry – being a filmmaker – to record people’s reactions to her messages, so she can see them before she dies.
Sounds lovely, doesn’t it?
Actually, “An Elegy for Amelia Johnson” takes a close and honest look at death and how we humans tend to only think and say good, happy things about dying people, when in reality sometimes the dying people aren’t all sunshine and lollipops. Though she was a good friend and a good writer, Amelia was selfish and had her share of bad behavior. The book shows both sides – some of Amelia’s friends paint her as an angel, but others have more realistic stories to tell.
Of course, Henry hasn’t told Jillian he’s planning to use all the footage he’s shooting for his next movie. That’s a whole different story, though. As Henry, Jillian, and the two crew members Henry totes along cross the country meeting everyone from Amelia’s brother to her college boyfriend, truths are discussed, people are examined, and it’s all rather eye-opening.
There’s no miracle resolution to any of this. Amelia dies, and the final scene takes place at her funeral.
This is the type of graphic novel that would adapt easily to the big screen, and I daresay it’d be a fantastic movie. The artwork is so vivid, and the characters so clearly drawn, that it reads like watching a movie anyway. It’s a beautiful, real, story, told very well and drawn even better.