Genius

Author: Steven T. Seagle and Teddy Kristiansen
Publisher: First Second
Publish Date: July 9, 2013

Book Rating: 4/5

Bottom Line: Genius shows why comics are a viable storytelling medium for adults.

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Publisher’s Description
Ted Marx works hard at his career as a quantum physicist. But lately the demands of his job have begun to overwhelm him. Then Ted makes a startling discovery: his wife’s father once knew Einstein and claims that Einstein entrusted to him a final, devastating secret—a secret even more profound and shattering than the work that led to the first atom bombs. If Ted can convince his father-in-law to tell him what Einstein had to say, his job will be safe. But does he dare reveal Einstein’s most dangerous secret to those who might exploit it?

In their comic book Genius, acclaimed duo Teddy H. Kristiansen and Steven T. Seagle have created an exploration of the heights of intellectual and scientific achievement and the depths of human emotion and confusion.

Book Review

The first few pages into this book, I was worried. I thought it was going to be some high concept mental ride into the intellectual amorphous opaque. Whatever that means. Good news though, it quickly proved me wrong and became a very human story. It’s the story of a genius who has become the old guard and is being out-shined by young whippersnappers. This could be a story about any working schlep trying to impress the boss and take care of his family.

The book is full of dramatic moments. These are honest moments and will make people think twice about comics only being about superheroes. Genius shows the kinds of feats comics are capable of achieving and why they are a viable storytelling medium for adults.

The art also turns comic art on its head. It is minimal. Backgrounds, establishing shots, and other ‘critical’ storytelling devices are in short supply, but the art is easy to follow. Emotions shoot off the page. There are some times when you aren’t sure exactly where you are. Inside, outside, in a dream? Sometimes it doesn’t matter and sometimes it elevates the storytelling.

The story ends up using a device that I both love and hate. The ending that isn’t an ending. There is no closure. On one hand it lets the reader continue ‘living’ in the world of the story, making up their own outcomes. However it tends to leave one incomplete. Many an Oscar nominee follows this design, so what do I know?

Book Received: For free from publisher in exchange for an honest review
Reviewer: Chris