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Trad ballads in a Graphic Novel??

GUEST,Val 04 Apr 05 - 11:03 PM
katlaughing 04 Apr 05 - 11:11 PM
Gypsy 04 Apr 05 - 11:14 PM
JohnInKansas 05 Apr 05 - 08:11 AM
DonMeixner 05 Apr 05 - 10:13 AM
Big Al Whittle 05 Apr 05 - 10:48 AM
John MacKenzie 05 Apr 05 - 10:54 AM
GUEST,Nerd 05 Apr 05 - 12:59 PM
beetle cat 05 Apr 05 - 02:07 PM
Dave the Gnome 11 Apr 05 - 10:41 AM
ranger1 26 Jan 08 - 01:13 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 26 Jan 08 - 01:35 PM
Anne Lister 26 Jan 08 - 02:56 PM
Joe Offer 26 Jan 08 - 07:18 PM
Arkie 26 Jan 08 - 07:26 PM
GUEST,Nerd 26 Jan 08 - 08:23 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 26 Jan 08 - 08:30 PM
John on the Sunset Coast 26 Jan 08 - 08:56 PM
dick greenhaus 26 Jan 08 - 10:26 PM
katlaughing 26 Jan 08 - 10:46 PM
ranger1 27 Jan 08 - 07:43 PM
dick greenhaus 27 Jan 08 - 07:52 PM
Bagpuss 28 Jan 08 - 01:33 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 28 Jan 08 - 04:36 PM
John on the Sunset Coast 13 Apr 08 - 02:36 PM
GUEST,cookieless Scotus 13 Apr 08 - 03:08 PM
GUEST,The Mole Catcher's unplugged Apprentice 13 Apr 08 - 04:08 PM
the button 13 Apr 08 - 04:42 PM
Joe Offer 11 May 09 - 01:51 AM
Jim Carroll 11 May 09 - 02:24 AM
Jack Blandiver 11 May 09 - 04:00 AM
Mark Ross 11 May 09 - 09:25 AM
High Hopes (inactive) 11 May 09 - 11:19 AM
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Subject: Trad ballads in a Graphic Novel??
From: GUEST,Val
Date: 04 Apr 05 - 11:03 PM

Just spotted a "quaint and curious volume" on the local bookstore shelf. "The Book of Ballads" by Charles Vess with contributions from various known fantasy authors (Emma Bull, Charles DeLint, Terri Windling, etc.)

Unlike what you might expect, this is a hardcover "graphic novel" (i.e. expensive comic book) in which an interpretation of the stories behind some old ballads are rendered in pictures & dialog. Also included are (one version of) the lyrics for each ballad. There is little history included, but there is a discography in the back to point the reader toward recordings & artists.

This collection includes:
The False Knight on the Road
King Henry
Thomas the Rhymer
Barbara Allen
The Three Lovers
Tam Lin
The Daemon Lover
Twa Corbies
Sovay
The Galtree Farmer
Allison Gross
The Black Fox
The Great Selkie of Sule Skerry

I haven't read through it all yet - I actually picked it up as a gift for a friend - but a quick glance tells me some of the interpretations of the tales are... unexpected. For example in Barbra Allen, I never thought of William as one who was cursed with immortality until a lover would spurn him.

I found this volume in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy section of Barnes & Noble books, so it seems to be targeted at a different market than those who are current fans of old songs.

Personally, I think this is a fine idea - get an interest in the old songs into new hearts. On the other hand, some of the treatments could be considered an injustice to the folk tradition. I think I'll refrain from judgement and just pass the info to you folk.


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Subject: RE: Trad ballads in a Graphic Novel??
From: katlaughing
Date: 04 Apr 05 - 11:11 PM

Kewl! I love Charles de Lint's books. Did you happen to notice if it had any by Elizabeth Scarborough (though I think she writes her own, not usually using trad. But it's been awhile since I've read her, so I may have mis-remembered.)

Thanks!

kat


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Subject: RE: Trad ballads in a Graphic Novel??
From: Gypsy
Date: 04 Apr 05 - 11:14 PM

Oh man, what fun! i will have to check this one out.


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Subject: RE: Trad ballads in a Graphic Novel??
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 05 Apr 05 - 08:11 AM

I seem to recall that one of the folk/filk magazines ran a couple of these some time back. It may have been "SING OUT!." My recollection is that they only included 2 or 3, so the whole book would be better of course.

John


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Subject: RE: Trad ballads in a Graphic Novel??
From: DonMeixner
Date: 05 Apr 05 - 10:13 AM

I have several copies of the original set. Great art work, nice take on the tunes. You can often find them in the $1.00 or less bins at comic book conventions.

Don


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Subject: RE: Trad ballads in a Graphic Novel??
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 05 Apr 05 - 10:48 AM

sounds great, does anybody remeber Magic Lantern and their illustrations?


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Subject: RE: Trad ballads in a Graphic Novel??
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 05 Apr 05 - 10:54 AM

Thinking Maria Martin, and the Red Barn murders myself, natural fodder for this treatment.
Giok.


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Subject: RE: Trad ballads in a Graphic Novel??
From: GUEST,Nerd
Date: 05 Apr 05 - 12:59 PM

This has appeared as several volumes of a comic book, then as a paperback book, now in an expanded hardcover. In whatever format, it's a lot of fun!


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Subject: RE: Trad ballads in a Graphic Novel??
From: beetle cat
Date: 05 Apr 05 - 02:07 PM

Any traditional Ballad singer would tell you that singing a ballad is an extremely visual event. Im sure that all of us have a comic book of sorts running through our head while we are singing, and I bet that each song creates different images for everyone. Its awesome that people are using their talent to run with this idea.

And I agree with Kat that Charles De Lint is a winner. I mean, in one of his novels the protagonists sing Hal and Toe to ward away a Witch. Wonderful.


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Subject: RE: Trad ballads in a Graphic Novel??
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 11 Apr 05 - 10:41 AM

Saw this thread a few days ago. Got on to Amazon. Now the proud owner...:-) What a good buy. Combines two of my loves, folk and comics beautifuly!

Now we have had a comic book about folk songs how about folk songs about comic book heroes? To get you started hows about -

Jack in the Green Lantern
Fie, Superman, Fie
She Spider Man with head hung low (My best to date)
The Gay Goshawkman (What a comic THAT would make:P)
Flash Company (Too easy)
No Wonder Woman no cry

and while there are any number of songs mentioning Robin how come I cannot fing any cricket or baseball songs with 'When he went in to Bat, Man, what a sight...' ?

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: Trad ballads in a Graphic Novel??
From: ranger1
Date: 26 Jan 08 - 01:13 PM

I just got this out of the library. What a lot of fun. The introduction is as good as the actual content. Unfortunately, some cretin tore out several pages throughout the book.


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Subject: RE: Trad ballads in a Graphic Novel??
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 26 Jan 08 - 01:35 PM

I'm drawing a blank (pardon the pun), but I seem to remember an author who wrote a series of novels using folk songs as the title. I thought it might have been Elizabeth Scarborough, but I just checked and it doesn't appear to be.

Anyone recall this?


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Subject: RE: Trad ballads in a Graphic Novel??
From: Anne Lister
Date: 26 Jan 08 - 02:56 PM

Ellen Kushner has written a fascinating take on "Tam Lin".

Charles Vess has been at a couple of Folk Alliance conventions .. he came to one of my showcases and I have a sketch he did to accompany my "Seventh Angel" song, done on the back of the envelope that enclosed copies of his graphic novels. Wonder if it might be worth money one day?

Anne


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Subject: RE: Trad ballads in a Graphic Novel??
From: Joe Offer
Date: 26 Jan 08 - 07:18 PM

Ron, I bet you're thinking about the "ballad novels" of Sharyn McCrumb

    If Ever I Return, Pretty Peggy-O (1990)
        aka If Ever I Return
    The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter (1992)
    She Walks These Hills (1994)
    The Rosewood Casket (1996)
    The Ballad of Frankie Silver (1998)
    The Song Catcher (2000)
    Ghost Riders (2003)
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Trad ballads in a Graphic Novel??
From: Arkie
Date: 26 Jan 08 - 07:26 PM

Ron, you may be thinking of Sharyn McCrumb, a North Carolina novelist who has written a series of "ballad novels". I do not think she used the ballad names in her titles, but each of the novels revolves, in some way around a particular ballad. Usually the ballad in question is a an actual song. One of the series, Songcatcher, I believe, involves a fictitious ballad created for the purposes of the book. I have read only one of the series and do hope to read more.


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Subject: RE: Trad ballads in a Graphic Novel??
From: GUEST,Nerd
Date: 26 Jan 08 - 08:23 PM

The Vess book is fine indeed. Great fun!

Two things rankled me a bit: one, they do not note that "The Black Fox" was written by Graham Pratt; it would have been a nice acknowledgement for him. Two, in the performer biographies appended to the discography, they ignore Bert Lloyd, depite the fact that it was Lloyd that taught these songs to most of the people who DO get bios, such as Carthy, Frankie Armstrong, the Dransfields, Fairport, Steeleye, etc. Still, I know both Charles Vess and Ken Roseman (who did the discography and bios), and I know there was no intentional slighting being done.


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Subject: RE: Trad ballads in a Graphic Novel??
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 26 Jan 08 - 08:30 PM

Thank you Joe & Arkie - that is EXACTLY who I was thinking of! I appreciate it!


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Subject: RE: Trad ballads in a Graphic Novel??
From: John on the Sunset Coast
Date: 26 Jan 08 - 08:56 PM

My memory may be faulty, but it seems perhaps 10 or 12 years ago that Sing-Out Magazine did a few folk songs in graphic form. I remember reading Thomas the Rhymer and several others. I may still have them packed away in the garage. Suggest someone get a cumulative index for Sing Out for that approximate period.


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Subject: RE: Trad ballads in a Graphic Novel??
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 26 Jan 08 - 10:26 PM

Sing Out did run them, and, IMO, they were pretty awful. What's next? A Ballads Digest? Crib sheets?


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Subject: RE: Trad ballads in a Graphic Novel??
From: katlaughing
Date: 26 Jan 08 - 10:46 PM

Joe and Arkie, ya beat me to it! I wish McCrumb would write some more!


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Subject: RE: Trad ballads in a Graphic Novel??
From: ranger1
Date: 27 Jan 08 - 07:43 PM

Dick, think of it as a way for these songs to get an audience outside of the normal folkie circles. Many of the people who generally read graphic novels are kids in their teens who wouldn't otherwise be exposed to folk music. If it gets them interested in listening to the actual material or learning more about the songs, how can it be a bad thing?


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Subject: RE: Trad ballads in a Graphic Novel??
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 27 Jan 08 - 07:52 PM

I don't say it's a bad thing; I just said I thought that the ones I've seen were pretty awful. I've never been convinced that the Classic Comics approach did anyone (except for the people publishing such stuff) any good at all.


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Subject: RE: Trad ballads in a Graphic Novel??
From: Bagpuss
Date: 28 Jan 08 - 01:33 PM

My first thought on reading this was "I bet Neil Gaiman has a story in there" - I did a google, and sure enough he has. Might need to get myself a copy.


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Subject: RE: Trad ballads in a Graphic Novel??
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 28 Jan 08 - 04:36 PM

I thought "The Book of Ballads" was exceptionally well done. The songs were not meant to be literally translated to graphic form, but interpreted and used as a framework. I agree with Dick and I don't care about Classic Comics approach to literature, but I do not think this is the case with these stories.

I'm a huge comic book fan, and the combination of ballad and comic book art appealed to me. Both are unique approaches to storytelling, and the artwork of Vess is really enchangting. The style reminds me of great children's illustrations from the Victorian era, and really captures the fantasy world of the ballad settings.


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Subject: RE: Trad ballads in a Graphic Novel??
From: John on the Sunset Coast
Date: 13 Apr 08 - 02:36 PM

Ah, spring cleaning. Today I found some of my "Sing Out" magazines. Two of them have graphic novelized folk songs. I remember there being a few others...I think Thomas the Rhymer was the first, but I haven't found it or any others.

BAWBREE ALLEN - Summer '96 v41 no1
TWA CORBIES - Spring '97 v41 no4

Might these have been collected in the volume mentioned by GuestVal in the first post?


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Subject: RE: Trad ballads in a Graphic Novel??
From: GUEST,cookieless Scotus
Date: 13 Apr 08 - 03:08 PM

The folk magazine Chapbook, published by Aberdeen Folk Club in the 60s and 70s, ran a continuing comic strip each month for a while called 'Bateman'which had all the famous ballad characters in it - it was very funny!

Jack


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Subject: RE: Trad ballads in a Graphic Novel??
From: GUEST,The Mole Catcher's unplugged Apprentice
Date: 13 Apr 08 - 04:08 PM

'Ellen Kushner has written a fascinating take on "Tam Lin".'

Ellens Kusner's novel was a retelling of Thomas the Rhymer, however there is a book written by the Canadian author, Janet McNaughton, called, An Earthly Knight, which is a retelling of Tam Lin.

cheers

Charlotte R


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Subject: RE: Trad ballads in a Graphic Novel??
From: the button
Date: 13 Apr 08 - 04:42 PM

Cheers for the heads-up on this. I've just ordered a copy of this book for my fantasy-loving partner.


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Subject: RE: Trad ballads in a Graphic Novel??
From: Joe Offer
Date: 11 May 09 - 01:51 AM

Well, I just finished reading Sharyn McCrumb's She Walks These Hills. Interestingly, I didn't see a reference to "Long Black Veil" in the book. The book was set on the Tennessee-North Carolina border, near Beech Mountain, where Sandy Paton and others did a lot of field recording.
the book referred to lots of songs. The ones I picked out were:

  • Betty Smith's For My Friends of Song recording
  • Copper Kettle
  • See Rock City
  • Someday Soon (Ian Tyson)
  • The Renegade (Ian Tyson)
  • Stephen Vincent Benet's poem "John Brown's Body"

It was a good murder mystery story - not a real page-turner, but a good read. I'd heard of Sharyn McCrumb's "ballad novels" before, but this was the first one I've read.
I guess I'd call this a lukewarm recommendation, but I did enjoy the book.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Trad ballads in a Graphic Novel??
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 May 09 - 02:24 AM

Thomas The Rymer was covered by Scots historical novelist Nigel Tranter's 'True Thomas'.
Just reading Tranter's James V trilogy which deals with the execution of 40 members of the Armstrong clan, as in Johnnie Armstrong.
There is a novel called Lamkin, but I believe it goes for astronomical figures - I know nothing about it.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Trad ballads in a Graphic Novel??
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 11 May 09 - 04:00 AM

Alas that we shall never see The Gorey Book of Ballads, though in my dreams such things often come to light whilst rummaging around my favourite antiquarian book shops. There is one in Southport where I regularly pick up Randolph Caldecott originals, including The Fox Jumps Over the Parson's Gate from 1883 which inspired Peter Bellamy's celebrated rendering of the song. A couple of years back I reunited Bellamy's superlative version and Caldecotts equally superltive imagery in a wee video presentation for YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NhQMsONIwng

Methinks modern Graphic Novelists could learn a lot from Caldecott!

*

For a non-graphic novel that deals with both Tam Lin & True Thomas check out Fire and Hemlock by Dianna Wynne-Jones. Written for the young adult market, it nevertheless manages to pack quite a punch & remains one of the few genuinely scary books I've ever read.


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Subject: RE: Trad ballads in a Graphic Novel??
From: Mark Ross
Date: 11 May 09 - 09:25 AM

Elizabeth Scarborough wrote a trilogy called THE PHANTOM BANJO which I think is wonderful. It's about how the Devil tries to control people by taking traditional music out of their hands and make it a money making proposition. Definitely worth a read.

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Trad ballads in a Graphic Novel??
From: High Hopes (inactive)
Date: 11 May 09 - 11:19 AM

It's surprising the number of people around who still think that Long Black Veil is a trad. song, when infact it was written by composer and singer Danny Dill with Marijohn Wilkin in 1959.

The Band do, to my mind, a killer version of the song (pun intended).


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