The Ballad of Outlaw Elvis and Other Songs of Freedom

 BOOQ   (UnredComicBooks, 2005)

™ and © D.A. Morello

D.A. Morello’s been trying to make a name for himself with such self-published graphic novels as Super Power Blues and The Remainder: books where he uses well-trodden notions but gives them his own twist via his stylistic art and moody narratives. After taking a stab at super-heroes and post-apocalyptic existence, what’s Morello’s next logical step?

Why, folk songs, of course. In the flavor of Woody Guthrie or Bob Dylan, Morello fashions folksy lyrics and accompanies them with his usual artistic flair. The first half of the book is a series of one-page snippets about personal freedom or lack thereof. The second half is a lyrical story of a murderous Elvis impersonator on the run.

But, as is the case with any song collection, some tracks are better than others. Most of these outshine the sidelong Elvis track on side 2. And the left-hand pages are all blank, essentially reducing this to a 32-page comic for nine bucks that takes about 10 minutes to read. It’s a commendable effort, but it just isn’t worth it. Readers would be best off seeking Morello’s other works.

— Jim Johnson

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