Yesterday arvo I was once again upon the airwaves having a nice old chinwag about comics with the delovely Lorin Ford (no relation) and alicia sometimes (also no relation). The topic on our lips this time around was Jim Ottaviani and Leland Myrick’s comic biography of US physicist and pop cultural icon Richard Feynman, fittingly titled Feynman.
And here’s what we said:
Once again, on listening back I realised that I had begged one of Lorin’s insightful questions, namely whether the biography tended to lionise Feynman or display him in a more critical warts-and-all light. To which I should have responded by pointing out that since the book is told in Feynman’s own words, excerpted from his own memoirs and lectures, and since Feynman could fairly be said to have had a reasonable ego on him, the book isn’t what you’d call harsh in its criticism of things like his involvement in developing the atomic bomb, or his reputation as a womaniser, or his arrogance in general, but neither does it completely sweep such things under the table. Feynman was certainly a man who could admit his own mistakes,which he did in his own writing, and that aspect of his personality is reflected in Feynman. It’s certainly not a hagiography, then, but it’s definitely a celebration of his life and achievements.
As I said in the review, with Feynman Ottoviani and Myrick have put together a very good and beautiful-to-look-at Richard Feynman primer that, while not necessarily bringing anything new to the table, still offers a great introduction to the man.
Feynman is another amazing addition to the ever-growing stable of amazing comics coming out of the First Second imprint, which is fast becoming my favourite graphic novel imprint for its willingness to publish such a wide range of stories that that demonstrate the infinite potential of the comic form.