Imaginary Places: Neil Young's Greendale

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A few months ago, we wrote about John Hughes and the fictional town of Shermer, Illinois, which crops up in almost all of his films. This ongoing fictional relationship an artist has with an imaginary place or set of people is uncommon but, apart from Hughes there are some other great examples: Salinger and the Glass family, the Brontes and fictional world of Angria and Neil Young’s Greendale, has recently been turned into a graphic novel.

Greendale is the name of the last album Young released with Crazy Horse. The ten tracks tell the story of the small California town and some of the people who live there. There is also an accompanying short film about the place, which Young made using an old super eight camera, and a spoken word audio recording about the

various characters:

This is a story about a little town called Greendale and a family that lives there – actually, they live outside of town. The Green family lives at the Double E Rancho about two miles outside of Greendale. The Double E is the home of Sun Green, an 18-year-old girl who goes to school in Greendale, and she’s a cheerleader. And she’s a good student. And her mom and dad, Earl Green and Edith Green. Earl Green is a Vietnam vet. (Voice in audience: Why?) I don’t know why, actually. It’s a question that’s been haunting everybody for ages. There wouldn’t be any vets without war, so I guess we have to go back to war. Like most vets, he wanders around trying to forget what he knows. And he’s a painter. He paints psychedelic paintings and he tries to sell them at the galleries around town and in the area, without much luck. He hardly ever sells a painting. (source)

This week Vertigo, a division of DC Comics, released a graphic novel called Neil Young’s Greendale, which “focuses on Sun Green, the great-granddaughter of Jay Green, the man who founded Greendale. Through Sun, the artists tell a story about personal responsibility, war and the environment.” (source) Young, who was a collaborator on the graphic novel doesn’t think this will be last fans see of Greendale, “There are all kinds of things that we talked about doing that aren’t in this book, that have to do with her next episode and her story. These characters have been designed to last a long time.” (source)

Image Credit: Neil Young’s Greendale Graphic Novel Cover, Young Family Trust and DC Comics