Thursday, August 23, 2012

Book Review: Steve Jobs/ Genius By Design_

  Campfire publishes graphic novels that are made for different and distinct lines: mythologies, original stories, classics and heroes (which I think used to be biographies). It is under the heroes label that Campfire has released their newest story, a biography on innovator Steve Jobs.
 Right from the beginning, this book was different than Campfire's usual format defined by richly colored covers, and a bright Campfire logo in the upper corner along with the classification tag for the book. This book is a shiny black on the front, with a black and white caricature of Steve Jobs and the title in the framed white space. On the back, is a pearly white gradient with a blurb about the book, and the Campfire logo normally seen on the front. My son looked at the cover and picked up on the design faster than I did. "It's an iPad!" he said. Sure enough, the single button of the iPad is on the bottom, and the top of the "screen"  has Campfire and the names of the writer, Jason Quinn, and artist, Amit Tayal. Even the corners opposite of the spine are rounded. Very clever.
 I was struck by Tayal's style for this book, which is a simple, clean style, which he says he wanted to go for in the book. But more than that, the style reminds me of the kind of doodles and sketches done by engineers and technically-oriented drafters and artists. This just added an authenticity to the story telling, especially as you read about the early days of Apple and Pixar, and the introduction of the MacIntosh computer.
 Quinn's story starts like most graphic novel biographies- "so-and-so went here. Then he met this person. They worked on this." But once the story picks up with Steve finding a passion for creating great computers for people, the story takes off. I let my son, 13, read the story also, and several times he laughed out loud, or would shout "No way! I didn't know that." When he was about done with the book he said, "I don't feel like I'm reading a biography. It feels like I'm reading about a character." That is learning through enjoyment. It's what Campfire says they strive to do, and in this case it is clearly "mission accomplished!"
Steve and Woz using the Blue Box to prank call the Vatican!
 Coming so soon after Jobs' death (Oct 5, 2011) this gives a fair and complete look at Jobs' life. From his refusal to shower, to his habit of insulting people who weren't doing things to his vision of perfection, to his early failures at being a parent, his flaws are made apparent. But his redeeming qualities also shine through- his realization of the importance of his family, his quest for truth and fulfillment, his desire to do his best work and expect the best of others. It is amazing that a person with such a zen philosophy and a desire for simplicity was also the one looking for ways to sell circuit boards, computers, software, music players and phones. He made billions, yet he never lived lavishly like many of his peers.
 Campfire's biography on Nelson Mandela was an award winning book. I don't see how Campfire does not repeat that feat with this book. It is entertaining, informative, thought-provoking and a delight to look at.
 I think Steve Jobs would approve.

 Steve Jobs/ Genius by Design by Jason Quinn and Amit Tayal is available beginning September 4. Go to for more information.

1 comment:

  1. hi..Im student from Informatics engineering, this article is very informative, thanks for sharing :)