Back in the ’70s The Who’s Pete Townshend wrote a screenplay for a movie called Life House. Now, it’s a graphic novel written by James Harvey and David Hine, with art by James Harvey and Max Prentis.
We reviewed the book on the Stack podcast. But in the interest of highlighting more about the title, here’s a summary of the conversation with our thoughts. And if you prefer the longer audio version, that’s below as well!
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Life House Advance Review:
As you might expect from The Who, Life House isn’t your typical story. It actually started life as a rock opera… And follows a disparate group of characters in a strange sci-fi world who revolt against the status quo. Also, The Who plays a concert in the middle of the book, so that’s nice.
Host Alex Zalben started things off by saying this “is exactly what you would expect from a Pete Townshend screenplay, down to wild sci-fi [elements] in the classic ’70s, very early ’80s style from Europe. Yeah, I don’t know, get high and read this, I guess.”
Pete LePage thought the graphic novel was “really tripped out and kind of amazing… Artistically, it’s really impressive. It’s a very unique… vibe.”
Justin Tyler thought it was a “badass move to write your band The Who into this comic as the best band [in the world], pretty sick move on the Townshend… But really good art.” However, Tyler did feel that sci-fi stories about how music symbolizes freedom for an oppressed society is the sort of concept that’s been done a lot since Townshend wrote the screenplay fifty years ago. “But if you’re a fan of The Who, there are a ton of references to their music, and the whole vibe feels very sci-fi rock opera.”
Zalben agreed some of it felt antiquated, down to Townshend’s original notes in the back matter describing a character as “twenty, but a sexy twenty… This is clearly a screenplay from decades ago… They definitely updated it.”
Finishing up, Zalben called the book a mash-up of Moebius and V for Vendetta, and felt it was a little hard to hold on to the characters – but regardless, it’s beautiful to look at.
Life House HC hits stores from Image Comics on December 20, 2023.
Life House Official Synopsis:
An original graphic novel based on rock music legend Pete Townshend‘s 1970 screenplay of the same name, which inspired The Who‘s 1971 globally bestselling and universally beloved album, Who’s Next.
Set in a dystopian future where music has been outlawed, LIFE HOUSE follows a small band of rebels who stage an underground concert in an effort to undermine a tyrannical leader…and free Britain and all of humanity.
This graphic novelization is co-written by Doom Patrol‘s JAMES HARVEY and Spider-Man Noir‘s DAVID HINE, with art by both HARVEY and Australian visual artist MAX PRENTIS, lettering by MICAH MYERS, and inks by Eisner Award-winning artist MICK GRAY. It is edited by the former Dark Horse editor, HANNAH MEANS-SHANNON, and features a massive vinyl LP format (12.25″ x 12.25″). This is a must-have for any serious music collectors, rock fans, and pop culture aficionados!
Originally envisioned as a sci-fi rock epic to follow up The Who’s chart-topping rock opera Tommy, and put aside 50 years ago—in favor of Who’s Next songs like “Baba O’Riley,” “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” and “Behind Blue Eyes”—LIFE HOUSE will finally take center stage.
Also available in a SLIPCASE EDITION, featuring a vegan leather-bound slipcase!