John Belushi is known to many as an American Icon. Dying at the young age of thirty three, John had one of the most respected comedic portfolios in Hollywood. Not only was he one of the original members of SNL (Saturday Night Live) he also went on to star in the cult classic Animal House and soon after he became everyone’s favourite ‘Soul Man’ in The Blues Brothers.
Alberto Schiavone does a wonderful job of telling the story of a man never without talent and yet always without happiness. For all of John’s skills, he was not deprived of personal demons and though we may never truly understand what they were, this telling of John’s life by Schiavone does a good job of not hiding the elephant in the room… that is, his life battle with drug consumption.
Sure, this comic book may not show John Belushi fan’s things they haven’t seen before, but it does a fantastic job of expressing (what seems) all the important pieces of Johns life in a small bite size story.
One aspect that may throw many people off from buying this is the art style. I’m sure to some it is just heavily stylised. However, it sometimes becomes unnecessarily difficult to understand what is happening on the page. It’s unsure whether this was happening because of the strong art style or just bad drawing on the part of Manera.
Some panels are well brought to life though, like the famous scene from Animal House where John gives the camera a cunning smirk while he stares at his college class mate getting changed. People like Dan Aykroyd are drawn beautifully but ironically it’s John Belushi himself that is drawn poorly to the point I couldn’t work out which person on the page was him.
Even with the non consistent quality of art, I still found this a worthy read and one that many should pick up for themselves.
John’s career work is full of moments that would make anybody laugh, but his personal life was anything but jolly. Often times instead of working or attending important meetings, he would be at a bar drinking or somewhere else snorting cocaine.
It’s clear he did highly value things in his life, like his wife Judy who even herself could never understand John’s lack of happiness. The most positive this book describes John is when he befriends Aykroyd. The both of them quickly form a bond of friendship and thus the Blues Brothers dynamic was born. Though Johns personal battles would continue and get worse, it is clear John held great value in many things, just never himself.
This biography of John makes you wonder how someone like him would get on today. With mental illness being understood and respected on such greater levels, the obvious question is; would he still be around if he had the help we have now? Would he of accepted it?
These are the questions that were left with me and I’m sure you will be left with your own, but one thing is clear, John Belushi had a beautiful mind most likely not compatible with the type of world the 70’s offered and yet his work (as short as it was) will be remembered for a long time.
Belushi: On a mission from God may not be perfect but neither was John. Instead it’s in the imperfections that lay a beauty and that’s why I give this comic book a thumbs up!