Art from "Graphic Elvis" by Jeevan J. Kang/Liquid ComicsJust when it seems that every facet of Elvis Presley has been examined--yet another aspect of his life comes to light. The most recent? The King's love of comic books and superheroes, which are explored in a new book, Graphic Elvis.
"When I was a child, ladies and gentlemen, I was a dreamer. I read comic books and I was the hero of the comic books," Elvis said in a 1971 speech. The graphic novel, a collaboration between publisher Liquid Comics and Elvis Presley Enterprises, takes this concept literally and actually sketches him as a superhero comic character.
Written by comic book legend Stan Lee (one of the masterminds behind Spider-Man and the Hulk) and illustrated by a variety of leading artists in the genre, the limited edition book explores a variety of striking artistic takes on Elvis's various iconic looks throughout the decades--including black leather, white jumpsuits, and even an army uniform.
But it's not just the novelty of seeing Elvis in graphic form here that's notable. The project also takes a look at a side of the legend that is often overlooked--his deep and rich spiritual side. The book features a complementary digital app which contains some never-before-seen handwritten notes from the King himself--small summaries and thoughts about his quest for the meaning of life, which were jotted down in the margins of the many books he read.
"God loves you, but he loves you best when you sing," "O Lord thy sky is so great and my plane is so small," and "If one can't give what they have and share then they will always be empty," plus several pages full of lists of words, are some of his ideas that are shared.
Other Elvis rarities are showcased in the app--notably, rare photos and memorabilia from the archives at Graceland, such as Elvis' signed boxing gloves from Muhammad Ali and a telegram from Brian Epstein for the Beatles.
Graphic Elvis is being marketed as a commemorative item for the 35th anniversary of Elvis's death, which falls on August 16. It costs $195, but fans can download a "lite" version of the app for free (the full version is $9.99).