Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Teddy by By Laurence Luckinbill; Adapted by Eryck Tait - Comic Book Review

From the publisher: July 1918. Preparing to speak to an eager audience, 61-year-old Teddy Roosevelt receives the telegram that all parents of children who serve in war fear most: His son Quentin’s plane has been shot down in a dogfight over France. His fate is unknown. Despite rising fear for his youngest son, Teddy takes the stage to speak to his beloved fellow citizens. It is, he says, “my simple duty.” But the speech evolves from politics and the war, into an examination of his life, the choices he’s made, and the costs of his “Warrior Philosophy.”

Overflowing with his love of nature, adventure, and justice, Teddy dramatically illustrates the life of one of America’s greatest presidents. His many accomplishments ranged from charging up San Juan Hill in Cuba as commander of the Rough Riders, to facing down U.S. corporate monopolies, to launching the Great White Fleet, building the Panama Canal, and the preservation of hundreds of millions of acres of natural American beauty.  And finally, to the vigorous life at Sagamore Hill and his immense pride in a beloved and rambunctious family. Teddy reveals how even the greatest of men is still just a man, and how even the most modest man can grow to be great.

I've always thought Theodore Roosevelt was a pretty good president, but I didn't really know a lot about him. Most of my view came from hearing or reading some of the legends surrounding the man. When I had the chance to read Teddy by Laurence Lukinbill (adapted by Eryck Tait), I seized the opportunity to find out more about the man. The fact that Teddy is a graphic novel just made it more appealing because I wouldn't need to push through a long biography, but could consume a lot of information in a shorter amount of time.

Teddy is a biography of Theodore Roosevelt but it's unique in its presentation. Roosevelt is preparing to give a speech in July 1918 when he receives a telegram regarding the whereabouts of his youngest son, a fighter pilot who he learned had been shot down. Roosevelt's speech proceeds to give a look at his legendary life while all the while reflecting on his service and the duty of all Americans. I found this fascinating. With Teddy himself narrating events, we get some insight into the situations that made Roosevelt so popular. There is a look at his first marriage; his time out West as a failed rancher; the story of the "Teddy" bear; his time in New York politics; and his second marriage. We read about his time as the Assistant Secretary of the Navy; the Rough Riders; and how Roosevelt eventually became President of the United States. There is a look at his family life; his life post-Presidency; and his feelings about World War I. 

I really enjoyed reading Teddy. The art was spare and simple, but matched the story perfectly. The details and stories that Lukinbill shared were informative without being so bogged down and boring. I learned several things about Roosevelt the man, particularly as regards his motivation(s) for getting involved in all the various interests he had. My takeway from Teddy is that at his heart, Roosevelt is a family man who dedicated his life to service and our country. And regardless of your politics, those are two pillars I can get behind and respect.

I highly recommend Teddy by Laurence Lukinbill, adapted by Eryck Tait. It is a fast moving and informative look at the life of Theodore Roosevelt. I would recommend it to anyone who likes Roosevelt or wants to learn more about the man.

I received a preview copy of this book from Dead Reckoning/Naval Institute Press and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.