It would have been Olivia Newton-John’s birthday on September 26th. Sadly, she left us too soon after her breast cancer returned and then she was diagnosed with a lower-back tumor. A new comic remembers the talented singer, actress, and activist well with its new release. TidalWave Comics is releasing the comic as part of its Tribute series, and I read it last week. Here are my thoughts on it.
Disclosure: I was gifted a copy of the comic book in return for an honest review. As an Amazon associate, I will earn a small commission on any purchases made through links below at no extra cost to you.
The Tribute: Olivia Newton-John comic book is a great team effort. It involves writer Sandra Ruckdeschel, the forward by Michael Frizell, and the illustrators Alessandro Miracolo and Pablo Martinena. From the amazing cover to the pages of expert pencils, letters, and popping color, there is much to appreciate here.
This book does not look overly crowded, even though includes lots of text to describe Olivia Newton-John’s accomplishments and life stages. She is tastefully drawn – not overtly sexy or overly glamorized in the illustrations. Instead, her look is natural and stunning. The artists also stay true to her different hairstyles, changing along the way as her hair and clothing style changed over the years.
Bright red borders differentiate between the scenes on each page, and the novel is available in hardcover, paperback, and Kindle versions. The coloring is cheerful to reflect her shining spirit, in my opinion.
I won’t give away every detail you will find in the book about the star’s life. That way, you will be able to enjoy the read and might have some of the “hey, I didn’t know that about her” moments that I had.
The writing: Showcasing Olivia Newton-John
Writer Sandra C. Ruckdeschel spotlights Olivia Newton-John as the icon she was and always will be in the 34 pages. Years ago, Olivia worked with TidalWave on a comic, and they were able to integrate her words into this new comic book, all in time to release before her birthday on September 26th.
The book integrates information about breast cancer into the pages to educate readers, in addition to paying homage to the legend’s many career accomplishments. If this comic can bring more awareness to the disease, wow, how powerful that is.
The book talks about how Olivia sought to push forward for a cure rather than giving up upon receiving the diagnosis the first time of breast cancer. She helped develop the Liv Kit to help others do self-examinations for lumps, as that was how she initially found her breast cancer.
After her recovery the first time, she released the album Gaia: One Woman’s Journey to inspire others through her songs about her battle with breast cancer. The album also revealed her passion for protecting the environment.
During her incredible life, Olivia also organized several events and musical projects to raise funds for organizations fighting breast cancer. She even opened her own cancer center. She advocated for natural treatments for healing, encouraging more research on plants’ effects on cancer.
Some details about her life surprised me, so I’m glad I read this Tribute comic. For example, I didn’t know Olivia Newton-John’s sister was once married to her Grease costar Jeff Conaway!
The start of her music career is discussed, including her first music competition win and first single. I loooooved learning how Olivia got the audition for Grease. And any mention of Grease makes me smile as I remember watching it again and again in my teens and 20s. I had my own VHS copy (wish I still had it).
There are also lots of details on the making of Xanadu and the popularity of its soundtrack. Like Grease, bring on the music! And don’t forget about the album Physical – Classic!
There’s much more to learn, love, and remember about Olivia-Newton John in this graphic novel. I don’t want to give it all away so you can enjoy the read and illustrations as much as I have.
Olivia Newton-John’s positive spirit radiates through the pages, no matter what.
I love the energizing spirit of the storyline. She didn’t give up, even when given her diagnosis. Not when she was in music bands that split up. Not when she didn’t win every entered talent competition. Challenges were just the means to give her strength.
This comic balances her professional life with her personal one. It also includes quotes from her at different milestones in her life. And how she found love with her husband John.
You are missed, Olivia Newton-John
She was an amazing breast cancer advocate, environmentalist, and talented singer and actress. Her contributions will continue to help many for a long time to come. Partial proceeds of this Tribute comic book go to the ONJ foundation. We will think of you so fondly on your birthday September 26th and always.
Top photo: Page 7 of the Tribute: Olivia Newton-John comic book. Illustration courtesy of TidalWave via Darren G. Davis.