Even when he was alive, the mercurial Steve Jobs spawned several books. Since his premature demise last year due to cancer, the Apple visionary has been the subject of even more tomes.
Still, it may not quite be true to say the world has learned more about the man who gave us the iPod, iPhone and iPad, even if you simply overlook the Mac or the film studio that delivered “Toy Story.” This is because most books have been written for the business reader or, worse, the technophile. Or in the case of Jobs’ official biography – by former Time magazine editor Walter Isaacson – the book’s 630 pages can be intimidating.
Consequently, a graphic novel on Jobs is a welcome addition, making his life story accessible to a broader audience. Last October, C.W. Cooke published one, tracing the broader life of the man who touches our everyday lives in a manner few others do. Now comes “Steve Jobs: Genius by Design,” is published by Campfire, the graphic novel imprint of India’s Kalyani Navyug Media Pvt. Ltd. It is written by Jason Quinn and illustrated by Amit Tayal both of whom are international figures with commendable portfolios.
To capture the life and personality of a man like Jobs in graphical form, and in less than 100 pages, is a daunting task. Quinn and Tayal, whose previous works include The Jungle Book and Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves: Reloaded, have done a commendable job. The cover is an inspired one. It resembles an iPad, with Jobs’ pencil drawing in the middle, and the solitary button at the bottom.
A curious facet of the graphic novel’s narration – probably not seen in most books on Jobs or Apple – is the absence of Microsoft mogul Bill Gates. Some might consider it an oversight, given how closely the lives of Jobs and Gates were intertwined, and how they were pitted in battle for the most part. But it is equally probably that the authors of this graphical novel – wittingly or unwittingly – suggest a view historians will likely take. In his later days at Apple, Jobs decisively broke away from Gates. He came up with the iPod, iPhone and iPad, leaving Microsoft in the dust.
The value of this work lies in its ability to attract a completely new set of readers, when compared with other books on Jobs. Let me cite a personal experience. My nine-year-old daughter, who uses the iPad on a daily basis, was struck by the design of this graphic novel. She then proceeded to pick up and read it with fair interest. As far as I can tell she is able to appreciate Jobs’ life in her own way.
Steve Jobs: Genius by Design
Jason Quinn (Author), Amit Tayal (Illustrator)
Paperback, 102 pp
Campfire Biography-Heroes Line (Campfire Graphic Novels)
$12.99 (Available on Amazon.com for the inaugural price of $10.57)