Books·Canadian

Leonard Cohen: On a Wire

A comic by Philippe Girard.

Philippe Girard

Leonard Cohen opens in Los Angeles on the last night of the man's life in 2016. Alone in his final hours, the beloved writer and musician ponders his existence in a series of flashbacks that reveal the ups and downs of a storied career.

A young Cohen traded in the promise of steady employment in his family's upscale Montreal garment business for the unlikely path of a literary poet. His life took another sharp turn when, already in his 30s, he recorded his first album to widespread international acclaim. Along the way he encountered a who's who of musical luminaries, including Lou Reed, Nico, Janis Joplin, and Joni Mitchell. And then there's Phil Spector, the notorious music impresario who held a gun to Cohen's head during a coke-fueled, all-night-long recording session.

Later in Cohen's life, there's the story of Hallelujah, one of his most famous songs, and its slow rise from relative obscurity when first recorded in the 1980s to its iconic status a decade later with covers by John Cale and Jeff Buckley. And then there's the period when Cohen went broke after his manager embezzled his lifetime savings, which ironically sparked an unlikely career resurgence and several worldwide tours in the 2000s.

Written with careful attention to detail and drawn with a palette of warm, lush colors by Quebec-based cartoonist Philippe Girard, Leonard Cohen is an engaging portrait of a cultural icon. (From Drawn & Quarterly)

Pascal Girard is a comic artist from Quebec. He published his first comic in a children's magazine when he was eight and has since published more than 20 books. His comics have received awards like the Joe Shuster and the Bedeis Causa Awards and more.

More about Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen on the road to singing sensation

3 years ago
Duration 9:28
Leonard Cohen leaves his blissful domestic life on Hydra, Greece, with the intention of cutting a country and western album in Nashville.
Leonard Cohen wows critics with his first collection of poetry.

Leonard Cohen: Playing The Favourite Game

3 years ago
Duration 12:20
Leonard Cohen defends the 1963 work he says is "a third novel disguised as a first novel."
Five years ago, poet and songwriter Leonard Cohen passed away at the age of 82. He left behind timeless songs, such as Hallelujah and Suzanne. And as author Harry Freedman explains in a new book, Leonard Cohen: The Mystical Roots of Genius, Cohen's lyrics are timeless in part because their source material is so often found in religious texts and legends. Freedman walks us through some of Cohen's most beloved songs, illuminating the sacred underpinnings of so much of Cohen's work.

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