More than just a comic book, Martin Rowson's The Waste Land "Seen" combines Rowson's brilliant graphic novel with an interactive reader's guide as a gateway to learning about poetry, modernism, film noir and art history. First published in 1999, Rowson reimagines T.S. Eliot's iconic poem as a film noir murder mystery, playfully addressing some of the themes and allusions scattered throughout this notoriously difficult work.
Readers can swipe through the comic and read Rowson's work unaided. But by tapping on the screen, the reader calls up a menu bar that displays the signpost icon that launches the Behind the Seen Reader. There Rowson's puns, games, and jokes are further illuminated by scholar Mike Barsanti, who pulls together a museum's worth visual and literary allusions using the vast resources of the web. Readers can also pose questions to the authors and debate the work in the in-app discussion section.
Rowson's The Waste Land "Seen" is the second offering from Throwaway Horse, creators of the Ulysses "Seen" website and iPad app. As with Ulysses "Seen", Throwaway Horse hopes that this project will help preserve interest in this challenging but essential work of art using the best functionality of the iPad.