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Genius Paperback – July 9, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Ted Halket advanced rapidly through school as a child after he was recognized as a genius, but his understanding of human relations didn't develop as quickly as the rest of his intellect. Even when he's married with two children and holds a prestigious job at a major research institute, Ted is drowning, both personally and professionally. Then his elderly father-in-law, whose health is failing, dangles a dazzling prize: Einstein's last secret—a scientific truth so huge it will save Ted's career from encroaching failure. Frequent collaborators Seagle and Kristiansen (It's a Bird...; House of Secrets) create a sad and sweet virtuoso portrait of a besieged man lost in his own disconnection from humanity. Seagle illuminates Ted's inability to connect emotionally with his wife and explain sex to his teenage son, and a series of confrontations with his father-in-law escalate like a puzzle-box mystery. Eisner Award–winner Kristiansen's painted artwork is exquisitely detailed and colored—gorgeous muted pastels and earth tones explode in abstract, psychedelic shades, revealing Einstein's secret and Ted's epiphany. Most remarkably, Seagle and Kristiansen allow the connection of words and pictures to mirror the reader's own comprehension of Ted's journey to awareness. This touching and affecting story unlocks the secrets of the universe and of a man's heart. (July)

From Booklist

*Starred Review* The shadow of Albert Einstein looms large over quantum-physicist Ted Marx. As Ted approaches middle age, his output has stalled, and younger, hungrier minds nip at his heels. The director of his think tank sends down an ultimatum to come up with something big or he’ll be put out to pasture. And pasture is where he can’t afford to be, with a young daughter approaching adolescence, a son already hilariously in its clutches, and a wife battling a life-threatening illness. His semi-senile father-in-law drops a bomb into all of this, however, when he lets slip that he knew “Bert” back in his army days and that Einstein told him a secret he never told anyone else. Something that would devastate everything we know about everything. To what desperate lengths will he pursue the secret? Seagle instills an intellectually minded tale with humble humanity, natural characterizations, and storytelling restraint, letting the visuals speak a good many words and letting others remain hauntingly unspoken. The rough finishes and cloudy hues of Kristiansen’s art suggest a world of incomplete knowledge, where inner spaces and outer shapes relate in ways that can only be hinted at. A complex story with a lot on its mind about the potential, consequences, and priorities of the intellect, told with prismatic focus. --Ian Chipman
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Product Details

  • Series: Genius
  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: First Second; 1 edition (July 9, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596432632
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596432635
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.3 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #904,635 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Steven T. Seagle is an American writer who works in the graphic novel/comic book, television, film, live theater and animation industries.

He is best known for his acclaimed graphic novel memoir IT'S A BIRD... and, as part of MAN OF ACTION Studios (along with Duncan Rouleau, Joe Casey and Joe Kelly) as co-creator of the animated Cartoon Network series BEN 10 as well as GENERATOR REX. MAN OF ACTION writes and produces ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN and AVENGERS ASSEMBLE for Marvel/Disney XD. Seagle and Rouleau also created the Marvel Comics super-hero team BIG HERO 6 slated to be a Disney animated feature film in 2014. Seagle's long awaited follow-up to IT'S A BIRD..., GENIUS, was recently published by First:Second.

MAN OF ACTION publishes its own original graphic novels through Image Comics. Seagle's works for the imprint include: Eisner-nominated spy thriller KAFKA; experimental historical graphic novel The Red Diary/The RE[a]D Diary; black comedy SOUL KISS; urban crime thriller THE CRUSADES; and children's books FRANKIE STEIN and BATULA.

Seagle also worked extensively for DC Comics/Vertigo creating the original series HOUSE OF SECRETS and AMERICAN VIRGIN. In mainstream comics, Seagle wrote both SUPERMAN and UNCANNY X-MEN as well as many other franchise characters.

Seagle's comics work has received numerous Eisner Award nominations, including twice for best writer - in 1995 for his work on SANDMAN MYSTERY THEATRE(DC/Vertigo) and in 1999 for the same title and his story "Drive By" in ONI DOUBLE FEATURE #10 (Oni Press). Seagle's work on AMERICAN VIRGIN was nominated twice for the GLAAD Media Award for Best Comic Book. Seagle's run on UNCANNY X-MEN was awarded the Wizard Fan Award for Favorite Ongoing Series. His original graphic novel SOLSTICE was called the best graphic novel of the year by Comic Book Resources.

Seagle has sold original concepts as feature films to Warner Brothers, television pilots to FOX and animation series to Mainframe. He is also a founding member of Speak Theater Arts, creators of innovative live stage productions. His writing/directing credits include the comedies N*W*C (www.NWClive.com)and ARMENIAMANIA! (www.armeniamania.com). Seagle co-directed the Los Angeles national premiere staging of THE LARAMIE PROJECT: AN EPILOGUE with a celebrity cast and Gay Mens Chorus Los Angeles. He designed the set and logo for the national tour of the stage version of IT GETS BETTER.

Seagle is a former college instructor and taught at Ball State University, Pasadena City College and Mt. San Antonio College where he also served as a coach for the Forensics team during many of their national championship seasons.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Sam Quixote TOP 1000 REVIEWER on July 13, 2013
Format: Paperback
Ted Halker is a physicist with a genius level intellect. As a child he was skipped ahead several grades because of his above-average intelligence. As a teenager, he imagined wild theories about the universe and went on to get his physics degree at a prestigious school. Cut ahead a couple decades and Ted is now middle-aged, married with a teenage son and a pre-teen daughter, with his elderly and sick father-in-law living with them too.

Ted's working at a scientific journal and the promise he showed as an early 20-something starting out on his physics career, following in the footsteps of his hero, Albert Einstein, has all but gone. But he's been treading water too long - he needs to come up with a big idea to keep his job. And he really needs to keep his job for the health insurance now that his wife's been diagnosed with a brain disorder. Then he finds out his father-in-law knew Einstein back in the 1930s and Albert told him - and only him - an earth-shattering idea...

I found this book a bit contrived to fully enjoy - Ted idolises Einstein and then finds out that his father-in-law knew Einstein and that he told him something he told no-one else. Not that we find out what that idea is, because we don't, just take it as read that this senile old man has remembered it clearly and repeats it to his son-in-law at just the right moment that he needs a big discovery to keep his job. It's all so very convenient!

The book makes a point of differentiating between brain knowledge and heart knowledge, and that Ted has plenty of brain knowledge but not enough of the other. Knowledge as opposed to knowing. Guess what he learns more about at the end of the book? That and his wife having a brain disease all felt like very heavy-handed storytelling.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Project Mythology et al on December 16, 2013
Format: Paperback
When Ted, a brilliant physicist finds himself in the middle of a crisis which involves a sick wife in need of medical treatment and a pending review at work that could mean the end of his financial security, all that he needs is a brilliant idea. One similar to that of another genius who changed the way world understood our universe. Genius, whom the world recognizes as Albert Einstein. Considering the fact that his father in law knew Einstein and may be even became privy to some of Einstein’s secrets makes him restless. Could he convince his father in law to share that secret?

Genius is an exploration in to the life and mind of a brilliant scientist. Ted all throughout his childhood has been better than the rest. Excelled at every scholarly attempt and labelled a genius. The process however has taken away his childhood and the simple pleasures of growing up and discovering things the slower, natural way. It’s been an expidated childhood and youth to a certain extent. Now he is nearing middle age, a devout husband and a father of two, his life after the initial fast innings has slowed down. His work is going nowhere as he has intellectually hit a wall. The constant demand from his superior to come up something new is taking its toll on him. Through the brilliantly sketched images we get to enter into Ted’s world and into his mind which for some reason has Einstein looming large.

At outset it sounds like a very simple story but a closer examination reveals a work of artistic brilliance. A review would do no justice to the images that are suitably subdued by colour but made all the more powerful by their brilliant detailing and very crisp narration. The sections with Ted and his son are among the bests in the book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Andy Shuping on July 10, 2013
Format: Paperback
Ted Marx is a genius. Not like when your mom says that your baby brother is a genius cause he figured out how to work the iPad at the age of three, but a real one. He skipped grades in school and he's a quantum physicist at a think tank. But lately...everything is beginning to overwhelm him. He's having trouble making the next big leap at his job, he's being passed over by the younger kids, his kids are growing up way too fast, his wife is seriously ill, and his father-in-law who is senile lives with them. What's a genius to do? But then...he discovers that his father-in-law knew Einstein himself! And even more than that Einstein shared his greatest discovery with him. Can Ted get the secret for himself? And if he can...what will he do with it?

For such a short book Steven deals with a lot of complicated topics ranging from aging in-laws, illness, being smart but not smart enough, and most importantly of all...what do you do when you've been told the greatest secret known to man? It's like the parable of the gold pieces from the Bible, but in this case letting the secret go to seed maybe the best thing to do with it. This is the question that Ted struggles with, all the while trying to deal with normal life and the pressures of his job. And it's the story's greatest strength. We see Ted as neither a hero, or a villain, or even someone to aspire to be like. He's just...like the rest of us, struggling to deal with life and everything that is thrown at him. There is no neat and tidy ending with this book. No question is every truly answered and we don't know what Ted may do with the secret. Instead the book is just like the real world...gray and unclear, with hints of light.

One of the things I struggled the most with this book were the illustrations.
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