Johnny Appleseed

by Paul Buhle and Noah Van Sciver

Johnny Appleseed, Green Dreamer of the American Frontier is the first scholar-based comic art biography of the legendary John Chapman. Chapman/Appleseed, an early follower of theologian Emanuel Swedenborg in the New World, made himself famous by spreading the seeds of apple trees from Pennsylvania to Indiana. Along with apple trees, he offered the seeds of nonviolence and vegetarianism, good relations with Indians and peace among the settlers themselves.

The story of John Chapman operates as a kind of counter-narrative to the glorification of violence, conquest, “winning of the West” in the story of Westward movement, and points up many of the half-myths of Johnny Appleseed’s own life and work. His apples, for instance, were prized for many reasons but mainly the making of hard cider, portable alcohol. His method of operation was a form of land speculation, purchasing potentially fertile (such as “bottom land”) acres on contract, planting saplings, and reselling the land, then moving onward.

He had less interest in becoming prosperous—this is an accurate part of the mythology—than in spreading the gospel, his own gospel, based on visions of peace and love. Best-selling author Michael Pollan has brought back “Johnny” in prose and lectures, Johnny Appleseed: Green Dreamer of the American Frontier brings his life, his story and its importance, back in comic form.

112 pages
8.5 by 12.25 inches
Black & White Hardcover
Alternative Comics
In Stores: October, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-68148-534-8
Diamond Code: AUG161120