Friday, October 7, 2011

Graphic Witness – Four Wordless Graphic Novels

So those of you reading this blog lately know I’ve been reading through some of the ultra-early graphic novels.  So when I found out about this book with works by Frans Masereel, Lynd Ward, Giacomo Patri, & Laurence Hyde I was pretty stoked to get a taste of the work of some other folks working in silent woodcut novels.  I was especially excited by Masereel who more or less seems to be where the long form wordless graphic novel starts.  Masereel interestingly has the most primitive style & while it looks cool I felt the piece in here (The Passion of a Man) really took a lot of imagination on the part of the reader to turn it into a narrative.  I felt the same way about the amount of imagination required to make a cohesive story out of Patri’s White Collar & Wild Pilgrimage is not Ward’s strongest piece.  Hyde’s Southern Cross is unquestionably the most successful as far as being sequential art in here, even though the story it tells about the US taking over an island in the south Pacific may be the least interesting one.  In the end I’m really glad this book wasn’t the first I read about this type of book or I would have abandoned the genre without ever having read Ward’s Gods’ Man & I’m a bit confused why this book exists not having used the most critically acclaimed pieces by Ward & Masereel as the introductory samples of their work.
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