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"If you care about graphic novels, you need this book." - New York Times best-selling author Neil Gaiman Graphic Witness features rare wordless novels by four great 20th-century woodcut artists European and North American. The stories they tell reflect the political and social issues of their times as well as the broader issues that are still relevant today. Frans Masereel ( "If you care about graphic novels, you need this book." - New York Times best-selling author Neil Gaiman Graphic Witness features rare wordless novels by four great 20th-century woodcut artists European and North American. The stories they tell reflect the political and social issues of their times as well as the broader issues that are still relevant today. Frans Masereel (1899-1972) was born in Belgium and is considered the father of the wordless graphic novel. Graphic Witness includes the first reprint of his classic work, The Passion of a Man, since its 1918 publication in Munich. American Lynd Ward (1905-85), author of the provocative Wild Pilgrimage, is considered among the most important of wordless novelists. Giacomo Patri (1898-1978) was born in Italy and lived in the United States. His White Collar featured an introduction by Rockwell Kent and was used a promotional piece by the labor movement. Southern Cross by Canadian Laurence Hyde (1914-87) was controversial for its criticism of U.S. H-bomb testing in the South Pacific. An introduction by George A. Walker places each wordless novel in its context and examines the influence of these works on contemporary culture, including film, comic books and contemporary graphic novels. Graphic Witness will appeal to readers interested in social issues, printmaking, art history and contemporary culture.


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"If you care about graphic novels, you need this book." - New York Times best-selling author Neil Gaiman Graphic Witness features rare wordless novels by four great 20th-century woodcut artists European and North American. The stories they tell reflect the political and social issues of their times as well as the broader issues that are still relevant today. Frans Masereel ( "If you care about graphic novels, you need this book." - New York Times best-selling author Neil Gaiman Graphic Witness features rare wordless novels by four great 20th-century woodcut artists European and North American. The stories they tell reflect the political and social issues of their times as well as the broader issues that are still relevant today. Frans Masereel (1899-1972) was born in Belgium and is considered the father of the wordless graphic novel. Graphic Witness includes the first reprint of his classic work, The Passion of a Man, since its 1918 publication in Munich. American Lynd Ward (1905-85), author of the provocative Wild Pilgrimage, is considered among the most important of wordless novelists. Giacomo Patri (1898-1978) was born in Italy and lived in the United States. His White Collar featured an introduction by Rockwell Kent and was used a promotional piece by the labor movement. Southern Cross by Canadian Laurence Hyde (1914-87) was controversial for its criticism of U.S. H-bomb testing in the South Pacific. An introduction by George A. Walker places each wordless novel in its context and examines the influence of these works on contemporary culture, including film, comic books and contemporary graphic novels. Graphic Witness will appeal to readers interested in social issues, printmaking, art history and contemporary culture.

30 review for Graphic Witness: Four Wordless Graphic Novels

  1. 5 out of 5

    Helen

    This volume contains four wordless graphic novels, as well as an introductory essay by George Walker and afterword by Seth. Some of these works were suppressed for political reasons, because they were produced at a time of struggle - the 1930s - and one of them contains a scene that was for me at least too graphic: The decapitation by the struggling protagonist of "Wild Pilgrimage" of the sadistic overseer with the killer holding up the decapitated head afterwards. This was too much for me, sinc This volume contains four wordless graphic novels, as well as an introductory essay by George Walker and afterword by Seth. Some of these works were suppressed for political reasons, because they were produced at a time of struggle - the 1930s - and one of them contains a scene that was for me at least too graphic: The decapitation by the struggling protagonist of "Wild Pilgrimage" of the sadistic overseer with the killer holding up the decapitated head afterwards. This was too much for me, since it reminded me of the horrible decapitation on video of the American in the Mid-East years ago - which was so horribly shocking at the time - and such cruelty is still so shocking. Right after the protagonist commits this grisly murder, though, he is in turn shot in the head by a cop and the final image shows him on the ground, with the stylized industrial plant in the background and his a woman grieving in the middle distance. He had never managed to last at any job he had, and his end was just as miserable as his entire working life had been. The art work throughout the book is top notch - each page contains one image, created by linocuts, using various tools - the process of producing such prints is explained in the introduction. The fact that there are no words makes no difference; these stories can be "read" in any language. Some of these works are akin to a movie storyboard - the action flows, and the reader or viewer can imagine the dialog - exactly as one can "fill in" dialog in a silent movie. There is no need to hear every line of dialog, because the action carries along the plot. This is even more so in these novels without words. This is a form of graphic novel which is not prevalent today, although the form was quite common years ago. The wordless novel format was ideal for stories critical of the bosses or the oligarch. All of the stories in this volume have some sort of social message. It is no wonder these works were banned under various regimes, not even allowed in the US at various times. I mentioned above the one scene in the four novels that I thought contained gratuitous violence; the remaining scenes do not contain this level of grisly violence - although lynchings are also portrayed in "Wild Pilgrimage." The working, struggling ordinary person is the hero - or even, an entire people: The final work deals with the residents of Bikini Atoll in the South Pacific which was evacuated before it was blown up by a hydrogen bomb by the US. The residents had to leave their idyllic paradise. Some who did not are then shown once the bomb goes off, with portions of their bodies flayed away, and other horrible ends - as they and all the wildlife around them all die in the blast. It is possible to "read" the book rather quickly since there is one image per page - one stark image that could actually stand alone as a work of art. The works are page turners since the reader wants to know what will happen next to the hero. These are works that are certainly eye-opening -they question the fundamentals of the capitalist system and militarism. No wonder they were suppressed.

  2. 4 out of 5

    John Pistelli

    This book, edited by George A. Walker, collects four wordless novels or picture novels of the early twentieth century. The picture novel is a form that flourished largely between the two world wars and was then forgotten except for a few devotees, most of them comics creators who saw in these visual narratives the forerunners of the modern graphic novel. And, as the graphic novel has risen to prominence, so the picture novels have been recovered. As the title of Graphic Witness implies, the auth This book, edited by George A. Walker, collects four wordless novels or picture novels of the early twentieth century. The picture novel is a form that flourished largely between the two world wars and was then forgotten except for a few devotees, most of them comics creators who saw in these visual narratives the forerunners of the modern graphic novel. And, as the graphic novel has risen to prominence, so the picture novels have been recovered. As the title of Graphic Witness implies, the authors of these picture novels conceived of themselves as moral chroniclers, depicting in vivid and iconic imagery the evils and passions of their time. Walker’s superb introduction charts a global movement that begins in Europe around the Great War, arrives in America in time for the Depression, and finds its way to Japan after World War II before working its way back to the West. The creators of this new form were, broadly, men of the left, protesting the brutalization of the worker under capitalism, the inhumane conditions of the modern metropolis, and the state/capital war-machine that set the workers of the nations at each other’s throats. (The political ambiguities of this interwar working-man’s leftism, with its idealization of blood and soil and its fear/adulation of the feminine, is discussed in my review of Lynd Ward’s Gods’ Man.) On top of that, Walker’s introduction also includes a set of informative sidebars on the technique of wood, linoleum, or lead engraving as employed by the creators of the picture novels. A brief afterword by the Canadian cartoonist Seth reflects on the relation of these picture novels to comics and, later, the graphic novel. His conclusion is a complex one: the picture-novelists themselves, he says, were obviously influenced by silent film and at pains to distance their work from the vulgar comic strip; yet their abortive ambition to create adult narratives using sequential art has been realized today in the form of the graphic novel—which is, aesthetically, in continuity with the comics tradition going back to the Yellow Kid that the picture novelists eschewed. This nuanced and somewhat counterintuitive interpretation seems right to me. To the books themselves: Frans Masereel, The Passion of a Man: The Belgian artist Masereel, later a friend of George Grosz and praised by Thomas Mann and Hermann Hesse, is considered the first major figure in the picture novel tradition. This brief narrative, which goes from a man’s birth in poverty to his execution as a revolutionary, is an allegory for the suffering of the individual in the modern world. Its title and its title page evoke the Passion of Christ as an analogue for man caught in the industrial machinery, though, as one image in the narrative makes clear by showing a cross hanging behind the court that sentences the hero to death, official Christianity is on the side of the oppressors. Masereel’s images are blocky and primitive, almost medieval, as befits his point of view on the subject matter; though broadly Expressionist, there is none of the modernist stylishness that will characterize later artists’ styles in their own woodcut novels. The hero is at several points refreshed by women—from his mother, who breastfeeds him behind a fence in her urban outcast state, to a lover who oedipally propositions him by displaying her own breast—and by nature and study—he decides to lead a revolt against the capitalists after brooding in the forest and then reading a book (never named—The Communist Manifesto? Bernie Sanders’s platform?). The narrative’s brevity and simplicity are at once its strength and weakness: it tells the moral truth without subtlety or pretension, yes, but are Masereel’s nobly suffering poor women, broodingly thoughtful working heroes, and bloodthirsty capitalist fatcats an adequate representation of the modern? The point is not to chide Masereel for lacking political nuance—which is not a legitimate aesthetic criterion—but to note the loss of interest that comes from his retailing of cliches. His ideas of good and evil are so utterly received, rather than imagined, that the book fails to live up to its passionate title. Lynd Ward, Wild Pilgrimage: This is a more surreal version of the story one finds in Masereel (and in Ward’s earlier Gods’ Man, irritatingly mis-titled God’s Man throughout Walker’s introduction). In this version of the “oppressed worker escapes/revolts” narrative, the worker’s fantasy sequences are printed in red, in distinction to the black ink that predominates. Ward’s woodcut technique is polished, owing as much to Art Deco as to Expressionism, with fine lines and iconic figures. Such artifice pleasingly contrasts with the novel’s “wild” depiction of nature as a free but threatening space—including the sexual nature of men. Ward’s superiority over Masereel and the other artists in Graphic Witness is indicated by Wild Pilgrimage’s final red-printed dream sequence, in which the worker-hero attacks the fatcat capitalist and decapitates him, only to find that he is holding up his own head. Which is to say: what if the external enemy posited by socialism and fascism alike is not external at all, but is rather the resentful projection onto others of our own appetites? (And how many sociopolitical movements of today would have to grind to a halt if their partisans seriously asked themselves that difficult question?) It is this psychological insight that sets Ward above the other merely political practitioners of the picture novel collected in this volume. He is less a witness than a prophet. Giacomo Patri, White Collar: This, a kind of pamphlet sponsored by organized labor, hammers home a fairly simple allegory about the economic fragility of the middle class, and the consequent benefits to that class of allying with the workers’ movement. (One imagines an organizer distributing it today to graduate students in the humanities.) Patri’s linocut art is as clear as it needs to be, if sometimes far too literal (as when a chain store helpfully called “Chain Store” drives the protagonist’s small shop out of business). The message remains relevant—if not necessarily unimpeachable—but this is propaganda, not art. Laurence Hyde, Southern Cross: This book, the only post-WWII text collected here, protests the testing of nuclear weapons at Bikini Atoll, and the consequent despoiling of that island’s environment and disruption of its inhabitants’ lives. But Hyde’s beautiful art—especially in his depiction of marine life—is in service to a sentimental allegory about “noble savages” that undermines rather than reinforces the book’s political message: would it somehow be better to nuke the Atoll if its inhabitants were a population of office workers or, dare I say, leftist woodcut novelists? Lovely art, though. In conclusion, this is a valuable historical compilation, but its contents, with the exception of Wild Pilgrimage, mostly belong to the history of propaganda rather than to the history of art—a timely warning to today’s politics-besotted generation of the dangers of political art, even as it also reminds us of lost possibilities for visual narrative. A blurb by Neil Gaiman on the back cover speaks of “the genius of Ward, Masereel, Patri and Hyde,“ but on the evidence of these four books, only Ward seems to merit such praise.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Cyndi

    Each one of these exquisitely rendered vignettes is full of depth, character, hardship, beauty and profundity. All with out one word to process. The linocuts are so detailed that the reader easily perceives movement and form. This book also contained one of the most beautifully crafted introductions I have ever seen. I think I will have to purchase this one. Repetitive reading is in my future.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lars Guthrie

    There’s a brand-new Lynd Ward anthology out, ‘Six Novels in Woodcuts,’ from the Library of America. It includes the justly acclaimed ‘God’s Man,’ as well as five other wordless picture books from this great American artist. It’s edited and introduced by Art Spiegelman. I found out about ‘Six Novels’ in the New York Times, where Steven Heller rather dismayingly notes that the work ‘collects all of Ward’s books.’ That’s terribly inaccurate, and does a disservice to Ward’s profuse output, especially There’s a brand-new Lynd Ward anthology out, ‘Six Novels in Woodcuts,’ from the Library of America. It includes the justly acclaimed ‘God’s Man,’ as well as five other wordless picture books from this great American artist. It’s edited and introduced by Art Spiegelman. I found out about ‘Six Novels’ in the New York Times, where Steven Heller rather dismayingly notes that the work ‘collects all of Ward’s books.’ That’s terribly inaccurate, and does a disservice to Ward’s profuse output, especially as an illustrator of children’s books. Even if Heller means only works where Ward is the sole author, he ignores two fabulous children’s books, the 1953 Caldecott Award winning ‘The Biggest Bear,’ still in print, and another wordless novel, the incredible ‘The Silver Pony.’ Ward was also working on a new wordless novel at the time of his death in 1985, which has been published in its unfinished state. Ward’s work is extraordinary and deserves this place in the canon. My library, however, has not yet stocked ‘Six Novels,’ a situation which I hope will be remedied soon. But when I searched for it, I noticed the library did have ‘Graphic Witness,’ a nice 2007 compilation of four pioneers in engraved wordless picture books who heavily influenced many of today’s graphic novelists, including Ward’s ‘Wild Pilgrimage.’ While it doesn’t have an editor with Spiegelman’s cachet, George Walker contributes an excellent introduction where he draws on his own expertise as a woodcut engraver and illustrator. And there’s an afterword by Seth. ‘Graphic Witness’ allowed me to finally view the seminal ‘Passion of Man,’ a mere twenty-five woodcuts that track a life story and a politically-charged tale of the disenfranchised working class. Franz Masereel produced this highly influential and powerful German work in 1918, and it sets the stage for three American stories: Ward’s 1932 piece, ‘White Collar’ by Giacomo Patri from 1939, and Laurence Hyde’s 1951 ‘Southern Cross.’ All are great examples of beautiful relief printing, socially conscious art, and wordless story telling. Hyde’s critical recounting of the atomic bomb test on Bikini Atoll was an especially wonderful surprise for me. If you admire Spiegelman, or perhaps are a fan of Eric Drooker, who collaborated on the movie ‘Howl,’ and created some amazing wordless books himself (‘Blood Song’ and ‘The Flood’) you should take a turn through ‘Graphic Witness.’ And anytime you see Lynd Ward’s name on an older children’s book, like ‘Johnny Tremain,’ check him out. A national treasure.

  5. 4 out of 5

    James F

    This collection contains four wordless novels: Die Passion eines Menschen (The Passion of a Man) [1918] 25 pages -- Masereel was a Belgian artist who worked mainly in France and was published mainly in Germany. This book is the biography of a labor leader from birth through childhood, working as a child laborer, being fired, being arrested for stealing food, becoming a radical, leading a strike, and being executed. Told in 25 woodcuts, this was the first of the "wordless novels", mostly in an Exp This collection contains four wordless novels: Die Passion eines Menschen (The Passion of a Man) [1918] 25 pages -- Masereel was a Belgian artist who worked mainly in France and was published mainly in Germany. This book is the biography of a labor leader from birth through childhood, working as a child laborer, being fired, being arrested for stealing food, becoming a radical, leading a strike, and being executed. Told in 25 woodcuts, this was the first of the "wordless novels", mostly in an Expressionist style, which influenced the later development of the "graphic novel." It is probably not a coincidence that the genre began around the same time as the silent cinema came to maturity, as both were attempts to narrate stories through visual images alone; although the novels outlived the silent screen, continuing into the fifties, their period of popularity was primarily the twenties and thirties. Lynd Ward, Wild Pilgrimage [1932] 102 pages -- Another story of a worker who becomes a farmer then returns to the factory to fall in a labor conflict, told in alternating real and dream sequences. In addition to his adult works, Ward was also an author and illustrator of children's books who won a Caldecott medal for illustrating his own book The Biggest Bear. Giacomo Patri, White Collar: Novel in Linocuts [1938] 128 pages -- Another wordless novel, this one deals with the story of a white collar worker (an advertising illustrator) who loses his job and his prosperity during the depression, and learns to consider himself as part of the working class movement. It was used as an organizing tool for white collar union efforts at the time. Laurence Hyde, Southern Cross: A Novel of the South Seas [1951] 122 pages -- Probably the last, or among the last, works in the wordless tradition of Masereel (until the tradition was "rediscovered" in the present age of the Graphic Novel. It tells the story of the evacuation of the Bikini Atoll for the atomic tests.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Steph Myers

    It's not warm and fuzzy. I sought it out, because I really liked the Arrival and was looking for more wordless graphic novels. This book is actually a compilation of four socio-politically focused graphic novels by four different engravers done at different time between 1918 and 1951. They take on the subjects of racism, class justice, nuclear testing and more. It's a great "read", especially for anyone who loves art. The beginning of the book talks about the techniques and tools used to make th It's not warm and fuzzy. I sought it out, because I really liked the Arrival and was looking for more wordless graphic novels. This book is actually a compilation of four socio-politically focused graphic novels by four different engravers done at different time between 1918 and 1951. They take on the subjects of racism, class justice, nuclear testing and more. It's a great "read", especially for anyone who loves art. The beginning of the book talks about the techniques and tools used to make the engravings and how tools and materials can create very different and distinct signature looks. The stories are not heartwarming. There are no happy endings, but given the timeframe they were "written" it's understandable. They were commentary. It would a great companion to teaching Grapes of Wrath or Metropolis.

  7. 4 out of 5

    David Schaafsma

    The first wordless stories I read were by Eric Drooker (Bloodsong), but after reading Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics it is clear that telling stories through pictures has a long, thousands-years-old tradition (think Bayeux tapestries, etc). So is Drooker doing a graphic novel? Beckett bemoaned (in Malloy?) "I gotta use words when I talk to you!" Not sure it matters except to academics how these things get categorized, but the four wood-cut based stories archived in this stunning collection The first wordless stories I read were by Eric Drooker (Bloodsong), but after reading Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics it is clear that telling stories through pictures has a long, thousands-years-old tradition (think Bayeux tapestries, etc). So is Drooker doing a graphic novel? Beckett bemoaned (in Malloy?) "I gotta use words when I talk to you!" Not sure it matters except to academics how these things get categorized, but the four wood-cut based stories archived in this stunning collection make it clear you don't need words to tell powerful stories about important issues. Amazing stuff, highly recommended.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Morgan

    Each one of these novels is utterly brilliant. To have them all together in one volume is an important study on the similarities and distinctions between some of the 20th century's early wordless woodcut authors. George A. Walker's overview provides fantastic insight into the techniques and tools that these and other artists used to make their work. And the work itself makes the reader thirsty for more!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Tyler

    I want to give this 5 stars, but as I didn't have time to actually "read" everything, that is, take in the story and spend time with each page, I don't feel like I can give it the full 5 stars. Maybe soon, when I finish the book. In any case, some of the most beautiful art I've seen, and a very interesting look at the beginning of comics.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Marissa

    Four masterful graphic novels, laboriously created through various print-making techniques. It is fascinating to realize how old some of these works are, although they have an incredibly modern look and message.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    A collection of four socially relevant woodcut books from the early 20th century, the books comment on the loss of social freedoms in Germany in the early 20th century, the struggles of workers, and the senseless destruction of the south-Pacific homes of island natives during the U.S.'s atomic bomb testing. Mostly, I'm just amazed by the art. It's hard to imagine how much work goes into a woodcut book, and they all look terrific. Hyde's in particular is beautiful, if heavy-handed in its presenta A collection of four socially relevant woodcut books from the early 20th century, the books comment on the loss of social freedoms in Germany in the early 20th century, the struggles of workers, and the senseless destruction of the south-Pacific homes of island natives during the U.S.'s atomic bomb testing. Mostly, I'm just amazed by the art. It's hard to imagine how much work goes into a woodcut book, and they all look terrific. Hyde's in particular is beautiful, if heavy-handed in its presentation of idyllic island life and depiction of American soldiers as callous brutes. There's a decently interesting if not particularly inspired introduction by editor George A. Walker, as well as a pointless afterward by cartoonist Seth.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Parker

    I bought this book for a graphic novel class, and assumed I'd sell it someone else next year. I wasn't planning to like it, but was impressed and surprised by how much I loved this book. It takes a bit to get into a flow of extrapolating the story, but hugely rewarding to piece it together. The art is also fantastic in most every story. I really loved this collection of stories although I think "White Collar" is among my favorite for having a very clear plot.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Freddy

    Four novels, concerning historical social and economic issues, told via relief-printing techniques/woodcuts.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jesse Richards

    Beautiful, but the stories were simplistic and one-note. Worst was the printing - a large book that used huge white margins, reproducing these beautiful woodblock prints at a relatively tiny size.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ian Hrabe

    A fascinating look at sequential art as socio-political agent for change.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Christopher

    These Stories don't have happy endings. phew.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Pablo

    Fascinating idea but lapses into monotony.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Garconniere

    Brilliant collection, with just enough context to immerse oneself in this gorgeous, underrated form of storytelling.

  19. 5 out of 5

    J.I.

    In truth, I don't find the wordless novel particularly compelling. I find it interesting, and these wood and lino books are gorgeously rendered, and quite powerful in their own way. Unfortunately, all of the artists, largely because of the need to render everything visually, tend towards hyperbole and simplicity in order to convey information, and so the gorgeous art becomes bogged a little too much with moralizing instead of telling human stories. Still, it is a collection of incredible art tha In truth, I don't find the wordless novel particularly compelling. I find it interesting, and these wood and lino books are gorgeously rendered, and quite powerful in their own way. Unfortunately, all of the artists, largely because of the need to render everything visually, tend towards hyperbole and simplicity in order to convey information, and so the gorgeous art becomes bogged a little too much with moralizing instead of telling human stories. Still, it is a collection of incredible art that shouldn't be forgotten (even if it largely was in our culture).

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jason

    i don't know why i'm not giving this five stars. It is supremely talented and amazingly capable and effective for what it does. Without words, you just concentrate on the aspects. The scenes effect one another to create an image of the story. The effectiveness of light as Kelly put it, "they are drawing with light." In that way, as normal drawing is basically negative(drawing shadows) these cuts are made from what is actually there and shown, the effectiveness of technique, the way lines are dra i don't know why i'm not giving this five stars. It is supremely talented and amazingly capable and effective for what it does. Without words, you just concentrate on the aspects. The scenes effect one another to create an image of the story. The effectiveness of light as Kelly put it, "they are drawing with light." In that way, as normal drawing is basically negative(drawing shadows) these cuts are made from what is actually there and shown, the effectiveness of technique, the way lines are drawn with light sputtering out or a face is drawn crassly or intelligently; the whole process is so involved it's draining. As all these stories are about atrocity, tragedy, uprising and inevitably doom. They are brilliant treatises on subtle emotion. And they are talented, beautiful and patient. i just don't want to give it five stars. They didn't blow me away. They are perfect, yes. But it's not mind-bending. It's mind-grating.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    The woodcuts in this book are impressive, powerful and emotional. And the narratives conveyed are engaging. The ability of these artists to tell their stories without words is interesting, but I couldn't help but feel each book would have been even more powerful with words rather than without. In each case, I felt something was missing, that the story never fully developed. I wonder if it isn't that reading a story into one or two pieces of visual art is satisfying but enlarging it into a book o The woodcuts in this book are impressive, powerful and emotional. And the narratives conveyed are engaging. The ability of these artists to tell their stories without words is interesting, but I couldn't help but feel each book would have been even more powerful with words rather than without. In each case, I felt something was missing, that the story never fully developed. I wonder if it isn't that reading a story into one or two pieces of visual art is satisfying but enlarging it into a book of 100+ images points out that there is a definite narrative intended, the nuances of which you fear you may be missing. Or maybe I'm just more of a word guy, although I do love the combination of woodcut and words with "The Man Who Planted Trees"

  22. 4 out of 5

    Nan

    George Walker did a great job of compiling four important "wordless novels". His introduction is clunky, but it does what it's supposed to do -- give a history and introduction to four important artists. Walker inserted a few pages on technique. He should have inserted a chapter or maybe four chapters for each artist. Are these wordless novels precursors to the modern cartoon or to today's graphic novels? Maybe. Maybe not. And maybe it's not an important question. Masereel, Ward, Patri, and Hyde George Walker did a great job of compiling four important "wordless novels". His introduction is clunky, but it does what it's supposed to do -- give a history and introduction to four important artists. Walker inserted a few pages on technique. He should have inserted a chapter or maybe four chapters for each artist. Are these wordless novels precursors to the modern cartoon or to today's graphic novels? Maybe. Maybe not. And maybe it's not an important question. Masereel, Ward, Patri, and Hyde were amazing artists and important witnesses to some of the horrors of the early 20th century. They should not be forgotten. I'm glad Walker put together the book.

  23. 5 out of 5

    David Lester

    Graphic Witness: Four Wordless Graphic Novels edited by George A. Walker. In my family it was Twenty Vacationless Years. Okay, once we went to Penticton, but I remember nothing of it. My summers consisted of riding my bannana-seated bike to play in the ravine and looking at art books. Years later, this collection of powerful prints by Frans Masereel, Lynd Ward, Giacomo Patri and Laurence Hyde served as a visual inspiration for my graphic novel. The kind of inspiration that a vacation is supposed Graphic Witness: Four Wordless Graphic Novels edited by George A. Walker. In my family it was Twenty Vacationless Years. Okay, once we went to Penticton, but I remember nothing of it. My summers consisted of riding my bannana-seated bike to play in the ravine and looking at art books. Years later, this collection of powerful prints by Frans Masereel, Lynd Ward, Giacomo Patri and Laurence Hyde served as a visual inspiration for my graphic novel. The kind of inspiration that a vacation is supposed to give you.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Peacegal

    By far, the best story was "White Collar," which exposes the lie behind the "anyone can be rich, if you work hard enough" ethic of our society. In reality, most of us are just one disaster away from personal ruin, and it's incredible how quickly our veneer of comfort can slip away. The other stories I didn't care for as much.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ian

    These wordless novels are great. The time and energy taken to make the series of pictures, the depth of expressiveness to carry stories are fine. The introduction by Walker, and the afterword by Seth are well worth the read, too.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    Graphic Witness is a drab, boring presentation of four wordless graphic novels which might have been hugely influential in their time, but rightly fell out of fashion for their polemical approach and self-importance

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kajsa

    Wordless graphic novels are a crazy medium to me, I can't decide if I like them or not. That said this collection is definitely worth... "reading"? Looking through? Anyway, White Collar was by far my favorite but all 4 are interesting

  28. 5 out of 5

    Meakin Armstrong

    humbling how a story can be told without words...

  29. 4 out of 5

    Karl

    Incredible history, instruction, social context, inspiring artwork. I truly enjoyed every story and every detail in this fascinating introduction to this graphic form.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Frank

    Beautiful woodcuts...apparently, using 'em is soley the property of hardcore socialists though.

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