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Graphic Witness: Four Wordless Graphic Novels by Frans Masereel, Lynd Ward, Giacomo Patri and Laurence Hyde
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Graphic Witness: Four Wordless Graphic Novels by Frans Masereel, Lynd Ward, Giacomo Patri and Laurence Hyde

by George Walker (Editor), Frans Masereel, Lynd Ward, Giacomo Patri, Laurence Hyde
 

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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

Overview

"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.

Editorial Reviews

artblogbybob.blogspot.com - Bob
Regardless of place or time, these artists speak in a silent way through pure imagery against the oppression of the weak by the strong, and offer some hope for a brighter future ... ambiguities and gaps that beg the reader to fill in the details comprise just one of the great pleasures of these graphic novels, which paradoxically carry a greater power for not using words.... Himself a woodcut artist, Walker clearly and illuminatingly explains many of the intricacies of the art... Walker's insider knowledge of the craft as well as his clear affinity for the spirit of these works makes him the perfect presenter of their art.
The Toronto Star
A high-minded, serious art form that transcends the barriers of language while still telling a story.
— Philip Marchand
Goethe-Institut
Provides a rare glimpse into the beginnings of the art form.
The Record
Themes of social justice predominate, but it is the passion and craft of the artwork that makes the greatest impact.
— Alex Good
Georgia Straight
Deeply political, these beautiful, quasi-expressionist woodcut narratives remind us how stark and chilling suffering seemed.
Seven Oaks
Walker [mentions] that these artists were figures of suspicion to J. Edgar Hoover's FBI.... Nothing could speak better of them.
— George Fetherling
Artsforum
Powerfully compelling ... full of meaning and emotion... Rush out and buy it, for it is not to be missed!
— John Arkelian
The Guelph Mercury
Themes of social justice predominate, but it is the passion and craft of the artwork that makes the greatest impact.
— Alex Good
Muskoka Today
For the person who loves books and novelty and contemplation.
— Lois Cooper
Quebec Home and School News
This book is a treasure trove for the knowledgeable artist and the historian.
— Carol Ohlin
latereviews.blogspot.com
In a market glutted with pituitary cases in spandex, [this] reintroduction of real life concerns is a necessary tonic.
The Recofd (New Westminster BC)
While the stories are all tragic, the art is spectacular.
— Annie Boulanger
Curled Up With a Good Book (curledup.com)
[This] collection will have many awestruck and amazed... the magnificence of these stories is in their medium.
— Lance Eaton
artblogbybob.blogspot.com
Insider knowledge of the craft [and] his clear affinity for the spirit of these works make [Walker] the perfect presenter.
— Bob
Canadian Woodworking
If you're at all interested in the craft of relief carving, then you really owe it to yourself to get this book. The engravings are simply beautiful, and thankfully the plates are shown large enough that you can see a lot of finer detail. You'll also find that the stories the four artists tell us are timeless.
Printmaker vol 27 no 1
Walker's introduction gives intriguing technical and sociopolitical insights... All fascinating stuff and, overall, a feast for the eyes.
— Anne Desmet
Rain Taxi Review
A dazzling compendium...Perhaps the only way this book could be better is if it were the first of a series.
— Eric Lorberer
The Toronto Star - Philip Marchand
There you have your classic wordless graphic novel — a high-minded, serious art form that transcends the barriers of language while still telling a story, a visual treat that doesn't get too arty, a political message that packs a punch. No wonder interest in the form is on the rise.
Muskoka Today - Lois Cooper
For the person who loves books and novelty and contemplation.
The Guelph Mercury - Alex Good
Beautiful and large-format collection ... Themes of social justice predominate, but it is the passion and craft of the artwork that makes the greatest impact. Anyone who is interested in today's graphic novels will find it particularly worth a look, though the appeal of such work is universal.
The Recofd (New Westminster BC) - Annie Boulanger
While the stories are all tragic, the art is spectacular.
Seven Oaks - George Fetherling
Walker makes the point that these artists were figures of suspicion to J. Edgar Hoover's FBI and other arms of the US government in the first half of the twentieth century. Nothing could speak better of them.
The Telegram (St. Johns, NF) - Ken Simmons
Graphic Witness is a collection of novels ... that say eloquently in pictures what words often struggle to convey.
Artsforum - John Arkelian
Whoever said that a picture is worth a thousand words must have had Graphic Witness: Four Wordless Novels, edited by George A. Walker in mind. These wordless novels by four of the world's greatest woodcut artists are powerfully compelling — both in their sheer visual impact and in the universal resonance of the stories they tell. They tell of injustice, oppression, and despair, but also of defiant endurance and the dream of a better world. Their striking black and white images are full of meaning and emotion, making this one of the most elegantly engrossing books of recent months. Rush out and buy it, for it is not to be missed!
Quebec Home and School News - Carol Ohlin
This book is a treasure trove for the knowledgeable artist and the historian.
www.latereviews.blogspot.com
[A] treasure trove ... In collecting these rare and seminal works, Walker and Firefly Press [sic] have done an invaluable service exposing newer readers to the form in its infancy. In a market glutted with pituitary cases in spandex, the reintroduction of real life concerns is a necessary tonic.
Curled Up With a Good Book (www.curledup.com) - Lance Eaton
[This] collection will have many awestruck and amazed at works few people even know about... The majesty of this book lies in the four stories themselves.... the magnificence of these stories is in their medium. The amount of information communicated in each panel is amazing.
Printmaker vol 27 no 1 - Anne Desmet
Walker's introduction gives intriguing technical and sociopolitical insights... All fascinating stuff and, overall, a feast for the eyes.
Rain Taxi Review - Eric Lorberer
A dazzling compendium... In addition to the novels themselves, editor George A. Walker provides a terrific Preface and Introduction....Perhaps the only way this book could be better is if it were the first of a series, for these four works surely just scratch the surface (so to speak) of th e vast number of wordless novels worthy of reprint.
Papers of the Bibliographical Society of Canada, V - Dale Jacobs
These four texts represent some of the most important wordless novels of the first half of the twentieth century and their reprinting makes them readily available for the first time in an affordable edition. Those interested in sequential art, printmaking, book art, and the convergence of these forms with social-justice issues should take note of this collection. [It is] indispensable for anyone engaged in the study of comics and graphic novels.... Each of these texts is an excellent example of the wordless novel and its potential to provoke critical thought in its audiences.... In bringing these texts together in a beautifully presented and affordable volume, Graphic Witness has not only done a great service to anyone interested in sequential art, print-making, and book art, but to anyone interested in ways to approach social-justice issues and cultural critique.
Publishers Weekly

In his afterword to this jaw-dropping collection of early, little-known wordless graphic novels, cartoonist Seth asserts that rather than being seen only as a link between early comic strips and today's graphic novels, these stories stand powerfully on their own. The proof is in the stark appearance produced by wood cuts and lino-engraving and the themes in these once-controversial works: social unrest, the plight of the downtrodden worker and the oppression of the weak by the strong. Masereel's The Passion of a Man(1918) tells a modernist Christ story in 25 dark pictures, while Hyde's Southern Cross (1951) is a pastoral tragedy about Pacific islanders caught up in the U.S. Navy's A-bomb testing. Ward's Wild Pilgrimage(1932) is a passionate aria to the human spirit, threatened with crushing death by the specter of soulless factory work and cruel bosses. Patri's White Collar(1939) is the real standout; on the surface it's a simple story about a commercial artist fighting to keep his family going, but ending as a stunning validation of the dignity of man. Handsomely printed and bound and smartly edited, this book sets the standard for how to present anew the important but lesser-known classics of graphic fiction's past. (Sept.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781554072705
Publisher:
Firefly Books, Limited
Publication date:
08/18/2007
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
424
Sales rank:
692,472
Product dimensions:
7.00(w) x 10.00(h) x 1.37(d)

Meet the Author

George A. Walker is an award-winning wood engraver, book artist and illustrator. He is an associate professor at the Ontario College of Art and Design, and the author of The Woodcut Artist's Handbook.

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