The New York Times
Satchel Paige: Striking Out Jim Crowby James Sturm, Gerald Early (Introduction), Rich Tommaso (Illustrator)
Baseball Hall of Famer Leroy "Satchel" Paige (1905? 1982) changed the face of the game in a career that spanned five decades. Much has been written about this larger-than-life pitcher, but when it comes to Paige, fact does not easily separate from fiction. He made a point of writing his own historyand then re-writing it. A tall, lanky fireballer, he was arguably the Negro League's hardest thrower, most entertaining storyteller and greatest gate attraction. Now the Center for Cartoon Studies turns a graphic novelist's eye to Paige's story. Told from the point of view of a sharecropper, this compelling narrative follows Paige from game to game as he travels throughout the segregated South.
In stark prose and powerful graphics, author and artist share the story of a sports hero, role model, consummate showman, and era-defining American.
The New York Times
Brief segments from Hall of Fame pitcher Satchel Paige's life make up part of this graphic novel, including his storied career, his larger-than-life personality, and his on-field antics. Fictional ballplayer Emmet Wilson's story is also told. Wilson, the narrator, hurts his knee as a young player in the Negro Leagues after getting a hit off Satchel Paige. His career ruined, Wilson puts baseball out of his mind and returns home to his family and to a job as a sharecropper. The novel jumps between Paige's baseball career and high-flying life to Wilson's difficult existence and struggles with the Jim Crow laws of the thirties and forties. Paige later comes to Wilson's town to play a game against Wilson's bigoted bosses. The pitcher's performance ultimately gives Wilson and his young son hope and inspiration as to what one can become despite tough times and circumstances. This brief graphic novel packs a punch. The title may throw off readers as it is not strictly a Satchel Paige biography. It is both a well-written and a well-researched story of not only baseball but also of the segregated times that African Americans faced. The black-and-white artwork is simple yet dramatic, and both the words and the art mesh wonderfully together. Ultimately Wilson's story and the history of the times are more engaging than the baseball scenes. This book promises to be widely read and is made to order for middle school boys. Reviewer: Jeff Mann
April 2008 (Vol. 31, No. 1)
Gr 8 Up
Satchel Paige, the great pitcher who flourished both in the Negro Leagues and the Major Leagues, gets his own graphic novel. Told in flashback, the story takes place during the Jim Crow days where baseball was a genteel pastime, with the elderly seated under shady grandstands while black players abided the sickening and arbitrary restrictions placed on them. A period piece rather than a biography, the narrative captures the daily action of sporting contests against local racists and Paige's dignity and resilience. Baseball and small-town Southern life are both slow paced, and this title moves slowly too-frames depicting Paige tying his shoelace or pitches that go for balls may seem out of place, but they set the pace and mood for this affecting look into a near forgotten way of life. The stylized art is an absolute gem, resembling Chris Ware's work, with many repeated images and sequential frames that change only slightly across the page. Paige's mystique as a lifelong survivor in the brutal world of early- to mid-20th-century race relations and sport will attract readers. The depiction of what daily life was like during this period is the real subject of this title, and it should be a marvelous discovery for teens.
John LeightonCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- Product dimensions:
- 6.75(w) x 10.25(h) x 0.50(d)
- Age Range:
- 10 - 12 Years
Meet the Author
James Sturm's graphic novel The Golem's Mighty Swing was named "Best Comic 2001" by Time Magazine. In 2004, his Marvel Comics graphic novel Unstable Molecules won the prestegious Eisner Award. James' writings and illustrations have appeared in scores of national and regional publications, including The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Onion, The New York Times, The LA Weekly and on the cover of the The New Yorker. James is the co-founder and director of The Center for Cartoon Studies, America's premiere cartooning school, located in White River Junction, VT.
Rich Tommaso has been writing and drawing original comics and graphic novels for over ten years. He has worked for such publishers as Fantagraphics Books, Top Shelf Productions, Dark Horse Comics, Chronicle Books, and Alternative Comics. He has received accolades from many magazines and trade papers, including Publisher's Weekly, Spin Magazine (which did a full page spread about his debut graphic novel, Clover Honey), Wizard Magazine, The CBG, and The Comics Journal. Rich lives in Vermont.
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