Graphic Witness

Graphic Witness : Four Wordless Graphic Novels

4.03 (203 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

"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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Product details

  • Paperback | 424 pages
  • 187.96 x 259.08 x 35.56mm | 1,383.45g
  • Ontario, Canada
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 300 b+w illustrations
  • 1554072700
  • 9781554072705
  • 190,802

Review quote

[Selected as one of the "Best Reference Books of 2006"] [Selected as one of the "Outstanding Academic Titles" for 2006] [Selected as one of the "2007 Outstanding Reference Sources" by RUSU, The Reference and User Services Association of the ALA.] [Starred review] Notable for its numerous color photographs, accessible language, and relatively simple-to-use identification keys. [STARRED REVIEW] Simply bigger, prettier, and more comprehensive than any previous publication on insects... useful to amateur and professional alike Jaw-dropping collection ... sets the standard for how to present anew the important but lesser-known classics of graphic fiction's past Provides a rare glimpse into the beginnings of the art form. If you're... interested in the craft of relief carving, then you really owe it to yourself to get this book. In a market glutted with pituitary cases in spandex, [this] reintroduction of real life concerns is a necessary tonic. Powerfully compelling ... full of meaning and emotion... Rush out and buy it, for it is not to be missed!--John Arkelian"Artsforum" (09/30/2008) Walker [mentions] that these artists were figures of suspicion to J. Edgar Hoover's FBI.... Nothing could speak better of them.--George Fetherling"Seven Oaks" (12/19/2007) For the person who loves books and novelty and contemplation.--Lois Cooper "Muskoka Today " A high-minded, serious art form that transcends the barriers of language while still telling a story.--Philip Marchand"The Toronto Star" (08/19/2007) Insider knowledge of the craft [and] his clear affinity for the spirit of these works make [Walker] the perfect presenter.--Bob"artblogbybob.blogspot.com" (01/08/2008) Walker's introduction gives intriguing technical and sociopolitical insights... All fascinating stuff and, overall, a feast for the eyes.--Anne Desmet"Printmaker vol 27 no 1" (01/01/2008) A dazzling compendium...Perhaps the only way this book could be better is if it were the first of a series.--Eric Lorberer"Rain Taxi Review" (05/01/2008) Indispensable...an excellent example of the wordless novel and its potential to provoke critical thought in its audiences.--Dale Jacobs, University of Windsor"Papers of the Bibliographical Society of Canada, V" (02/01/2009) [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. [starred review] [A] jaw-dropping collection ... 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. Deeply political, these beautiful, quasi-expressionist woodcut narratives remind us how stark and chilling suffering seemed. 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. 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.--Philip Marchand"The Toronto Star" (08/19/2007) 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!--John Arkelian"Artsforum" (09/30/2008) 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.--George Fetherling"Seven Oaks" (12/19/2007) While the stories are all tragic, the art is spectacular.--Annie Boulanger"The Recofd (New Westminster BC)" (12/15/2007) This book is a treasure trove for the knowledgeable artist and the historian.--Carol Ohlin"Quebec Home and School News" (09/01/2007) 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.--Alex Good"The Guelph Mercury" (10/13/2007) 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.--Alex Good"The Record" (10/13/2007) [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.--Lance Eaton"Curled Up With a Good Book (www.curledup.com)" (11/19/2007) Graphic Witness is a collection of novels ... that say eloquently in pictures what words often struggle to convey.--Ken Simmons"The Telegram (St. Johns, NF)" (09/30/2007) 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.--Bob"artblogbybob.blogspot.com" (01/08/2008) 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.--Eric Lorberer"Rain Taxi Review" (05/01/2008) 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.--Dale Jacobs, University of Windsor"Papers of the Bibliographical Society of Canada, V" (02/01/2009)
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About Lynd Ward

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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Rating details

203 ratings
4.03 out of 5 stars
5 35% (72)
4 39% (80)
3 19% (39)
2 5% (11)
1 0% (1)
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