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Graphic Witness: Four Wordless Graphic Novels by Frans Masereel, Lynd Ward, Giacomo Patri and Laurence Hyde Paperback – Sep 14 2007

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Paperback: 424 pages
  • Publisher: Firefly Books; Reprint edition (Sept. 14 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1554072700
  • ISBN-13: 978-1554072705
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 3.5 x 25.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #367,990 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. 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 © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


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 2008-09-30)

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 2007-12-19)

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 2007-08-19)

For the person who loves books and novelty and contemplation. (Lois Cooper Muskoka Today)

This book is a treasure trove for the knowledgeable artist and the historian. (Carol Ohlin Quebec Home and School News)

Provides a rare glimpse into the beginnings of the art form. (Goethe-Institut 2007-09-18)

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 2007-10-13)

[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. (

While the stories are all tragic, the art is spectacular. (Annie Boulanger The Recofd (New Westminster BC) 2007-12-15)

[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. (Publishers Weekly)

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April 26, 2015
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