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Six Novels in Woodcuts

4.52 of 5 stars 4.52  ·  rating details  ·  151 ratings  ·  16 reviews
From the eve of the Great Depression to the start of World War II, Lynd Ward (1905 1985) observed the troubled American scene through the double lens of a politically committed storyteller and a visionary graphic artist. His mediumthe wordless "novel in woodcuts"was his alone, and he quickly brought it from bold iconographic infancy to subtle and still unrivalled mastery.


Paperback, 1408 pages
Published October 14th 2010 by Library of America
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Nov 28, 2011 Mike rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: comics
A great treasure. Work of extraordinary narrative richness and unflagging social conscience. I just wish I could afford to actually own it.
Erik Erickson
I highly recommend this to anyone who's into the history of comics as a medium or fans of German Expressionist film. This Library of America edition is really high quality and the introduction by Art Spiegelman and the essays by Ward are fantastic.

The best here is definitely Vertigo which is Lynd's last and longest work. It succeeds wonderfully in fulfilling the ambitious depth of story first attempted in Madman's Drum (which was overly complicated and failed in conveying story and character dev
I tried to portion these out, because it doesn't take very long to read each one. But the work that went into them! I think woodcuts are my favorite art, next to wooden sculpture. I'm glad that this was a very thoughtful holiday gift to me, because now I can go back again and again.
"Reading" these wordless novels is a surprisingly fulfilling experience to the dedicated reader. You might consider them a paper version of an intertitleless silent movie: a graphic novel with no dialogue. Still, quite powerful. Characters, interestingly enough nameless and regularly placeless without any expository elements to explain, develop and grow and change and betray and are betrayed. They have complex emotional responses to their situation. If anything, the storylines kind of let down t ...more
This set is a beautifully bound collection of six graphic novels by Lynn Ward. All of them were written (or carved to me more precise -- they're wordless woodcuts) between 1929 and 1937. The artwork is stark, beautiful and verges on socialist realism -- except instead of the heroic workers and artists triumphing, they are typically depicted as being crushed by what Ward portrays as soulless capitalism, authoritarian police states, and simply fate. Although I didn't recognize any particular image ...more
Rodney Welch
By general consensus, Lynd Ward (1903-1985) is the American godfather of the graphic novel, and one of the few whose work lives up to the title. He worked without a net, creating six “novels without words” told entirely through stark, black-and-white woodcut images.

They are novels of gut-punch populism; Depression-era stories etched in bold strokes, where people fight for survival in a restless society dominated by labor strikes, bread lines and the threat of war. Ward’s people are caught in the
Oliver Bateman
This two-volume LOA edition of Lynd Ward's six evocative woodcut novels also contains helpful short essays by Ward on each work, the excellent chronology section found in all single-author LOA publications, and a snarky and somewhat unhelpful preface by Art Spiegelman that rehashes material that is treated better in Ward's own essays. Susan Sontag was right to include Ward's Gods' Man among her "random" list of camp objects, as the artist's earnest approach and grand guignol effects lead him, at ...more
Michael O.
Beautiful. Amazing. Innovative. Enthralling.

-1 star because:

Zach Cohen
Ward writes in the closing essays of these volumes, "The individual who "reads" a pictorial narrative should feel completely free to develop jos own interpretation and end up with something that is right for him." Yet the zeitgeist that Ward does capture, if not the intricacies of the plot, are spectacular. The drawings are simply beautiful and a real work of art.
Ramey Moore
There's nothing that can be said about these novels that doesn't sound like hyperbole. There's no reason to NOT read these 6 novels, strong emotive and affective art, story that seems all the more complex and beautiful when under analysis. Lynd Ward's achievements will stand up as some of the strongest artistic statements of the 20th century.
This is a spectacular presentation of Ward's novels, scholarly apparatus and all. The highest recommendations.
Dec 18, 2010 Josh rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2010
Finished with my first read-through, but I'm sure I'll be coming back to it for years to come.
Pop rocks in a mud bath for the eyeballs.
George Walker
A nice collection of the masterful work of Waard
Dec 25, 2010 Mariana marked it as to-read
Santa was good to me. :)
Mr 5x5
Masterpieces, all.
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