Gods' Man

Gods' Man

Madman's Drum ; Wild Pilgrimage

Graphic Novel - 2010
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In this, the first of two volumes collecting all his woodcut novels, The Library of America brings together Lynd Ward's earliest books, published when the artist was still in his twenties. Gods' Man (1929), the audaciously ambitious work that made Ward's reputation, is a modern morality play, an allegory of the deadly bargain a striving young artist often makes with life. Madman's Drum (1930), a multigenerational saga worthy of Faulkner, traces the legacy of violence haunting a family whose stock in trade is human souls. Wild Pilgrimage (1932), perhaps the most accomplished of these early books, is a study in the brutalization of an American factory worker whose heart can still respond to beauty but whose mind is twisted in rage against the system and its shackles.

The images reproduced in this volume are taken from prints pulled from the original woodblocks or first-generation electrotypes. Ward's novels are presented, for the first time since the 1930s, in the format that the artist intended, one image per right-hand page, and are followed by five essays in which he discusses the technical challenges of his craft. Art Spiegelman contributes an introductory essay, "Reading Pictures," that defines Ward's towering achievement in that most demanding of graphic-story forms, the wordless novel in woodcuts.
Publisher: New York, N.Y. : Library of America, [2010]
Copyright Date: ©2010
ISBN: 9781598530803
Branch Call Number: 741.5973 W214G 2010
Characteristics: xxv, 833 pages : illustrations ; 20 cm


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IndyPL_SteveB Dec 21, 2018

If you are interested in the history of the graphic novel or in woodcuts, these fascinating books should be high on your list to examine. Ward is more well-known today as a popular illustrator of books for children. He won a Caldecott Award for *The Biggest Bear* But in his much younger days, he published six wordless picture-novels for adults which were very influential in the formation of the graphic novels of a generation later.

These two volumes are quite interesting from both an art point of view and an historical one. This first volume contains: *Gods’ Man* is a Faust story about an artist who is given a magic paintbrush by a mysterious character. *Madman’s Drum* is about an African drum that a slave trader acquired by murder and how it destroys three generations of a family. *Wild Pilgrimage* is deeply psychological and harder to follow.

This double-volume edition from The Library of America also includes a very informative introductory essay by Art Spielgelman (author-artist of the *Maus* graphic novels) and several essays by Ward himself concerning these books and the history of woodcuts in book printing.

Mar 28, 2014

Before there were graphic novels, before comics were read by adults and at a time when "pictorial narratives"(Ward's term) were a novelty, Lynd Ward made a series of extraordinary, wordless woodcut novels, which are now collected in this handsome 2 volume set from the Library of America. Heavily allegorical and influenced by both by older masters like Durer and contemporary German expressionist films ("Nosferatu," "Cabinet of Dr. Caligari"), Ward's books are a uniquely immersive experience. This edition includes three novels, short essays by Ward and an introduction by Art "Maus" Spiegelman. A welcome rediscovery.


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