Comic - Will Eisner (4 stars)

Will Eisner

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New York: Life in the Big City (WW Norton)

COLLECTION

The rediscovery of the mighty Will Eisner continues with this lovingly bound collection of more New York stories. Out of the four sections, there are actually only two graphic novels here - The Building and Invisible People. The former, is a withering and moving account of the lives of past occupants of a landmark building (all too clearly based on the Flatiron Building), while the latter is Eisner’s first venture down Dropsie Avenue and it’s ill-fated selection of characters (a follow up, which became part of the A Contract with God trilogy followed two years later).

New York: The Big City and City People Notebook are basically sketch and vignette work. But Eisner can say more on human frailty and fallibility in one frame than most. As Neil Gaiman points out in his mercifully short introduction, on this evidence, there can be no doubt that Eisner is ‘an American storyteller, like Ray Bradbury, like O Henry, unashamedly populist while creating stories for a populace who were not there to read them, not yet.’

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