Wednesday, June 6, 2012

On "God's Man" by Lynd Ward ****

The Library of America's release of Lynd Ward's six graphic novels caused me to pick this one up just because I was curious and because what I saw of Ward's work--all woodcuts--was remarkable (a few samples can be found here). God's Man is the first of Ward's picture books (there are no words), and it is a simplistic and moralistic tale. Still, without words, it takes a little extra attention to know exactly what's going on. I think of it as a different kind of reading, akin to reading stream of consciousness--you're not being told everything that happens. You have to intuit from the pictures what the plot is.

But Ward makes it easy enough to do in this tale. The main character is an artist who essentially sells his soul in order to gain success. Along the way he meets a woman who turns out only to be after money. When things go badly, he escapes to life alone in the mountains and finds a good wife, has a child, and then pays for his early folly when the soul comes to be collected.

I won't go into great detail more. That's already been done and better by others. If you want to know more, for example, there's a great article in Slate on the topic, which you can find here.

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