Minor Miracles by Will Eisner
|Minor Miracles by Will Eisner|
|Category: Graphic Novels|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: Jewish folklore is born from urban gossip and the unusual amongst the everyday, in this short story collection. Definitely one to relish.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 128||Date: September 2009|
|Publisher: W W Norton and Co|
This short story collection starts with two appetisers before getting on with two main courses, but as with the best meals even the smallest dishes can have the most depth. We start with the entire life cycle - rise, fall, rise, fall - of a hobo feeding pigeons in the park. Obviously he hasn't been doing that all his years - he's been keeping his dignity intact, with a huge amount of chutzpah and more. Next, a smart Alec defeats the older kids on the stoop with a bit of canny street wisdom.
The mains are certainly worth the cover charge, as well. The neighbourhood is affected by a strange, wordless young man, with unusual - and happily good - things seemingly following him around. Then a deaf young lady, struck mute, marries a disabled man, with the help of nagging mothers, and a blessing from a free diamond wedding ring.
The charming depth to the stories here shows in greater and minor detail what could extend gossip into urban myth and folklore. People become heroic, famous, otherwise noted - whether temporarily or permanently. Will Eisner has done this before - made a graphic collection of tales from the city, but here the theme works with his eye for variety to provide for a very pleasant volume.
This is not hindered at all of course by an artist who had found his metier long before this release. We can tell he could just as easily draw rustic rurality, alien landscapes, or superheroes, but are more than thankful he doesn't. (Especially as The Spirit, his early comic strip with a supernatural detective, is very naff from a 2009 viewpoint.) Instead we get a lovely clarity of expression, with just a few lines and seemingly painted shading and tones, that makes for some of his wittiest, prettiest, and best artwork.
This certainly deserves pride of place, alongside his own New York : The Big City, and The Dreamer as a classic from this artist. For further reading, it looks and feels very different to Eisner, but I cannot think of much better than Brian Wood's Demo.
I must thank W W Norton's kind people for my review copy.
You can read more book reviews or buy Minor Miracles by Will Eisner at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Minor Miracles by Will Eisner at Amazon.com.
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