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21: The Story of Roberto Clemente Hardcover – April 12, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Fantagraphics Books; Original edition (April 12, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1560978929
  • ISBN-13: 978-1560978923
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #775,711 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Santiago makes the sport exciting for even the most die-hard anti-baseball lout, but more importantly reminds us of the man behind one of the most inspirational figures in sports.” (Garrett Martin - Paste)

“[A] reverent, yet sometimes playful look at the man and what he had to go through to get where he did.... Santiago’s art is cartoonish, yet expressionistic and appealingly loose. [...] He really captures the action of the game very well… it’s really some daredevil storytelling at times.” (Johnny Bacardi - Popdose)

“Santiago avoids the traditional traps of being too staid, didactic or reverential, creating a book that shows us what made the Pittsburgh Pirates member so special without feeling like a history lesson. It’s a book that’s both fun as well as informative.” (Chris Mautner - Robot 6)

“Starred Review. Nearly every page brings a new compositional marvel… The in-game sequences… are show-stoppers… [F]or a book that matches the pure athleticism, unshakable compassion, and towering legacy of its subject, look no further.” (Booklist)

“Wilfred Santiago's 21 is brilliant and beautiful, challenging and lyrical ... which seems exactly right, as Roberto Clemente was all those things and more.” (Rob Neyer - ESPN.com)

“Santiago uses black and white and some yellow-orange fill-ins, but really that’s all he needs. His style is clean, ranging in depiction of Clemente throughout the years to religious leaders to baseball action scenes ... Santiago does Clemente proud with 21.” (David A. Kirschenbaum - Boog City)

“The comic book biography is alive and well in 21: The Story of Roberto Clemente... 21 captures what made Clemente unique. However, Santiago uses the medium of the comic book in a unique way to tell the story of man who represents the best of us. [Grade] A-” (Leroy Douresseaux - I Reads You)

“It's an artistic tour de force and shows that bio comics do not have to be the stolid, one step at a time narrative that we often see. ...21 is an excellent book... Clemente is every bit the important figure in baseball history that Robinson was, and more people need to know his story. 21 is an excellent place to start, either for you or the baseball fan in your life.” (Rob McMonigal - Panel Patter)

“Exuberantly expressive... Santiago imbues his biography of famed Puerto Rican baseballer Roberto Clemente with the furious energy of a Clemente triple.” (Noel Murray - The A.V. Club)

“The simple joy conveyed in this book is universally appealing... Baseball is a game that is full of life and story, and every year the game blooms in the spring with the trees and flowers of the season. 21: The Story of Roberto Clemente celebrates life, and new life, as much as it does baseball.” (Andy Frisk - Comic Book Bin)

“More than anything, ...21 is a book of huge ambition and formal daring. The storytelling is kaleidoscopic… But for all his overt displays of (admittedly dazzling) technique, Santiago never loses track of his story. [...] 21: The Story of Roberto Clemente is a mammoth achievement...” (Jack Feerick - Kirkus Reviews)

“Lusciously realised in sumptuous earth-tones and powerfully redolent of the spirit of Unjust Times A-Changin’, this is a fabulous book for every fan of the medium and not simply lads and sports-fans.” (Win Wiacek - Now Read This!)

“Santiago… creates a well-balanced, yet striking, portrait of the man and his times. This is a book to be enjoyed by teens and adults, baseball fans, and anyone who wants to read an epic story.” (Largehearted Boy)

“A must read for anyone awed by the beauty of the sport.… This graphic novel seeks to give a proper sense of wonder and the fantastic to a player whose tragic ending is often a stark reminder or our own mortality. At that it succeeds terrifically.” (Andy Smith - Bugs & Cranks)

“…[A]s those of you who are familiar with the great baseball player and humanitarian that Roberto Clemente was already know, it would be hard to tell his story in any media and for that story not to be powerful. ...21 ... is a handsome production... [and] an... EXCELLENT graphic novel.” (Ralph Mathieu - Ich Liebe Comics!)

“Wilfred Santiago captures the physical grace of baseball and creates a story of visceral and emotional force... Santiago… has produced a rich and surprising work. The compositions and framing are intricate and varied… Santiago captures Clemente's relentless vitality as a player, frames the story around the historical and religious traditions of Puerto Rico, and handles Clemente's tragic death with restraint, all with a gimlet eye and the sensitivity of a true artist. It is a classic story given new life in this fresh, innovative telling.” (Alex Belth - Sports Illustrated)

“The graphic novel is a beautifully wrought Clemente collage… While there were several poignant dramatic through lines, the book’s strength lies in its brilliant visuals, which far outweigh its strictly biographical content…. The oral tradition of myth-making is put into visual form here.” (Ted Walker - Pitchers & Poets)

“What Santiago has done is to create a sketch of Clemente’s life as he actually led it, not as the legend he became…. Even more impressive is the way Santiago tells this story. His gorgeous illustrations... perfectly capture the period… This is a book to be pored over, not read straight through.” (Mark Flowers - School Library Journal)

“...Santiago has managed to capture both aspects of Clemente -- the legend and the human being....” (Michael Machosky - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

“It's a rocket. It's a plane. It's a bird. No, it's Roberto Clemente! ...It is an attractive book for all ages.” (Pedro Zayas - ESPN Desportes (translated))

“The world around [Clemente] is alive, and Santiago’s expressive (and occasionally, bracingly expressionistic) approach to portraying Clemente’s wild athletic genius ensures that it remains thrillingly present.... [A] fitting and vital tribute.” (David Roth - Los Angeles Review of Books)

“An astoundingly beautiful book. As great as a graphic novel can be.” (Mark Chiarello, author of Heroes of the Negro Leagues)

About the Author

Wilfred Santiago was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico. He now lives in Chicago.

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Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

Santiago makes the visuals as exciting as his story.
David Klingenberger
After reading this piece I felt a new connection to Puerto Rico, Roberto Clemente, Will Santiago and graphic novels.
Yeah Yeah
Whether you have never read a book on Clemente, or you have read ten books on Clemente, you will enjoy this book.
Nate David Berger

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kevin M. Greenstein on July 6, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Beautiful illustrations, and a really nice synopsis of the great Roberto Clemente's life inside and outside of baseball. Must-read for baseball fans, and Pirates fans in particular.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By JC on June 23, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
what a interesting way to tell the story of one of baseball's great. i was totally engaged throughout the entire book. with dynamic images and a compelling story this is a home run.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By B. Petty on June 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I am giving this five stars because my 10 year old son is so hard to buy books for. He has not put this down for 45 minutes straight and still going. I will leave another review after I read it myself. ;-)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 8, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The art for Clemente is fantastic. Santiago does a beautiful job illustrating the characters of the stories and the images of baseball in action. The landscapes of Puerto Rico are wonderful and the page layout is modern and interesting. As a piece of art, this book easily deserves 5 stars and I would absolutely recommend it to any baseball fan, artist, or graphic novel enthusiast. My only complaint is that the story is overly fractured, and skips over pivotal moments in Clemente's baseball and philanthropic careers. Overall, a nice little book that would make an excellent addition to any graphic novel or baseball library.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. Hundley VINE VOICE on May 1, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As an only very occasional reader of graphic novels, or graphic non-fiction, I have no real basis, nor any desire, to try to view this terrific little book in relation to other graphic works. All I can tell you is that I thoroughly enjoyed it. Not really a biography in in any literal sense of the term, it does paint an interesting portrait of the life and times of this fascinating and admirable man. I also have never read a standard biography of Clemente (though I am more motivated now than I was before I read this), so I cannot say precisely how much liberty Santiago may or may not have taken.

What I can say is that this is a lovely, lively and very idiosyncratic look at Clemente, his childhood, his growing up and his adult life as one of baseball's all-time greats and greatest symbols of its once status of more-than-a-game. Santiago's style is fluid, muscular and light at the same time. His pictures dance and breathe and bleed from one frame, one page, to the next with grace and style. The book is a joy to look at. It's pretty good to read, too.

My only real complaint is that, maybe by design, Clemente never quite emerges as a three dimensional person (no pun intended). For all the breath-taking artistry on display, this remains an essay, a sort of prose poem to Clemente. I admit this may be my problem, not the book's - it in no way claims, or seems to intend, to be documentary. But I still wanted just a little more flesh. The only thing that kept me from clicking five stars instead of four.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By BEN on February 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Very entertaining and full of Clemente history lessons. A must-read for any Pirate fan. I met the author at a book-signing and it was clear that he cares very much about this topic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. B. Ness, Ph.D. on April 23, 2012
Format: Hardcover
"Well-written and lively..."21" is an intelligent, well-informed and illustrative look into the life of one of baseball's best ambassadors, Roberto Clemente."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By jjfbond on April 19, 2012
Format: Hardcover
You look through this once and your eyes are immediately grabbed to the beautiful art work. You look through it again and you are easily bonded to the story and themes of the graphic novel. If you are like me and enjoy graphic novels you will love this one. I never knew I could enjoy a sports graphic novel. I place this graphic novel right next to my other favorites graphic novels such as: The Dark Knight Returns, Watchmen. It is a great read. I look forward to the next work(s)from Mr. Santiago's journey. He is definitely someone I will look forward to seeing more creative work from in the future!
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