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Age of Bronze, Vol. 1: A Thousand Ships Paperback – April 1, 2001

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Shanower won 2001's Will Eisner Comics Industry Award for Best Writer/Artist for this extraordinary project: the first part of a seven-volume graphic novel about the Trojan War. He has researched every imaginable source about the war, from ancient legends to medieval romances to contemporary scholarship, and synthesized them into a fantastically rich narrative. He's also delved deep into the architectural history of Mycenaean Greece, so that the dress and settings in the book look like Bronze Age artifacts, rather than the Classical Greek styles normally associated with the story. The book begins with the story of Paris, the milk-white bull and the kidnapping of Helen, and goes up to the start of the war Shanower still has a ways to travel before touching the material of the Iliad. He treats the material as historical fiction rather than mythology, as a tale of people, not of gods, though the supernatural aspects of the story are worked in through dreams and visions. Shanower subtly alters his visual style for every flashback sequence: when Priam relates the story of Herakles, the images are cartoonish and the characters larger than life. His dialogue is formal but not florid, and the narrative flow is clear and simple. But the story also has many amazing scenes for an artist the erotic entanglement of Achilles and Deidamia, the feigned madness of Odysseus, the launching of the thousand ships to rescue Helen and lay waste to Troy and Shanower makes the most of them, with a fine-lined style in black and white drawings evoking woodcuts and classical paintings.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Image Comics (April 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1582402000
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582402000
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 7 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #497,104 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Eric Shanower is the Eisner Award-winning and New York Times best selling cartoonist of Age of Bronze, a graphic novel retelling of the Trojan War. Age of Bronze is a work in progress. Four volumes have been published and the story is more than one-third complete. When finished, Age of Bronze will tell the entire story of the legendary war at Troy, weaving into one the many tellings and permutations of the story throughout the centuries.

As a child, Shanower fell in love with the Oz books by L. Frank Baum and their illustrations by John R. Neill. Shanower decided to write and illustrate his own Oz books someday. Goal accomplished. Shanower's long list of contributions to the world of L. Frank Baum's Oz includes Marvel Comics' Eisner Award-winning, New York Times best selling current adaptations of Baum's Oz books with cartoonist Skottie Young.

Shanower is the writer of the comic series Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland with art by Gabriel Rodriguez. This series resurrects Winsor McCay's classic comic strip Little Nemo in Slumberland for a modern audience.

Shanower's illustrations have appeared in magazines, in childrens books, and on television. His comics have been published around the world and include such works as his Oz graphic novel series (currently collected as Adventures in Oz), An Accidental Death with writer Ed Brubaker, The Elsewhere Prince with writers Moebius and R-JM Lofficier, and the introductions to Harlan Ellison's Dream Corridor. He resides in San Diego with his partner. When he's not writing or drawing, he's often swimming, dancing, or reading, usually not all at the same time.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Lawrance Bernabo HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on June 12, 2003
Format: Paperback
"A Thousands Ships" is the first volume in a projected seven part series titled "Age of Bronze," in which Eric Shanower intends to tell the entire story of the Trojan War. Volume 1 collects the first nine issues of the comic book saga, beginning with Paris herding cattle on the slopes of Mount Ida and ending with the thousand ships of the Achean fleet supposedly sailing off to Troy to fetch back the face that launched them, namely Helen. The first part of the volume tells of how Paris learned that he was really Alexander, Prince of Troy, and after he abducts Helen the second half tells of how the Achean host was assembled, including wily Odysseus and the young Achilles.
As a person who still collects comic books and teaches Classical Greek & Roman Mythology I can appreciate the problems that Shanower has to deal with in telling this timeless tale. In the past I have taught a giant unit on the Trojan War in which students had to read the stories about the Judgment of Paris and the Abduction of Helen from Edith Hamilton's "Mythology," the Euripides play "Iphigenia at Aulis," Homer's "Iliad," the Fall of Troy from Virgil's "Aeneid" and then continued with the story of Agamemnon in the "Orestia" by Aeschylus. Greek mythology is, as Shanower notes, hopelessly convoluted and contradictory, which means making all the stories fit together impossible. Shanower solves this Gordian knot by establishing ages for his characters with an eye towards how old they will be at the end of the Trojan War.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By S. Gustafson on July 8, 2001
Format: Paperback
Graphic novelist Eric Shanower here presents a stunning interpretation of the age of the Trojan War in this, the first of a proposed seven-volume set of tales covering the events from the judgment of Paris to the fall of Troy. This one, the first, covers the judgment of Paris, the abduction of Helen, and the mustering of the Greek forces at Aulis.

The attention to historical detail is well researched and convincing. The Trojans are convincingly placed within the cultural orbit of the Hittites and Anatolians, making the Trojan War simultaneously a clash of cultures and a geopolitical struggle as well as a jilted husband's quest for revenge. Supernatural elements and the presence of gods and goddesses are deliberately understated in order to focus on the human element. The characterisations of the protagonists are vastly assisted by the graphic novel format. Paris comes off as cocky and chaotic; Odysseus, a crafty elder statesman among the Greek kings; and Achilles is a pretty-boy, convincingly able to hide among the women at Skyros. Each character is drawn as an individual human being in the outstanding line art.

It is especially welcome to see a literary interpretation of a mythological subject that seems minimally influenced by bogus notions out of turn of the century anthropology from Sir James Frazer, Robert Graves, and their followers. Instead, as the author-artist's afterword makes clear, current scholars have been consulted in the framing of this tale, and Dr. Manfred Korfman is singled out as having influenced this envisioning of the period. This is a beautiful book. I am eagerly awaiting the next of the series.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 18, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book is absolutely marvelous, a rewarding example of just how good a graphic novel can be and what a fine medium it is. Shanower's research is meticulous, his storytelling is very fine and his draughtsmenship makes him among the best illustrators working today. Shanower is wonderful. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who does, or doesn't read comics. This faithful and beautiful retelling of the Trojan War would not only delight teen readers, it would also be of great interest to adults. It brings life and energy to the tale of Paris and Helen and presented the story to me in a way that made me appreciate it as never before. Don't pass up a chance to get this terrific book. This is not hype. This is a very fine piece of work!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A reader on December 24, 2004
Format: Paperback
I have to confess - I have never read a comic book before and the only reason I got this was for research on the Bronze Age, since it seems the author did a lot of research to make all the drawings historically accurate, and I wanted to get a lively visual of their lives.

I am getting all that, and to my surprise, I am getting much more! I never imagined it would be good or entertaining, but I have to say I am so impressed by Shanower's skill. His drawings are wonderful, capturing people and keeping those images through multiple expressions and emotions he puts them through. The dialogue is interesting and at times even funny. I am so amazed that by several small snapshots he's able to relate so much more than what is right there. The characters and story come to life.

I think this is an absolute work of genius. He is both an artist, author, and story-spinner of top caliber. I will actually read the whole thing, when that wasn't my plan at all - need I say more?
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