Starred Review. French artist Tardi revisits World War I, the subject matter of his phenomenal It Was the War of the Trenches. He takes a new approach to his subject matter, and his art has evolved in the 15 years since his earlier masterpiece, but the details of the conflict remain grim. Tardi proceeds chronologically, showing how Europe marched into a pointless, brutal war—a conflict in which millions died to no great purpose, leaving nothing but mud and ruins across great swaths of the continent. Tardi's palate becomes increasingly depleted as his story develops, reflecting the dire circumstances of the hapless conscripted soldiers manning the front lines. As hope and sense drain from the world, so too does color, with the art fading to a grim monochrome. Also included is an illustrated chronology of World War I, provided by historian Verney. Tardi's skills as an artist are rivaled only by his skill as a writer; he vividly conveys the horrors and sheer waste of the Great War. This new translation allows English-speakers to discover Tardi's remarkable work. (Aug.)
*Starred Review* Tardi’s It Was the War of the Trenches was released in the U.S. in 2010, but it’s been 15 years since its completion, a gap of time that proves Tardi’s passion and anger over WWI has not dampened in the least. This spiritual sequel uses an unnamed Parisian soldier’s hardboiled, heartbroken narration (there is no spoken dialogue) to take the reader through six years of hopelessly indistinguishable trenches, explosions, corpses, mud, and maggots, all of it depicted via three panoramic panels per page rendered in smoky grays and foggy blues—with blood accents (“pieces of human flesh settled like red snowflakes”). Multiple encounters with the same German soldier provide a ghost of a story line, but primarily this carries the wandering tone of a shell-shocked young man writing an unfocused letter home, swinging from pure pining to furious condemnation: “It was always the same old song—to the tune of human bones being tossed into the meat grinder.” The pages are strewn with images of dead bodies and midexplosion terrors, but the unforgettable centerpiece is two wordless pages of disfigured postwar faces. Verney’s closing illustrated chronology of French involvement in the war provides a firm base to this tale of an Everysoldier who acknowledges from the start, “I’d make a perfect fatality.” --Daniel KrausSee all Editorial Reviews
Never has a graphic novel stuck such a chord and such a poignant time (WW1 Centenary) as this novel, equally more so when read in conjunction with his other masterpiece 'it was the... Read morePublished 6 months ago by MR W.
Enjoyed this thoroughly, as I did his earlier work. Mr. Tardi captures the feel of the great war very completely.Published 7 months ago by Dirk Winebarger
This volume contains the story of a French soldier during WWI. It is an excellent companion to almost any novel about the war, but especially
Fear: A Novel of World War I by... Read more
Haunting imagery. It's terrific to have a French perspective for oncePublished 19 months ago by Michael Conrad
Tardi returns to World War I, an almost forgotten war (almost all of people alive today was spared of this stupid war, but we must not forget its stupidity and absurdness)... Read morePublished 21 months ago by Gino Palladino