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Last Day in Vietnam (2nd edition) Hardcover – March 19, 2013
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More About the Author
In a career that spanned nearly eight decades - from the dawn of the comic book to the advent of digital comics - Will Eisner was truly the 'Father of the Graphic Novel' and the 'Orson Welles of Comics.' He broke new ground in the development of visual narrative and the language of comics and was the creator of The Spirit, John Law, Lady Luck, Mr. Mystic, Uncle Sam, Blackhawk, Sheena, and countless others.
During World War II, Will Eisner used the comic format to develop training and equipment maintenance manuals for the US Army. After the war this continued as the Army's "PS Magazine" which is still being produced today. Will Eisner taught Sequential Art at the New York School of Visual Arts for 20 years. The textbooks that he wrote were based on his course and are still bestsellers. In 1978, Will Eisner wrote "A Contract with God," the first modern Graphic Novel. This was followed by almost 20 additional graphic novels over the following 25 years.
The "Oscars" of the Comic Industry are called The Eisner Awards, and named after Will Eisner. The Eisners are presented annually before a packed ballroom at San Diego Comic-Con, America's largest comics convention.
Wizard magazine named Eisner "the most influential comic artist of all time." Michael Chabon's Pulitzer-prize winning novel "Kavalier and Clay" is based in good part on Eisner. In 2002, Eisner received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Federation for Jewish Culture, presented by Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist Art Spiegelman.
"Like" the Official Will Eisner Facebook Page and visit www.WillEisner.com for more information about Will Eisner.
Top Customer Reviews
In the first story, Eisner is escorted by a major who has drawn the easy escort duty because it's his last day in Vietnam. The job turns out to be less safe than the major expected it to be. In the second story, Eisner observes a group of war correspondents with the help of a Vietnamese guide. No words are used to tell the third story, about a man who was wounded because he trusted a Vietnamese woman, and who didn't learn his lesson. The next one, set in the Korean War, is notable for its characterization of the soldier who narrates the tale. A vignette about a tough talking soldier who regularly visits an orphanage is followed by a sad story about a soldier who wants to transfer from a clerical assignment to combat -- but only when he's drunk.
This isn't Eisner's best work but it captures moments of truth in a couple of insane wars. Some black-and-white photographs, including a striking image of wounded soldiers, supplement Eisner's distinctive art. This is a must for the Eisner completist but Last Day in Vietnam will also appeal to anyone who wants to view the horror, irony, and truth of war from an artist's perspective. If I could, I would give it 4 1/2 stars.
And that would be a shame. I'll admit it's been awhile since I've read an Eisner comic, and I'd forgotten how good they are. Instead of being just "great," Eisner's comics also enjoyable to read. I once read Roger Ebert describe Orson Welles as the most watchable of the "great" directors, and I feel the same way about Eisner. He may be a genius, but he is a good genius. He speaks to the common human experience with simplicity and without much decoration.
I picked up "Last Day in Vietnam" because I am currently translating another war memoir, Mizuki Shigeru's Showa 1926-1939: A History of Japan. I thought it would be interesting to see how an American master of comic art treated a similar subject matter. Title aside, Eisner actually covers three wars in this short 80-page book--WWII, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. After all, war is horrible, but it does make for good stories.
The difference--and unique genius of Will Eisner--is apparent right from the start. Mizuki Shigeru is telling his story of the war, his personal trials and tribulations, moral dilemmas and their consequences. There is always a barrier there, between author and reader. Eisner, on the other hand, somehow manages to tell your story of the war.Read more ›
The title story is the longest, a point of view tale where the reader is escorted by a soldier on his last day in Vietnam before returning to America. We see the infrastructure, the dead faces of the soldiers in the field, the terrifying explosions on the horizon, the beauty and the menace of the jungle, and the constant threat of death everywhere. And yet it’s not all doom and gloom as Eisner mixes in some light humour and a few sharply observed portraits of the men he met.
The other stories are brief snapshots of soldiers, told with a virtuoso eye for comics storytelling. The Periphery sees a man stagger into a bar after seeing his son blown up in front of him, though he doesn’t speak and is also tucked away in the corners of the picture, or the periphery of the page. The dialogue and the focus is on the group of jaded journalists talking about the war.
The Casualty is a silent comic (possibly because the main character has been deafened) who recounts sleeping with a Vietnamese hooker only for her to get up when he was asleep, slip a live grenade under his bed and run off, crippling him. Ever the romantic, he nevertheless finds another Asian woman to be with by the end!
A Dull Day in Korea looks at a southerner who talks about hunting back home in America and how he misses being with his dad on those hunts.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Again, wonderful resource and update on Combat artists, and what they went into after war. HERO ALERT!!!Published 2 months ago by Randall Laue
I do not know the author and his work. So I quite disappointed that it was not non-fiction written book. Not into that type.Published 5 months ago by Elaine D Ebel
An incredible understanding of the real issues surrounding the Vietnam War and the hypocrisy of it all. Not to mention to shocking waste of human life over political ideology.Published 10 months ago by Km! Ra
I don't know why, but I was expecting more. A hardcore collector might appreciate this book, however for the disjointed collection of very brief stories the price is exorbitant. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Gary L. Pinkston
I can’t really complain about this book, but it’s not what I was expecting. I heard of a new documentary film with a similar title. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Charles G.