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Last Day in Vietnam (2nd edition) Hardcover – March 19, 2013

3.8 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Dark Horse Books; 2 edition (March 19, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616551208
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616551209
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #974,992 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

WILL EISNER was born on March 6, 1917 in Brooklyn, New York. By the time of his death on January 3, 2005, Will Eisner was recognized internationally as one of the giants in the field of sequential art, a term he coined.

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.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Last Day in Vietnam gives the impression of a documentary recorded on a sketchpad rather than film. Eisner, a World War II veteran, is in Vietnam as a reporter. We see his visit to the country through his eyes, as if they were a camera lens. We hear the words of the people he meets, but never hear or see Eisner. We are not privy to his thoughts. He simply records what he sees and edits it for impact.

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.
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Format: Hardcover
It should come as no real shock that a comic by Will Eisner is a work of genius. This is, after all, not just the guy who set the bar high but the guy who created the bar in the first place. But with a pedestal so high Eisner runs the risk of joining the company of James Joyce, Ingmar Bergman, and Chris Ware--people admired and respected, but only actually read by scholars and connoisseurs.

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.
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Format: Hardcover
World War 2 was Will Eisner’s war though his association with the military would last for decades. He turned instructional manuals into comics to make them easier to read for army personnel, and his work took him to new theatres of war like Korea and Vietnam in the 1950s and 60s. In one of his last books, Last Day in Vietnam, he revisited these warzones to tell some brilliant short stories of the people he met.

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.
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Last Day in Vietnam (2nd edition)
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