This two-volume boxed set collects the six woodcut novels, each composed of a single wordless image per page, that Ward created in the 1920s–30s, from the first, oddly apostrophied Gods’ Man to the triumphantly bleak, dissertation-worthy Depression tale Vertigo. In his entertaining and perceptive introduction, Spiegelman attests that Ward “is one of only a handful of artists anywhere who ever made a ‘graphic novel’ until the day before yesterday,” and it is indeed likely that acolytes of comics and visual narrative will be the most rewarded by this collection. Ward’s work is dense with the stark symbolism of an expressionist and predominantly concerned with the nature of art, on one hand, and the prevailing social and labor issues of the day, on the other; the miscues he makes in clapping these two hands together are often as revealing as his successes. Elegant, harsh, ambitious, flawed, and deeply fascinating—if not for the themes Ward explored, then certainly for the painstaking channels he carved into a new medium. --Ian Chipman
About the Author
Art Spiegelman is a cartoonist who first came to attention in the early 1980s as editor of the magazine Raw. His books include the Pulitzer Prize-winning Holocaust story Maus, Maus II, and In the Shadow of No Towers. He lives in New York City with his wife and two children.