Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Invisible People
Will Eisner
DC Comics (The Will Eisner Library)


You see them everyday on the streets and, at the same time, are unaware of their full existence. These are the obscure personalities you run into on your way to work or school, passing you by as quickly as passing thoughts, leaving no trace in your mind as to who they are or what they’re about. These are, to us, invisible people.

Invisible People is the first-ever Will Eisner book I’ve read, containing three stories about three people whose lives spiral down into the stuff of afterthoughts. In the first story, a reclusive man is pronounced dead by the local newspaper. In the second story, a woman struggles to find self-worth after caring for her father for four decades. In the third, a man with the power to heal deals with the inability to heal his own soul.

There’s no doubt in my mind why Eisner is touted as one of the most highly respected American grafictionists around. Eisner, whose comics career started way before most of our parents were even born, is credited for creating what we know now as the graphic novel. In Invisible People, he demonstrates four generations-worth of expertise in the language of comics storytelling.

Despite the mature-themed, tragic stories in Invisible People, Eisner tells them with elegance and simplicity, unlike the oft-times mentally draining wordworks some of the current crop of writers dish out. Einser’s cartoony art style lends well to the depth of his narrative, not so much buffering the sad atmosphere of the stories, but rather heightening the tragedy with its innocent quality. This book is a terrific and refreshing diversion from the Millars, Morrisons and Moores, serving as a fine example of a grafiction classic. It would be a shame if Invisible People turns out to be as invisible as the subjects of the stories it tells.

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