As I may have mentioned, my Grandfather had a bookstore near Taylor and Olive in Saint Louis back in the 1930’s which, like many other enterprises of that time, went bust during the 1930’s. So I have seen quite a bit of his stock, almost none of which had been sold after the store closed. One really curious collection of illustrated books interested me, just for being so odd, and especially unlike any of the other old books which were in his stock. I used the term illustrated book, but that’s really an understatement, as the content of these books consists solely of illustrations, without any text whatsoever to interfere with the emotive power of the pictures.
One that stood out from that group (and which is available online for viewing) is Lynd Ward’s Mad Man’s Drum. It is sometimes billed as the first graphic novel, but I don’t think, given the long gap between the first graphic novel and the publication of this book that it had any direct influence on graphic novels of today.
Like an opera, the story itself is not of interest, but the atmosphere, and drama that is created in the telling of the story is where the art lies.
Like many of the other works of the 1930’s there is an overall dark vision to the story, and it creates it’s own world and set of rules that work together.
“If a work has surreptitiously taken you to another world, previously unknown to you, what more can you ask?” — Wassily Kandinsky