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Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Mad Man's Drum: A Novel in Woodcuts by Lynd Ward

Title: Mad Man's Drum: A Novel in Woodcuts
Author: Lynd Ward
Copyright: 2005
Pages: 144
ISBN: 9780486445007
Publisher: Dover Publications
Twitter: @doverpubs
Format: Paperback
Available: September 8, 2005
Rating: 3/5 stars

Lynd Ward's Mad Man's Drum is a graphic novel in the truest sense of the word; told through the use of 128 woodcut prints, and using no written text, Ward tells a story of obsession and the tragedy that can be a result of succumbing to that obsession.

Given that there is no text, the reader must rely on the imagery and symbolism that is presented in each woodcut; therefore, I believe that each reader may take something different from the story. Perhaps I am not the person for this story, but it took me several "readings" to feel that I was beginning to come to an understanding of what was happening, and I still don't believe that I have a true grasp on all of the nuances of the story. This is why that I feel a true review of the story would almost be impossible for me to write.

Mad Man's Drum was Lynd Ward's second graphic novel, and is an amazing piece of art; however, given that the drawings are all in black and white and limited with the amount of detail woodcut prints can offer, I found it difficult to follow the characters and what was happening in each frame. While the basic principle is easy to understand, I felt the subtle nuances of the story are lost somewhere in the telling. I give it three stars for the complexity of the project alone. Perhaps someone with a better understanding of the psychological symbolism and imagery would be better suited to this book.

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