A graphic novel adaptation of the story of Oliver Twist from Fagin's perspective recasts the character as a complex and troubled anti-hero who struggles with prejudice, poverty, and anti-Semitism. Original.
"Comic-book pioneer Eisner, creator of the masked crimefighter the Spirit in the 1940s, recently has made a series of graphic novels portrayingewish life in America. Now he tackles another aspect ofewish history--or, more precisely,ewish fiction--by reinterpreting Oliver Twist and focusing on Fagin, Dickens' sinister ringleader of a band of young thieves. Eisner's Fagin is forced into crime by poverty and prejudice, and Eisner envisions the character's youthful attempts at honesty and self-betterment being repeatedly thwarted by anti-Semitism. Moreover, Eisner appends a redemptive ending for Fagin. In its revisionist view of a classic literary villain, this is theohn Gardner Grendel of graphic novels. Eisner's renditions, if livelier and more expressive, are as caricatured as George Cruikshank's original illustrations of Fagin and, of course, eschew offensive nineteenth-century stereotypes. If Eisner's starkly melodramatic, agenda-driven narrative lacks nuance and so relies on coincidence that Dickens himself would blush, his heartfelt apologia for Fagin should be strongly considered forewish-studies collections as well as for graphic-novel collections. --Gordon Flagg Copyright 2003 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review:
"Eisner, the inventor of the graphic novel format, has been writing and drawing stories about Jewish working-class life since 1978's A Contract with God. This time, though, he's turned to an unlikely variation on that theme, by rehabilitating Fagin, the trainer of young thieves from Dickens's Oliver Twist. In Eisner's version, Fagin grows up in London's Ashkenazi communities, forced into crime by cruel fate and crueler prejudice; most of the book is framed as his pre-gallows plea for sympathy to Dickens (with a tacked-on epilogue in which the grown-up Oliver discovers Fagin should actually have inherited a fortune). Eisner has been drawing comics for 65 years, and his illustrations have become even more gorgeously expressive with time. He's done this book in a sepia wash that makes his carefully researched depiction of 19th-century London look both grubby and glorious, and wholly convincing. But the story errs on the side of extreme coincidence and melodrama, especially in the middle, where Eisner's inventive imagining of Fagin's early life and initiation into petty theft gives way to an awkwardly simplified run-through of Dickens's plot. The constant stream of expository dialogue becomes laughable after a while. No one can convey a story through drawn body language like Eisner can (his drawings of Fagin's partner, Sikes, convey an unnerving mixture of physical cruelty and hauteur); it's too bad his words aren't up to the same standard. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
-- Oliver Twist
-- Comic books, strips, etc.
Fagin (Fictitious character)
-- Comic books, strips, etc.
Comic books, strips, etc.
|| New York :Doubleday,2003
122 pages, 6 unnumbered pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Includes bibliographical references (page ).