Last Day In Vietnam: A Memory GRAPHIC NOVEL review [Will Eisner]



Book Reviews
Last Day In Vietnam: A Memory GRAPHIC NOVEL review [Will Eisner]
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Jul 1, 2000, 04:50

LAST DAY IN VIETNAM: A MEMORY by Will Eisner; Dark Horse Press, 2000

Will Eisner is an undisputed genius of the graphic arts and it's no surprise that his new volume is stunning in both its simplicity and artistic detail. Last Day in Vietnam collects a series of stories Eisner gathered while writing comic strips about equipment maintenance and field-fix techniques. While Last Day unfortunately doesn't collect these maintenance strips (oh, how I wish it did) it does contain a series of brief vignettes about soldiers in wartime. Last Day is Eisner's version of Michale Herr's classic Dispatches. Each story is short, expressive, and extremely interpersonal. While its themes are often familiar—the last day in Vietnam, the “killing machine” who spends his weekends playing with children at the local orphanage—Eisner's brilliant eye for detail and remarkable sense of narrative make this short book one of the most memorable documents of war in recent history. Eisner's narrative is sparse, never telling more than it needs to. The real story is entirely contained in the illustration. The shell-shocked eyes of troops returning from weeks in the jungle, the US giant with 20 Vietnamese children hanging off him—things like these are what makes Eisner's stories powerful. While Last Day in Vietnam may be short, it's something that any fan of Eisner's, or of comics in general, won't want to miss.

-Jason Cons

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