PREVIEW – 001 Editions: Fagin the Jew by Will Eisner


Published on Feb 16, 2018


In a time when stereotypes, prejudice, fake news and episodes of intolerance occupy dramatically the scenario that is civil and social, 001 Edizioni gives the prints Fagin the jew a graphic novel written and designed by the american genius Will Eisner.

In Fagin the jew Will Eisner, a master of the comics and recognized the father of the graphic novel, he is confronted boldly with a giant of literature, Charles Dickens, re-reading one of the cornerstones of the literature, Oliver Twist, from the point of view of one of the most famous personalities of the opera, the”jew” Moses Fagin.

Eisner creates a work of art in a rigorous, animated by a strong commitment to civil society, giving voice to the despised Fagin to highlight the harmful consequences of the use of stereotypes, in this case of racial character.

“By examining the illustrations of the original edition of Oliver Twist, I found indisputable examples of defamation of racial inside of classic literature. The memory of the use which was made by the nazis during the Second world war, about one hundred years later, added evidence to the persistence of certain negative stereotypes. Fight them had become for me a kind of obsession, and I had a choice: I had to create a portrait that is respectful of Fagin, telling the story of his life in the only way that I addicesse. This book, therefore, is not an adaptation of Oliver Twist! It is the story of Fagin the jew”. (Will Eisner)

“I am Fagin, the jew of Oliver Twist. This is my story, remained unknown and ignored in the book of Charles Dickens”. (Moses Fagin)

The history often forget the reasons of the vanquished, while the spregiudicatezze of the winners are transformed usually into skilled strategies. Will Eisner, there is, wants to overturn the rules.

In 2003, he writes Fagin The Jew, by deciding to tell the story, using the comic book, the story of Oliver Twist from the point of view of the loser, or Fagin. Moses Fagin. Fagin “the jew”.
Eisner imagine that Fagin and Dickens, the character and his creator, to meet, in jail, on the night before Fagin is hanged. Fagin tells “his” version of events to the writer, with the hope that they will understand better the reasons of this and that, finally, the truth comes to light.
The book of Dickens (first published in 1837) described a London swept away by the industrial revolution, incapable of protecting the orphans and to curb the exploitation of vulnerable people. And this is the story of the poor that lies in the character of Fagin, the exploiter jew, greedy of wealth, and incapable of love, unless it is for your own benefit. Fagin is the killer and the young, white Oliver his victim. Eisner tries, instead, to destroy the sinister, ambiguous and, all in all, the office of the wickedness of the character that Dickens offers his readers. It is simply putting itself a question: and if it was Fagin to tell it, this story? If it was Fagin to explain how did he become that depraved character that corrupts the innocence of Oliver, propelling him to a career in crime?

On this assumption Eisner builds his novel (which is a real counter-narrative, telling not only of the past, of the old jew, but also of the historic setting in which you set the story: the relationship between the England of the’800 and the jewish community, especially that of the Aschenaziti, and its attempts at integration. Eisner does not omit, of course, the story of Oliver, the meeting between Fagin and the cruel Sikes, as well as all the painful and sad events that Dickens had put on the paper.
Eisner blends captions, explanatory cartoons in which a few signs are sufficient to return all the excitement of the feelings. His boards don't have the cage, the cartoons do not know spacing and you can connect, ideally at the same time the one with the other. But this choice graphics does not imply, nor chaos, nor shots of the bold. Rather, there are often large vignettes to full-page, in which the characters take the scene as if they were the protagonists of a theatrical representation. The fascinating glance, the new and participated in Eisner to the matter of the narrative seems to give an extraordinary richness to his art, a complex and evocative.

A prestigious edition, that game is by rescanning the high quality of all the originals of the plates drawn and that has allowed us to recover a lot of lost detail in the previous editions. After The last day in Vietnam, continues the edition large format hardback of the main works of Eisner, where, thanks to the care of printing the black-and-white sign of the author emerges with strength and character.

The edition is enriched by an essay by Eisner, a preface by Brian Michael Bendis and a critical essay by Jeet Heer.

Title: Fagin the Jew
Author: Will Eisner
Translator: Valerio Stivé
Pages: 132 | Hardback
Size: 22×30 | black-and-White
Cover price: 24 euro
release date: 8 march 2018

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