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Flood!: A Novel in Pictures

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<p>An American Book Award winner and an Editor's Choice of the New York Times, Flood! is the powerful first graphic novel by Eric Drooker, frequent cover artist for the New Yorker. Flood! is a modern novel written in the ancient language of pictures, with an expressionist, film noir edge. This "definitive edition" of Flood! is a unique record of our country's turbulent past -</p> An American Book Award winner and an Editor's Choice of the New York Times, Flood! is the powerful first graphic novel by Eric Drooker, frequent cover artist for the New Yorker. Flood! is a modern novel written in the ancient language of pictures, with an expressionist, film noir edge. This "definitive edition" of Flood! is a unique record of our country's turbulent past - and corporate present - and a must-read for students of graphic storytelling. This third edition also features a new cover by Drooker and a complete re-design. Flood! A Novel in Pictures, was followed by Drooker's acclaimed book, Blood Song: A Silent Ballad.


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<p>An American Book Award winner and an Editor's Choice of the New York Times, Flood! is the powerful first graphic novel by Eric Drooker, frequent cover artist for the New Yorker. Flood! is a modern novel written in the ancient language of pictures, with an expressionist, film noir edge. This "definitive edition" of Flood! is a unique record of our country's turbulent past -</p> An American Book Award winner and an Editor's Choice of the New York Times, Flood! is the powerful first graphic novel by Eric Drooker, frequent cover artist for the New Yorker. Flood! is a modern novel written in the ancient language of pictures, with an expressionist, film noir edge. This "definitive edition" of Flood! is a unique record of our country's turbulent past - and corporate present - and a must-read for students of graphic storytelling. This third edition also features a new cover by Drooker and a complete re-design. Flood! A Novel in Pictures, was followed by Drooker's acclaimed book, Blood Song: A Silent Ballad.

30 review for Flood!: A Novel in Pictures

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jigar Brahmbhatt

    I went through the images twice. I don't want to say I read this book twice coz there is nothing to read here. I just reveled in the power of the creator's imagination shining through the pages, like a mishmash of myths playing in an urban man's dream, affirming his ennui by way of their very presence. <br /><br />There are motifs of destruction and creation in equal measure. An artist depicting the end of the world while the world around him ends, of water in its two prominent avatars - rain and flood. Of I went through the images twice. I don't want to say I read this book twice coz there is nothing to read here. I just reveled in the power of the creator's imagination shining through the pages, like a mishmash of myths playing in an urban man's dream, affirming his ennui by way of their very presence. There are motifs of destruction and creation in equal measure. An artist depicting the end of the world while the world around him ends, of water in its two prominent avatars - rain and flood. Of a street-side Noah giving away umbrellas for anyone who is willing to pick one. Of a world so mean and indifferent it deserves a flood. Of people so tired and joyless they call out for a flood. Of personal floods - an artist's inner flood and the outer flood that consumes the artist. Of a ship that finally sails through a flooded city. And the cat that is saved in the end... but you don't see it coming. It is insignificant to you. Maybe there is hope there.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Dan

    review - <a target="_blank" href="https://youtu.be/KTi6FXywe68" rel="nofollow">https://youtu.be/KTi6FXywe68</a>

  3. 5 out of 5

    Amy Hawthorne

    I have never seen anything like this before! This graphic novel has no words at all but the scratch board art tells a story in as much detail using only the pictures, colour and shape.<br /><br />It's about a man in New York in an unspecified time who falls on hard times. The story goes very meta when you see he is an artist and begins to draw the story you've been seeing, of the great flood and Noah's ark, causing the apocolypse in perhaps modern day New York.<br /><br />This was so thought provoking. I'd recommend getting I have never seen anything like this before! This graphic novel has no words at all but the scratch board art tells a story in as much detail using only the pictures, colour and shape. It's about a man in New York in an unspecified time who falls on hard times. The story goes very meta when you see he is an artist and begins to draw the story you've been seeing, of the great flood and Noah's ark, causing the apocolypse in perhaps modern day New York. This was so thought provoking. I'd recommend getting not this edition but the edition I own (which I couldn't find) is the 4th edition from May 2015 the first hardback copy published by Darkhorse. It has a Q and A in the back which I found really helped with understanding some of the messages in the story and is actually 186 pages instead of the 132 this copy says (it doesn't have page numbers but I counted...twice). This book is great for your own interpretation and it's great for something different. Overall an easy 5 stars :)

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sooraya Evans

    Urgh... Boring. What a mess.<br />There's three segments.<br />The final one had the only OK artwork.

  5. 5 out of 5

    rosalind williamson

    i didnt really get it? also the women in this book all look like betty boop its really cringey. theres one panel where you can see a womans ass crack through her dress. like, truly, have male writers ever met a human woman? the world may never know... i didn’t really get it? also the women in this book all look like betty boop it’s really cringey. there’s one panel where you can see a woman’s ass crack through her dress. like, truly, have male writers ever met a human woman? the world may never know...

  6. 5 out of 5

    Monique

    Flood! was not a book I read, it was a book I experienced. Mostly silent, Drooker creates a sweeping story with powerful illustrations. Each panel is beautiful and attempting to convey so much. The dramatic contrast of thick black lines over blinding white space helps to create an atmosphere of tension, depression and gravity. <br /><br />The story was beautiful, if a bit difficult to fully understand at times. With so much emotion exuding from every page, its a gripping tale. Flood! is a phenomenal example Flood! was not a book I read, it was a book I experienced. Mostly silent, Drooker creates a sweeping story with powerful illustrations. Each panel is beautiful and attempting to convey so much. The dramatic contrast of thick black lines over blinding white space helps to create an atmosphere of tension, depression and gravity. The story was beautiful, if a bit difficult to fully understand at times. With so much emotion exuding from every page, its a gripping tale. Flood! is a phenomenal example of a 'silent' comic. It's an even better example at how artistic and poetic the comic form can be.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Gloria

    Wordless storytelling through evocative mostly black-and-white panels. I would not classify this work as a novel, but as three free-standing "novellas" that reference allegory and myth, and incorporate symbolism and archetype. Strong criticism of social problems, especially urban poverty and decay.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Courtney

    Not my typical genre but I happened upon this graphic novel at the library and was intrigued. There are no words in this book, only beautiful art-all pictures that were created using scratchboard, a technique akin to woodcutting, where an artist scratches away ink with a razor blade. The interview with the author that was included in the book was fascinating and gave background about his life in New York which clearly inspired his graphic novel. Quite a talented man.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Dana

    I found it interesting that the foreword describing this book as prophetic regarding the struggles and destruction in New York City was written in April of 2001, a few short months prior to 9/11. The book was also created in response to events occurring in NY during the time I was born and when my family decided to move out of the city.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kit Feral

    I wasn't clever enough for this or something. I found the art repulsive. sometimes that can work for me. this time it didn't. I finished it feeling empty and gross. I'm obviously in the minority here though.

  11. 5 out of 5

    JJ Lehmann

    Four stars only because I feel guilty about counting this as one of the books I read this year. Although I think that this book is quite brilliant, to say that it is on par with Moby Dick is a bit hyperbolic. Nonetheless, it does belongs on the "The Greatest Graphic Novels of All Time" shelf.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Almeta

    Wonderful art, somber story.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Greg

    I'm glad I was introduced to Drooker when I recently read a World War 3 Illustrated collection. It helped me get into the right mindset to check this out.

  14. 4 out of 5

    David Thomas

    An entire book with almost no dialogue, all illustration. Interesting concept, decent execution.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kristen

    I read this twice. The art was amazing on its own, and in telling the story without words.

  16. 4 out of 5

    John H

    Another weeded book. Some interesting artwork.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Helen

    The book recounts the nightmares of the protagonist in eking out an existence in NY in the '80s. Those of us who were in NY in the 80s will appreciate the familiar images of chaos, paranoia, hopelessness. The turning point was the Tompkins Square riot - the author was actually there when it happened. NY was no longer the live and let live place it once was, after the Giuliani crackdown on any form of chaos. It started with the squeegee men - the crackdown gave the "law abiding" citizens a symbol The book recounts the nightmares of the protagonist in eking out an existence in NY in the '80s. Those of us who were in NY in the 80s will appreciate the familiar images of chaos, paranoia, hopelessness. The turning point was the Tompkins Square riot - the author was actually there when it happened. NY was no longer the live and let live place it once was, after the Giuliani crackdown on any form of chaos. It started with the squeegee men - the crackdown gave the "law abiding" citizens a symbol to despise, and thus support the crackdown. Everything that happened since then was an effort to tame NY's wildness. NY was once frightening - probably the popular music of the era was a response to the crime, fear, heavy use of crack, which was tearing apart neighborhoods. This is the NYC Drooker's stories, and visions, in his book, grows from, as an already dying, strangled plant, in a totally toxic wasteland. This book has no actual text other than the illustrations - which resemble woodcuts. The drawings are extremely fine as stand-alone works of art. The reader can tell a lot of work went into planning and then executing these drawings. The stories rush along at the tempo of the anti-hero's despair, a never-ending search for work, community, sex, affection, you name it. Every single initiative seems to meet with heartbreak, catastrophe, the unexpected outcome - even the few times when the hero does land in the park and finds a group of musicians (I also remember the impromptu drum programs at the park) then the police descend on the joyous gathering. Drooker started as a street artist, communicating his no doubt disgust with the hassles members of the community were facing by means of posters. He then produced his own commentaries on the various crackdowns, unfair landlord practices, probably what we would call the beginning of gentrification of the LES today, and sold them himself or gave them away on the street, as a street vendor. I especially liked reading that he also would leave them at unexpected places where people might randomly pick up his anti-establishment comic books - I myself always fantasized about that, how it might be possible to get anti-consumerist, or anti-establishment messages across to people randomly, as a way of waking them up, or opening their eyes to what is going on around them while they are lulled into their day/night routine of work/sleep. I thought it was great that he actually was doing this at one point. My rating of Flood! is really somewhat arbitrary - the drawings alone are 5, or best. I'm not sure the work "hangs together" - but that is probably because each part was written at different times. Ostensibly, it's a long sad story of the hero's ejection from the day-to-day routine of life when he loses his job at the factory (ironically - probably one of the last industrial jobs left at that time in Manhattan) wanders around with the city's money-fueled life seemingly mocking him, and eventually, after a long series of misadventures, returns to his apartment. I'd rather not reveal how the story turns out in part III - except to say that the denouement involves a cat, and a rescuer who looks uncannily like the bearded buy who either gave or sold the hero the umbrella a few drawings previously: Rare kind people who did not have ulterior motives. I'll certainly look up Drooker's other books. He's tremendously talented and imaginative - all that sounds like a cliche but I can't find other words to praise his work here. He must have a cool life since he gets to draw New Yorker covers too - as he says in the appended author interview. He is lucky but he clearly deserves his luck, since he is highly skilled in communicating concepts via visual art works. It is really very rare to become successful as a visual artist - sort of like a 1 in a million chance. I would say Drooker is that good, also that weird, which is also good. I wonder what his drawings are like these days, considering the gentrification that finally did transform the LES and other gentrified areas. How did he deal with the 20 years of Giuliani and Bloomberg and now even de Blasio, who is continuing his predecessor's housing policies, pushing gentrification. I wonder if Drooker's drawings are now "cheerful" now that the "gloom" of the chaotic 80s has lifted (just joking). I think for people like Drooker, an evidently deeply sensitive artist, the "gloom" never really lifts - or maybe it sometimes does, on vacation away from NY for example.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Dani Shuping

    Cross posted from Amazon:<br /><br />The work displays the journey of one man and the life that he lives over different time periods. It's a tale of destruction, of energy, and oddly enough of hope in some ways. The last chapter is the longest and the most powerful as the man creates a story about the world at its ending, while the world ends around him. It has heartbreaking depictions and a feral energy to a man calling for the world's end. The artist in the story is so obsessed with finishing his work even Cross posted from Amazon: The work displays the journey of one man and the life that he lives over different time periods. It's a tale of destruction, of energy, and oddly enough of hope in some ways. The last chapter is the longest and the most powerful as the man creates a story about the world at its ending, while the world ends around him. It has heartbreaking depictions and a feral energy to a man calling for the world's end. The artist in the story is so obsessed with finishing his work even as the water builds and floods his apartment he still goes back to finish one last mark, although the work will be lost. The author tells us that he created the book over three different time periods which brings so much more vitality and energy to the work than if he had created in one time period. His thought processes, his ideas, his very way of creating changes over these time periods so it makes for a much, much more powerful work of art. The most exciting aspect of this book to me is the illustrations. They look like woodcarvings but the author tells us that he did them with scratchboard. A similar process to woodcarving, but much more difficult in some ways. The images in the first part of the book are exciting, because of the vitality and almost feral energy in them. Even more impressive to me is that he was able to depict graffiti on a subway train and have it look real. I was blown away by how much time and planning it must have taken to be able to do this. The second half of the book his scratchboard incorporates adds a new color to the scheme, blue, to give it more depth and energy and create even more powerful images. This is a powerful book and it gives us a reminder of the types of stories that can be created without words. It is a must read and study for anyone, especially those hoping to get into the graphic industry themselves.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Dani Shuping

    The work displays the journey of one man and the life that he lives over different time periods. It's a tale of destruction, of energy, and oddly enough of hope in some ways. The last chapter is the longest and the most powerful as the man creates a story about the world at its ending, while the world ends around him. It has heartbreaking depictions and a feral energy to a man calling for the world's end. The artist in the story is so obsessed with finishing his work even as the water builds and The work displays the journey of one man and the life that he lives over different time periods. It's a tale of destruction, of energy, and oddly enough of hope in some ways. The last chapter is the longest and the most powerful as the man creates a story about the world at its ending, while the world ends around him. It has heartbreaking depictions and a feral energy to a man calling for the world's end. The artist in the story is so obsessed with finishing his work even as the water builds and floods his apartment he still goes back to finish one last mark, although the work will be lost. The author tells us that he created the book over three different time periods which brings so much more vitality and energy to the work than if he had created in one time period. His thought processes, his ideas, his very way of creating changes over these time periods so it makes for a much, much more powerful work of art. The most exciting aspect of this book to me is the illustrations. They look like woodcarvings but the author tells us that he did them with scratchboard. A similar process to woodcarving, but much more difficult in some ways. The images in the first part of the book are exciting, because of the vitality and almost feral energy in them. Even more impressive to me is that he was able to depict graffiti on a subway train and have it look real. I was blown away by how much time and planning it must have taken to be able to do this. The second half of the book his scratchboard incorporates adds a new color to the scheme, blue, to give it more depth and energy and create even more powerful images. This is a powerful book and it gives us a reminder of the types of stories that can be created without words. It is a must read and study for anyone, especially those hoping to get into the graphic industry themselves.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Danielle D

    I picked this one up after reading an article in English Journal about graphic novels for young adults. I cannot remember if this was one mentioned or if it was one I bought because it was linked to other titles that were purchased by the same people. However, it was an interesting experience to read a novel without any words/verbal narration. My purpose for my initial read was to deem whether it would be appropriate to incorporate the title into my classroom library (8th graders), and even though I picked this one up after reading an article in English Journal about graphic novels for young adults. I cannot remember if this was one mentioned or if it was one I bought because it was linked to other titles that were purchased by the same people. However, it was an interesting experience to read a novel without any words/verbal narration. My purpose for my initial read was to deem whether it would be appropriate to incorporate the title into my classroom library (8th graders), and even though I don't believe most 13 or 14-year-olds are ready for this text, I did appreciate the artistry. Though I'm not sure I agree with all of the sentiments articulated in Drooker's work here, I do like the open-ended interpretations the images allow, all while still clearly communicating a universal theme and historical/social context.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Hollowspine

    Flood is a wordless novel, but if the saying is true and a picture says one thousand words, this is novel rivals Moby Dick. The nightmare sequences reminded me a lot of comic translations of Kafka stories. The characters paranoia, fear and helplessness are at the forefront. The illustrations became especially interesting and impressive to me when I learned that they were created by carving color away, rather than the woodblock prints I originally pictured. <br /><br />The dream narrative is sometimes hard to Flood is a wordless novel, but if the saying is true and a picture says one thousand words, this is novel rivals Moby Dick. The nightmare sequences reminded me a lot of comic translations of Kafka stories. The character’s paranoia, fear and helplessness are at the forefront. The illustrations became especially interesting and impressive to me when I learned that they were created by carving color away, rather than the woodblock prints I originally pictured. The dream narrative is sometimes hard to follow, as in a dream, scenes shift and even our hero sometimes shifts, but it is well worth a few reads to get all the details and interpretations. It’s a very thoughtful, frightening work.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Neville Ridley-smith

    Art Spiegelman! Frank Miller! Neil Gaiman! Allen Ginsberg... all provided quotes on the back.<br /><br />What on earth did I just read? I'm sure there's something literary going on (even though it's purely images with no words) - the kind of stuff that art majors would rhapsodise over - something about the human condition and the oppression of the self by the city or something. I can appreciate the art. And for the most part the stories are fairly straightforward. I had a quick flick back through it after finishing Art Spiegelman! Frank Miller! Neil Gaiman! Allen Ginsberg... all provided quotes on the back. What on earth did I just read? I'm sure there's something literary going on (even though it's purely images with no words) - the kind of stuff that art majors would rhapsodise over - something about the human condition and the oppression of the self by the city or something. I can appreciate the art. And for the most part the stories are fairly straightforward. I had a quick flick back through it after finishing and picked up on some extra bits. Other parts however remained *totally* inscrutable. Having said all that, I'd be more than willing to read his other work because the format is so different from anything else out there.

  23. 4 out of 5

    HeavyReader

    Beautiful, beautiful artwork. It blew me away the first time I saw it.<br /><br />In 1996, I went to NYC for a Refuse + Resist conference. Anita and I journeyed to a bookstore (I want to say it was called People's Books, but I'm really not sure) and watch Eric Drooker play the harmonica and sing while showing slides from <i>Flood!</i> That's where I bought my copy of this book. Eric Drooker autographed my copy.<br /><br />And I have to admit I was quite smitten by Mr. Drooker. However, when I had the chance to help host him as Beautiful, beautiful artwork. It blew me away the first time I saw it. In 1996, I went to NYC for a Refuse + Resist conference. Anita and I journeyed to a bookstore (I want to say it was called People's Books, but I'm really not sure) and watch Eric Drooker play the harmonica and sing while showing slides from Flood! That's where I bought my copy of this book. Eric Drooker autographed my copy. And I have to admit I was quite smitten by Mr. Drooker. However, when I had the chance to help host him as a visiting artist in 2004, he turned out to exhibit some real dip shit behavior, and I was glad I had never had the chance to sleep with him. It's difficult to watch heroes (or just hot guys) fall.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Christal

    This was a really neat comic, the artist used no words (save one time for exclamation) and told various stories of the maincharacter all through pictures. And even more unique, it was done in only 3 colors: black, white and blue! There is the story of how our protagonist loses his job, a sort of mythos story down in the subway, and it all ends with the great flood story depicted on the counter. This is my first pictures only comic, and I really enjoyed and appreciated the storytelling done with This was a really neat comic, the artist used no words (save one time for exclamation) and told various stories of the maincharacter all through pictures. And even more unique, it was done in only 3 colors: black, white and blue! There is the story of how our protagonist loses his job, a sort of mythos story down in the subway, and it all ends with the great flood story depicted on the counter. This is my first pictures only comic, and I really enjoyed and appreciated the storytelling done with visual only. It's a must read!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Christal

    This was a really neat comic, the artist used no words (save one time for exclamation) and told various stories of the maincharacter all through pictures. And even more unique, it was done in only 3 colors: black, white and blue! There is the story of how our protagonist loses his job, a sort of mythos story down in the subway, and it all ends with the great flood story depicted on the counter. This is my first pictures only comic, and I really enjoyed and appreciated the storytelling done with This was a really neat comic, the artist used no words (save one time for exclamation) and told various stories of the maincharacter all through pictures. And even more unique, it was done in only 3 colors: black, white and blue! There is the story of how our protagonist loses his job, a sort of mythos story down in the subway, and it all ends with the great flood story depicted on the counter. This is my first pictures only comic, and I really enjoyed and appreciated the storytelling done with visual only. It's a must read!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Steph Myers

    Primitive scratchboard imagery makes this GN feel much older. Some of the images are reminiscent of silent German expressionist films like the Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and Nosferatu. Universal survival themes butt up against an end of 20th century NY landscape, taking things in and out of context in the three chapters that make up the book. I liked it, but had to read it twice, as I wasn't sure I got what I was supposed to the first time. Guess that makes it pretty good.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Nux

    Flipped a few pages while I was browsing and then I was hooked! I had to take it home and finish it in one sitting... not as brillian as <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/38954.Shaun_Tan" title="Shaun Tan" rel="nofollow">Shaun Tan</a>'s <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/920607.The_Arrival" title="The Arrival by Shaun Tan" rel="nofollow">The Arrival</a> (I'd give THAT one a ten star if I could). But this one's definitely worth poring over again and again.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Laura Collins

    *4.5 stars<br /><br />The art in this was absolutely stunning and different to anything I've seen before!<br />The messages raised in this graphic novel were very thought provoking and I wanted to read it again immediately after finishing it!<br />It's very short as there is virtually no words in the entire novel and I do wish it was a big longer! <br />I would highly recommend this to anyone but particularly someone who is looking for a way into graphic novels.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ruger

    Mr. Drooker's drawings evoke myriad emotions. For those that have never been to New York this may skew your viewpoint a little as the book makes the city feel quite lonely--dark buildings rising up into darker skies--lonely souls dwelling inside. Tragic beauty that one should experience.<br />I got the chance to see this book in a slide show format at AK Press back when they were located in San Francisco's Mission District.<br />

  30. 4 out of 5

    Rosanne

    Skillful illustrations - Drooker seems to me like a master of the graphic form. I admit to not always knowing what he was trying to say through his pictures, other than that life is difficult and wears you down - seems like there was/should have been more to it than that? Overall, I really enjoyed having to look for meaning in the art rather than being told directly through words, even if I'm not sure I always found it.

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