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Blood Song: A Silent Ballad 

We wish this gorgeous, wordless graphic novel were bigger

Wednesday, Oct 30 2002
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By Eric Drooker
Harcourt (2002), $20

On very rare occasions, the power of the unspoken word can be quite startling. Such is the case with Blood Song: A Silent Ballad, a literally graphic novel by New Yorker cover artist Eric Drooker. With graphic novels getting more attention from the mainstream these days -- thanks in part to recent film versions of works like Road to Perdition and the classic From Hell, by Alan Moore -- you might expect the book to be a heavily illustrated story complete with plot twists, multiple characters, tons of word balloons, and an occasional sound effect. Such is not the case with Blood Song: In fact, the whole book can be read and understood in about five minutes, because there's no text at all. Drooker brings us an adult fable -- a somewhat bleak tale of innocence lost and regained -- told entirely through beautiful but Spartan duotones in cool blues, with an occasional surprise of color to emphasize a point. This technique forces you to slow down and enjoy each image, to experience the story in a way that's unique to this medium. Unfortunately, the physical size of the book doesn't support such a great visual piece. Measuring only 6 1/4 inches by 9 inches, Blood Song is much smaller than the average graphic novel. That's too bad, because the slighter format seems to trivialize the overall impact of the artwork and of the book itself. A large-size coffee-table version would have made more sense for this otherwise dramatic tale.

About The Author

Darrick Rainey

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