YOSSEL: April 19, 1943

Joe Kubert, Author, Joe Kubert, Illustrator
Joe Kubert, Author, Joe Kubert, Illustrator . ibooks $24.95 (128p) ISBN 978-0-7434-7516-7
Reviewed on: 01/05/2004
Release date: 10/01/2003
Prebound-Sewn - 978-1-4176-9729-8
Paperback - 128 pages - 978-1-4165-0790-1
Hardcover - 128 pages - 978-1-59497-091-7
Paperback - 128 pages - 978-1-59687-129-8
Paperback - 120 pages - 978-1-59687-826-6
Paperback - 144 pages - 978-0-85768-502-5
Paperback - 120 pages - 978-1-4012-3180-4
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Kubert explores what might have been in this gripping account of WWII's Warsaw ghetto uprising. In the text introduction, Kubert recalls how his Polish family attempted to emigrate to the U.S. in 1926, but they were denied because his mother was pregnant with him. Luckily, they succeeded a few months later, and Kubert went on to become one of the most honored artists in comics history. But what if his family hadn't gotten away? In an immediate, sketchy pencil style, Kubert imagines an alternate version of his family history. Yossel is a teenaged boy with a gift for art. Uprooted and stripped of their possessions, the family is sent to the Warsaw ghetto with other Jews and undesirables, where conditions deteriorate as the Final Solution is put into action. Yossel's gift for artwork amuses the German guards and they give him special favors. Thus, when his family is sent off to a concentration camp, he is spared. He joins other young men in the underground resistance, however, including Mordechai, based on real-life ringleader Mordechai Anielewicz. An escapee from one of the camps makes his way to the ghetto and tells of the unimaginable horrors taking place, leading the resistance to stand up against the Nazis in an ultimately futile but memorable uprising. Kubert's loose pencil art excels at catching character and setting in a few lines, although the layouts are sometimes plain. A straightforward take on the events of the Holocaust, Yossel tells its tragic story with both emotion and dignity. (Oct. 2003)

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