cover image The Bridge: How the Roeblings Connected Brooklyn to New York

The Bridge: How the Roeblings Connected Brooklyn to New York

Peter J. Tomasi and Sara Duvall. Abrams ComicArts, $24.99 (208p) ISBN 978-1-4197-2852-5

Told by prolific superhero scribe Tomasi (Superman: Rebirth) with charmingly understated art by the Eisner-nominated Duvall (Déjá Brew), this historical graphic narrative presents dramatic events in a matter-of-fact, realistic way. The gifted, if self-effacing, young engineer Washington Roebling returns home from the Civil War to join his father, himself an eminent civil engineer, John Roebling, in overseeing the design and construction of the Brooklyn Bridge. John dies before building actually gets underway, forcing an inexperienced Washington to step out from his father’s shadow and take over as chief engineer of the longest suspension bridge in the world. He contends with the machinations of crooked political appointees and often lethal on-site accidents. This conventional narrative shifts when Washington is confined to his home due to complications from a near-fatal case of caisson disease (better known today as the bends), and his wife Emily must serve as his eyes, ears, and voice out in the world. Rather than being a story of a singular genius overcoming adversity, the book is a paean to collaboration. Iconic structures often have fascinating stories behind them, but rarely do the tellings emphasize the human as this one does. Agent: Charlie Olson, InkWell Management. (Apr.)