cover image Black & White: The Rise and Fall of Bobby Fischer

Black & White: The Rise and Fall of Bobby Fischer

Julian Voloj and Wagner Willian. Abrams ComicArts, $24.99 (176p) ISBN 978-1-4197-5986-4

Voloj (The Joe Shuster Story) and Willian depict in a straightforward bio-comic the life and legacy of chess grandmaster Fischer (1943–2008). From his prodigy days in the tenements of Brooklyn to his world championship against Boris Spassky in 1972, Fischer’s talent and artistry on the chessboard are adroitly drawn, and his intense animosity toward Soviet dominance of the game ups the Cold War stakes of his one-man battle against the Russians. Fischer’s spark and passion for gameplay is tempered by his misanthropic later years, when he descended into antisemitism and conspiracy theories. Though an admirer encouraged Fischer to return to public life, including a rematch with Spassky, Fischer’s paranoia and demons followed him to an exile in Iceland, where he died at the age of 64 (the same number as there are squares on a chessboard). A balanced treatment of a controversial figure emerges through detailed black-and-white art, though the abbreviated script can’t match the thoroughness of prose biographies such as Endgame by Frank Brady. Still, it’s a worthy primer on the spectacular sway Fischer held in the public imagination in America and around the world. Agent: Nicolas Grivel, Nicolas Grivel Agency. (Apr.)