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Monday, February 12, 2018


The Bridge: How the Roeblings Connected Brooklyn to New York

Peter Tomasi (author) Sara DuVall (Illustrator)
Abrams ComicArts
Pub Date: April 2018
ISBN: 978-1419728525
208 Pages

At a glance, we can look at buildings, memorials, and landmarks and immediately sense their place in the world. In this stunning graphic novel, The Bridge tells the story of the iconic Brooklyn Bridge through the family that made it all possible. Originally designed by John Augustus Roeblings, the Brooklyn Bridge became more than just one man’s obsession, but a family quest to see it through in a monumental vision of the impossible. In fact, it was John Roeblings son Washington who came back from the Civil War to take up this colossal municipal project. After working on the caissons and suffering from what would eventually be termed “Caisson Disease”, Washington Roeblings was bedridden with his chronic condition. Not to be defeated, he explained everything to his wife Emily who went to the site, supervised the construction, contractors, shifty politicians, and carried the weight of all those naysayers as they pushed to finish the project.

While this book chronicles the historical elements of the bridge and its complicated engineering feats - this is a story of two people who married and brought their unending admiration for each other to this epic feat of design and engineering. While it spans over more than fourteen years, the story moves with clarity and purpose and it feels like no scene or idea is wasted in the telling. This is far from a historical lesson on the bridge construction, this is a story about two innovators, husband and wife, working together. It is their vision together that makes this story so compelling. This is a defining story about love and respect as much as it speaks to structural engineering and caisson building.

Peter Tomasi, a superb storyteller known for his DC Comics influence and his distinction as a New York Times best-selling author, has shaped a stunning and epic story that turns an average, kind, and smart couple into a different kind of superhero, one based in history and the fate of a great city. Sara DuVall’s artwork is more than a compliment to this story. It seems that a story about engineering and building is illustrated with the precision and vision of a beautiful schematic for the story. The black and white illustrations are intentionally tall and elongated and really speak to a vision and style that matches the vision of the story being told. It is through the story and the illustrations that this story is a woven detailed history of two unlikely heroes and their journey from the shores of New York over a bridge to Brooklyn. This excellent graphic novel belongs on your spring reading list.