Last summer I rented a room for a few months. It was more than a furnished room. It was a personal room full of books, dvd movies, Russian dictionaries, photos, a couple of cactuses at the window and abandoned white socks in the corners.
The girl who rented me the room left there a lot of her things because she just had to do a three months stage at a cinema summer festival in Milan.
Dropsie Avenue by Will Eisner was packed among a ton of Jean Claude Izzo noir books. At that time there were afternoons in which all I had to do was filling the washing machine chewing on the meaning of existence.
I took the book and I started to read it carelessly, just for curiosity. I'm not that much into graphic novels, but this looked like a good one.
Dropsie Avenue is the story of a street of South Bronx, NYC from its very first settlement to modern times. It's like watching a documentary on tv about the rise and fall of a civilization, with the subtle difference that Eisner draws and writes just on a single and apparently unimportant road.
Indeed Dropsie Avenue is very important being a microcosm of an American macrocosm. From pioneerism age, til prohibition years, from the Great Depression til the New Deal, from Vietnamese to Iraqi war, all that hits the US hits Dropsie Avenue as well. And racial conflicts, speculation, drugs.
Eisner is able to create the sensation of a neighborhood century after century, albeit his drawings are not always as evocative as the events they should describe.