Abrams Comicarts under the direction of Charles Kochman, proves once again that comics can be about real people and real events that are just as interesting and compelling as fiction.
The Roebling family and their manufacturing and construction company were known first for their wire cables and then for the suspension bridges built with them. Father John Roebling had long hoped to build a suspension bridge between Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn, and at the time this story begins in 1852, has begun to draw up plans. His young son Washington wants to help, but John is a stern father and sterner taskmaster, sending his son to study at Renssalaer Institute before taking his place in the family business. The Civil War sends Washington in another direction when he enlists, and Washington’s skills as a bridge builder are soon in use for the Union Army. While on leave in Washington DC, young Roebling falls in love with Emily Warren, the sister of General Warren. Once Washington is home from the war and he and Emily are married, constructing the Brooklyn Bridge becomes the family’s focus. There are many challenges to overcome. John Roebling’s plans include new ways of constructing stone towers on the bed of the East River using compressed air to keep the river out. This is a highly dangerous process, one that will take a high toll on workers and the Roebling family alike. While the original plan called for the bridge to be built in a few years, challenges and setbacks make it a much longer task, and one in which even Emily must take an important role.
This is a fine book, the writing and art are clear and engaging, and the story is one any reader will enjoy. Highly recommended.