21: Roberto Clemente

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NUMBER OF PAGES

195

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ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED

May 2011

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The biographical 21: The Story of Roberto Clemente is a human drama of courage, faith and dignity, inspired by the life of baseball star Roberto Clemente.

No other baseball player dominated the 1960s like Roberto Clemente and no other Latin American player achieved his numbers. Born in 1934 in Puerto Rico, Clemente excelled in track and field and loved baseball. By the age of 17 he was playing in the PR Winter league. Spotted by the big-league scouts because of his hitting, fielding, and throwing abilities, he joined the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1954. A fierce competitor, within two seasons he was hitting above .300 consistently. He played like a man possessed, fielding superbly, unleashing his rifle arm, and hitting in clutch situations. Despite his aesthetic brilliance, he faced prejudice throughout his career and was given his due only after his unexpected and tragic death in a 1972 plane crash.

Wilfred Santiago captures the grit of Clemente’s rise from his impoverished Puerto Rican childhood, to the majesty of his performance on the field, to his fundamental decency as a human being in a drawing style that combines realistic attention to detail and expressive cartooning.

“Wilfred Santiago’s 21 is brilliant and beautiful, challenging and lyrical... which seems exactly right, as Roberto Clemente was all those things and more.” – Rob Neyer, ESPN.com

“A kaleidoscopic look at the life of the great Clemente. Santiago’s artwork is superb and the depth of his passion for the subject and incredible preparation comes through on every page.” – Steven Goldman, author of
Forging Genius: The Making of Casey Stengel and editor of Baseball Prospectus

“I’ll admit, being a baseball player often feels like a comic book experience: the costumes, the origins, the battles for great victories and inspiration it conjures in our fellow man. This book captures the essence of one of our sport’s greatest heroes, and it does so in a way that engages the imaginations as much as it reveals the heart, ink, color, style, and character; I can think of no better way to share a tale of a true legend.” – Dirk Hayhurst, Toronto Blue Jays pitcher and author of
The Bullpen Gospels

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Comic Book Resources

•Comics website

“Chronicling Clemente’s life from his early years in Puerto Rico to his untimely death in 1972, Santiago avoids the traditional traps of being too staid, didactic or reverential, creating a book that show us what made the Pittsburgh Pirates member so special without feeling like a history lesson. It’s a book that’s both fun as well as informative.”

Comics Alliance

•Comics website and blog

“Santiago’s 21 is a treat. Its 200 pages fly by, the visuals are great, and the dialogue dead-on. The last few pages are heartbreaking and effective.”

The Comics Journal

•American comics magazine

“Wilfred Santiago is a gifted and visceral storyteller. This was apparent early on in the severe art styles, colors, and textures seen in In My Darkest Hour, one of his first solo graphic novels, which documents the dark life of a young depressive Hispanic man. Santiago’s abilities have since reached a sublime status with the smoother and pitch perfect tapestry of storytelling devices he used in 21: The Story of Roberto Clemente.”