A work of graphic non-fiction by the legendary comic artist, Will Eisner. This was his last work, finished right before he died, seeking to once again refute the legitimacy of that classic work of forgery and anti-Semitism, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. He tells us how the book was created by the Russian secret police in the late 1800s, by almost completely lifting a French book deriding Napoleon by those seeking find a scapegoat for Tsarist Russia's many problems. Ever since, this book has played a major role in all anti-Semitic movements since. It is in this book where the great Judeo-Masonic conspiracy of bankers to take over the world was invented. He continues to show the obvious plagiarism involved in the creation of the book, plus the numerous times the book has been shown to be complete fiction. And yet, to this day, the Protocols can still be found in many bookstores, and is still believed as truth by many around the world. Eisner spent 20 years working on his book, which obviously affected him very deeply.
Speaking from the perspective of a baptist who lived most his life in the south, I had never even heard of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, but I had heard of Eisner. I've been a fan of his Spirit work for many years, as well as his early Hawks of the Seas comic strip. I moderately enjoyed A Contract with God (which along with Gil Kane's Blackmark, holds a partial claim to the title of first graphic novel), but I guess I never really had a life experience that would allow me to identify with any of those "tenament" stories that filled so many of his graphic novels.
So when I heard that The Plot was his final work, I had to read it just out of respect for a grandmaster of the comics medium, even though his later work really hadn't moved me. What I found was one of my all-time favorite Eisner stories.
Using a combination of his inimitable comic storytelling and illustrated prose, he systematically lays out the history of the protocols in such a way that, afterwards, there's not much room to debate his main point: to illustrate the illegitimate nature of the Protocols.
My favorite thing about Eisner has always been the whimsical subtext that underlies much of his work. It's a quality that exposes the sometimes satirical nature of real life. Due to the subject matter, that is mostly missing here. Instead, Eisner has a slightly sharper edge to his storytelling, because he is dealing with some fairy unsavory characters, after all. Nonetheless, it never comes across as meanspirited. He means no insult even to the worst villains of his work. Rather, he is using the story's tone to express disdain for the tragic inanity of prejudice. His villains are, in may ways, fools who just don't know any better.
The Plot is a fine and important read. And a fitting capstone to a career of genius.