One of Booklist's Top 10 Graphic Novels: 2012 (for 2011 books)
Finalist for the 2011 CASEY Award for Best Baseball Book from Spitball: The Literary Baseball Magazine
One of ALA/YALSA's Great Graphic Novels for Teens 2012
Named to the Texas Library Association 2012 "Texas Maverick Graphic Novels Reading List"
A "Notable Comic" in The Best American Comics 2013
Now available for the first time in paperback, Wilfred Santiagos instant classic 21: The Story of Roberto Clemente is a human drama of courage, faith, and dignity, inspired by the life of the acclaimed Pittsburgh Pirates baseball star who died too young. 21 chronicles Clemente's life from his early days growing up, through the highlights of his career, capturing the grit of his rise from an impoverished Puerto Rican childhood to the majesty of his performance on the field, and to his fundamental decency off of it. Santiago's inviting style combines realistic attention to detail and expressive cartooning to great effect.
"Nearly every page brings a new compositional marvel, setting energetic, limber figures against stylized photographic backgrounds washed in sepia tones and Pirate-yellow highlights. The in-game sequences, though, are show-stoppers, taking advantage of dizzying perspective shifts to capture the fluid, whirling nature of the game as it moves in fits and starts through huge moments of pause into cracking shots of sizzling drama. It’s not a comprehensive biography by any means, nor does it try to be one. But for a book that matches the pure athleticism, unshakable compassion, and towering legacy of its subject, look no further." — Ian Chipman, Booklist (Starred Review)
"… Wilfred Santiago captures the physical grace of baseball and creates a story of visceral and emotional force … Santiago … has produced a rich and surprising work. The compositions and framing are intricate and varied … Santiago captures Clemente's relentless vitality as a player, frames the story around the historical and religious traditions of Puerto Rico, and handles Clemente's tragic death with restraint, all with a gimlet eye and the sensitivity of a true artist. It is a classic story given new life in this fresh, innovative telling." — Alex Belth, Sports Illustrated
"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