Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Kyle Baker's Nat Turner


Today is veteran's day, but it's also the anniversary of another sort. 178 years ago today, Nat Turner was executed for leading a slave rebellion in Virginia. Kyle Baker, one of our nation's most versatile, prolific, and, unfortunately, overlooked cartoonists released a graphic novel of Nat Turner's life, from birth up through his leadership of the slave rebellion, his capture, trial, and execution.

The graphic novel is nearly wordless, mostly dependent on the power of the silent images to carry the story, although block quotes from the 1831 confessions of Nat Turner are reproduced liberally throughout the text.

This book is gorgeous, powerful, dramatic, harrowing... everything you want a reading experience to be. There are few graphic novel biographies that live up to or surpass the intimate, exhaustive promise of prose, but this book does that and more. Next time you're in the shop, pick it up and see for yourself.

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