Nicolo Yu's Reviews > Nat Turner

Nat Turner by Kyle Baker
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Apr 18, 12

bookshelves: summer-reading-2012, graphic-novels
Read on April 15, 2012 — I own a copy, read count: 1

It is said the great masters of the comic book art form can tell a complete story without the use of any dialogue and instead rely solely upon their visual storytelling skills. In his self-published graphic novel, Kyle Baker approaches such rarefied strata by using his powerfully expressive visuals to tell the story of Nat Turner, a once and former American slave, who achieved folk hero status since much of his story has been suppressed. One side sees him as a messiah figure and another as a monster who has had a hand in the deaths of dozens of individuals. He is a polarizing figure to say the least. It is a great story, with moments that could lend itself to be depicted exquisitely in a graphic novel. But it seemed that Baker could only sustain his greatness for half of his story. The second half becomes a jumbled mess of pictures and excerpts from Nat Turner’s own confessions. It is an attempt to tell as much story as it can in the remaining pages but it became a quagmire the story could never quite recover from.

Despite its flaws, this is an excellently written and drawn graphic novel. Much of the praise it has received is deserved. It is one of those adult comic books that forces you to think as you read it and compels one to decide. Who is Nat Turner? Is he a hero, a murderer, a monster or a savior? Baker provided a list of the sources he has used in his research and to help the reader to help form a decision.

This is not for children. There is much violence and gore depicted. The drawings are done monochromatically, so the reader is saved from seeing much of the spurting blood from a decapitation. I read the 208 pages quite easily, as there is barely any dialogue and the author helps the reader move along with his excellent visual storytelling.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by jzhunagev (new) - added it

jzhunagev Nice!

K.D. lent me this. :)

Nicolo Yu jzhunagev wrote: "Nice!

K.D. lent me this. :)"

It is, isn't it? I found a copy in a Booksale and though its 208 pages, it went quite fast because most of it was pictures.

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