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Nat Turner

(Nat Turner)

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  1,118 ratings  ·  167 reviews
The story of Nat Turner and his slave rebellion—which began on August 21, 1831, in Southampton County, Virginia—is known among school children and adults. To some he is a hero, a symbol of Black resistance and a precursor to the civil rights movement; to others he is monster—a murderer whose name is never uttered.

In Nat Turner, acclaimed author and illustrator Kyle Baker
Paperback, 208 pages
Published July 1st 2008 by Harry N. Abrams (first published June 15th 2006)
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Average rating 3.98  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,118 ratings  ·  167 reviews

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K.D. Absolutely
Oct 07, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Ariel
I bought and read this book because of three reasons: (1) it’s graphics and oh the illustrations are so exquisite looking; (2) the book looks a real bargain at P180 with the 280 thick glossy pages and (3) I have been vacillating in finally cracking my copy of 1967 Pulitzer Price-winning and Time 100 book, William Styron’s The Confessions of Nat Turner open. Why? It seems like a daunting book to read: thick, historical and it has a picture of a black man looking over a horizon in a pensive mood ...more
Nicolo Yu
Apr 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Jan 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Joe by: Marc Reiner
Shelves: graphic-novel
Oh man, can we talk?

This graphic novel was a very intense and worthwhile read. I was into comics as a kid, but graphic novels in the 21st century are of an entirely different make and model. Kyle Baker is a phenomenal artist in his own right, but the combination of just enough writing and his rich renderings still has me riveted. What a history lesson! And I can see why historians would have tried to squash this one. Given the time period, the last thing they would have wanted was a continual
This graphic novel of the life of Nat Turner doesn't pull any punches. The brutality of slavery is graphically portrayed, so you get a much stronger emotional response to these horrors, and that provides context for the actions of Nat Turner. The violence is simply shocking. One interesting point about this book is that there are no words in the comics themselves. Instead, the comic panels are accompanied by the words from Nat Turner's confession. So, in a sense, the comic brings a historical ...more
Feb 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
No question this is a feat of art and storytelling, one with impact beyond the cover's close. I can't imagine any reader wouldn't have a complicated experience, which poses a challenge in articulating response.

The depictions of brutality, both of the slave trade and of the rebellion, can be difficult to navigate. Important. Essential. Eye-opening. But repulsive (intentionally so) all the same. That the story is largely wordless, leaning on the images to convey narrative and emotion with enough
Brandon White
Feb 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I appreciate Kyle Bakers even-handedness in his narration of the Maafa (black holocaust), Nat Turner's life and rebellion. Books like this scare me sometimes because upon being read it can really peel back the layers of "political correctness" and expose a person's true biases, intelligence, and agendas. This book would function as a good tool for America's 12 step program for humanization, particularly step one: breaking denial. Are you one of the ones that IMMEDIATELY digests Nat Turner's ...more
Sep 02, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
A brutal, unflinching look at Nat Turner. Mike Wallace may have used the title "The Hate that Hate Produced" when discussing the Nation of Islam, but it perfectly fits the story of Nat Turner, and this book captures the violence and bitterness of slavery and Turner's seething revenge. The illustrations are perfect, and the fact that 90 percent of the comic is wordless, with only a few quotes taken directly from "Confessions" makes it starkly haunting.
Jon Nakapalau
Aug 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The story of Nat Turner and the revolt named after him is told in this unflinching GN. Caution: some of the scenes are very disturbing.
Daniel A.
It has been said that one benchmark of truly great storytelling in comics is whether the writer/artist—because in such stories (excepting a "stunt" that Marvel Comics published some time ago), that person is often one and the same—can tell an effective story without the use of words, only pictures. If that is indeed the benchmark, then veteran comics creator Kyle Baker has written, if not the apotheosis of such storytelling, something that comes very close.

Baker's work Nat Turner tells the true
Feb 14, 2014 rated it liked it
This book is a super fast read, and not because there are a significant amount of graphics to text. Personally I enjoyed having to use my mind significantly more with the closure in this story compared to many other graphic novels I have read lately that has almost made me into an automaton when it comes to multiple panels with texts in them. Being able to fill in some of those gaps with my own imagination rather than what the next text bubble says really just give it that realistic feeling to ...more
Aug 25, 2011 rated it liked it
Started VERY strong, very reminiscent of the old wordless books from Lynd Ward, etc. (The only words being small excerpts written by Turner himself.) If the book continued like that, this would be a real masterpiece, but when the big events start happening, we get panels and panels of violence and lists of who went where and killed whom. The interesting parts of the story got snowed under by the facts (although there are a few poignant moments even in the midst of the chaos.) So the brilliance ...more
B. P. Rinehart
This book is a very interesting book on the largest slave rebellion in U.S. history. Nat Turner led a rebellion that killed 55 people in Southampton County, Virginia, before the violent suppression of it and Turner's own execution. The book is mostly illustration, except for narration from The Confessions of Nat Turner. I am thought this was a decent read for such somber and powerful subject-matter as slavery and murder. This is, I believe, my first work by Kyle Baker, but I am interested in ...more
Jun 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Over the years, Kyle Baker has proven himself to be a strong writer and a brilliant artist. In NAT TURNER, he chooses to let his subject tell his own story, and use his formidable art to clarify, illuminate, and provide counterpoint to Turner's words.

This is the story of Nat Turner's slave rebellion, so it's a not a nice story. But it should not be "nice." Baker doesn't shy away from the horrors of slavery or the horrors of the rebellion, and he masterfully uses the graphic novel form to
Kitty Red-Eye
Sep 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Excellent drawings. And the story is certainly powerful. I remember buying a book about Nat Turner's rebellion in New Orleans, read it when back in Europe along with a book on Frederick Douglass (whom I preferred).

This book is good, but it leaves me with some questions about the biography of Turner, though: what was that thing which supposedly happened before he was born, that his mother told him about? Did his father escape, or was he caught? The woman captured in Africa and shipped to America
Erica Frazier
Feb 13, 2013 rated it liked it
Nat Turner is a graphic novel that tells the story of an 1831 slave rebellion in Virginia. The narrative is well organized and compelling while it is also extremely horrifying and disturbing at times. It is not difficult for me to feel compassion for the slaves and feel disgust toward those that enslave them; however, I will be honest and confess that it makes me severely uncomfortable to cheer for a man who leads a group of people to do the things that the people in Turner's rebellion did. I am ...more
David Schaafsma
Almost the whole story is told through some very impressive artwork, and it is an important story to know from American history that might generally get ignored.. maybe a serious response to Django Unchained for a curious reader wondering about slave rebellions/revolts... and Styron's book The Confessions of Nat Turner would also be a good one to read here... I liked it. Includes, later on, some of Turner's own words, some analysis and commentary for those that might want to know more...
Nov 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is extraordinary. Primary source material supplements haunting art for an important, empathetic examination of Nat Turner. We should all question how he has been remembered in history, and this book does just that.
Ms. Warchol
Apr 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
The artwork was beautiful. There were some moments where I wanted more from the text because I was struggling with understanding everything happening in the images (but maybe that's just me).
Feb 22, 2018 rated it liked it
The art is gorgeous, the story gut wrenching.
Bethany Hagenbuch
Apr 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Who doesn’t love a good graphic novel? This book is the perfect way to get non-readers into a good book. Based on true accounts, Nat Turner (the graphic novel) is about a young man’s effort to resist slavery during the 1800’s. For some people, he was a hero. Unfortunately for others, they wished him dead. Nat Turner would later be acknowledged as courageous man from the pre-Civil Rights movements, but this book shows him before the fame. It depicts how hard it was for people like Nate to feel ...more
Aug 10, 2019 rated it really liked it

Nat Turner is a violent story and therefore a violent book. The story is told through images with occasional excerpts of text from Turner’s confessions. The images are done in sepia tones. Due to its violent and graphic nature, this is a book for mature young adults/teens and older.

Nat Turner is a haunting, violent story of Turner’s insurrection on August 21-22, 1831, which resulted in the murders of 55 people. It is told through powerful images and selected excerpts from Turner’s confession as
Jun 30, 2019 rated it it was ok
It is very apparent here that the reader is expected to have some basic knowledge regarding the Nat Turner resistance before deciding to continue further into Baker's work.
This being a historical (graphic) novel falls flat in establishing and conveying a coherent story and as a result fails to keep the readers who otherwise have never heard of the Nat Turner rebellion interested.
As a whole, this entire 're-imagining' gives off the impression that it was mainly intended for North American
Sep 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Really fantastic. The visuals and silence brings the reality so much more to life.
Feb 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Nat Turner was a African American slave in Southampton County Virginia who was born in 1800. He led a slave rebellion in August 1831 and was executed that November. When he was in jail awaiting execution, a white lawyer named Thomas R. Gray visited him and wrote down Turner's own story which was published in 1831 as The Confessions of Nat Turner. This is not to be confused with the 1967 novel of the same title by the white Virginia author William Styron. However both Styron's novel and the ...more
Oct 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: trades-read
I've been thinking about this book, off and on, since I finished it. It's rare that a comic has this kind of effect on me. I love me some Batman, but most of his stories are popcorn. This was a steak dinner, with A1 sauce...and a hot towel.

The story of Nat Turner isn't one that is told, really told, in school. As Baker mentions in his introduction Turner is usually relegated to a paragraph in most history books,if that, but most all of us know his name and know he was important.

Well, Nat
Rashmi Prem-Janardhan
Nov 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
As a novice to the world of graphic novels and comics, Nat Turner was a plunge into the icy waters of this genre. The book follows the story of Nat Turner’s slave rebellion, with the type of honesty and integrity modern, historical retellings often lack. Nat Turner is an engaging lead. Intelligent from a young age, he grows up aware of his position as a slave, with ambitions to leave the state the white men have trapped him in. He is constantly sure of himself, always aware of what his white ...more
Sep 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Never did I think I would come upon a graphic novel about Nat Turner. As Nat Turner was the author of the most infamous slave rebellion in the antebellum South, I absolutely had to buy this book. There are few words in the beginning, just harrowing images. This book begins with the capture of people in Africa, from the perspective of Nat Turner's mother. Turner was extremely religious (which I did not realize,) and believed himself to be a prophet and an instrument of God. He saw signs, and ...more
Feb 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
Nat Turner’s story will disturb and discomfort readers, as it should. He organized a slave rebellion which resulted in the deaths of around 60 white individuals ranging from infants in cradles to old women. This makes Turner a divisive figure. After spending almost 31 years in slavery, were his actions justified?

This book tells the story primarily through wordless illustrations and excerpts from THE CONFESSIONS OF NAT TURNER (compiled and edited by Thomas R. Gray). The illustrations evoke strong
Kevin Summers
Jan 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult
I would like this book to have more text from Nat Turner's own "confessions."
Dichotomy Girl
This book was so very very disturbing to me, it touches so much on Race, History, Religion and basic Right/Wrong....and as much as I hate slavery and the abhorrent acts that were perpetuated on an entire race of people for hundreds of years, nevertheless I cannot celebrate Nat Turner's Rebellion.

This graphic novel is interspersed with passages from Nat Turner's Confession, in which it casually mentions killing babies in their cradles and beheading toddlers. It lists 55 (white) people that were
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Kyle John Baker is an American cartoonist, comic book writer-artist, and animator known for his graphic novels and for a 2000s revival of the series Plastic Man.
Baker has won numerous Eisner Awards and Harvey Awards for his work in the comics field.
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“Turner was a lousy fighter, an inept swordsman, and most of the people he tried to kill didn't die by his hand. His sole strength was his superior brain. He became a leader of men because he had developed his mind by reading, which happened to be illegal. Coincidence?” 0 likes
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