Nat Turner

It’s been out for a while (hence this not being a Shiny review), but I’ve just read Kyle Baker‘s Nat Turner and I can’t recommend it enough. Virtually wordless apart from narration culled from Turner’s own confession, the four issue comic (now available as two digest-size books) tells the story of Turner’s life, from birth, through the horrors of slavery, to the uprising he inspired and his subsequent death, through Baker’s intense, expressive illustrations. Baker’s art manages a tightrope walk between historical illustration and modern cartooning, never veering too much to either side.

Often slavery is viewed purely in terms of the ethical centre of the issue, that human beings should not be owned by each other, which is fair enough as this is a vital moral point. However, in looking at slavery in terms of the central moral issue of human freedom, it is possible to lose track of the more visceral, day-to-day horrors of slavery as it was carried out. Works like Nat Turner provide a vital reminder of exactly how horrifying and brutal the slave trade was, and the daily human consequences of this vile traffic.

A really important comic, and one which should be read widely and for years to come. If you want a little preview, there’s one here.

Mark

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May 20, 2007. Tags: . Uncategorized.

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