Written and Illustrated by Kyle Baker
Kyle Baker Publishing
Review by L’Indépendant
This is the first “Leaving the Seat Up,” a new column highlighting series that were either cancelled or never finished. The subject of the first column, “Nat Turner,” will finally be finished and distributed in February, one and a half years after the first two issues first went on sale. This column was written before that news, but it shall still be published, in hopes that you’ll pick up the entire mini-series.
I wasn’t going to pick this up. I’d read King David, so I was a little familiar with Kyle Baker’s work. He was also the artist on Captain America: Truth, and I picked #1 of that series up. Something about this project struck me, so I picked it up on a whim. I didn’t know he had his own publishing company, but I was proud of him for that, and thought I’d throw some money his way and see what he was doing now. I found at that the book is based on Nat Turner’s confession almost 200 years ago after he led a slave rebellion in Virginia.
#1 was amazing the first time I’d read it. The complete story was told without any dialogue, only using Nat Turner’s own words from his confession, and it conveyed a lot about the slave trade in America hundreds of years ago. The story starts with a woman who seems to be Nat Turner’s mother being taken from a village in Africa. The story continues with death and struggle on a slave ship from Africa, bound for America. If you’ve seen Amistad, you have a rough idea of what happened on slave ships.
#2 gives us some insight into life on a plantation. Baker shows the cruelty a slave faced for expressing themselves, for daring to go against the grain. The struggle for freedom is shown, and in the backdrop, and then the second half of the book, we are introduced to Nat Turner as a boy, and we watch him grow into a man.
All of this is a necessary exposition…which is why not seeing issue #3 is almost painful. The story of Nat Turner is that of a slave who led a singularly remarkable slave rebellion. The rebellion is the reason for this book, the reason Turner was chosen and not an anonymous slave. Baker’s art makes the waiting even more unbearable, as it’s vivid and expressive, and his pencils really capture a historic and ominous feel to the events described in the book.
Pick up the first two issues, or the Encore Edition, and the remaining issues in February. Also, if you’d like to highlight a comic series or mini-series you liked that was cancelled or left unfinished, shoot John Lewis a private message in the forum.
Posted originally: 2006-11-25 22:42:21