WOW! WOW, WOW, WOW!
I read about this in EW – and picked it up on Friday during a lunchtime excursion to The Beguiling here in Toronto. This is a very ambitious work by Baker as he takes on a tough story and is working in the shadows of William Styron’s Pulitzer Prize winning, yet highly controversial, novel. From the outset, it is clear that Baker is going to tell Nat Turner’s story in his own way. This first issue (of four) begins in a West African village, and we are forced to witness both the cruelty and desperation of man, as we turn page after page of this lushly penciled dialogue-free book. This is heavy stuff, but Baker somehow makes it appealing. What impressed me the most was the ‘African’ vibe he gave to a lot of the art. There are a couple of panels that are most silhouetted figures, and it brought to mind the drawing of female figures on a batik I purchased in Burkina Faso.
This is as good as comics get, folks. Baker’s work here is as good as any of Will Eisner’s ‘topical’ work. Yes, you read that right. That’s as high as praise gets. In fact, after reading this book – it makes perfect sense to me that Kyle Baker is the natural choice to pick up Eisner’s still burning torch. I look forward to the next 3 issues and see where Baker takes this story. I am inclined to go back a re-read Styron’s book (and some of the criticisms of it) to get a better sense of the unique twists Baker is giving the tale. I probably don’t need to tell you that I highly recommend picking this one up, folks.