Witch Hunts: A Graphic History of the Burning Timesby Wood Written by, Morton Written by, Greg Chapman
For three centuries, as the Black Death rampaged through Europe and the Reformation tore the Church apart, tens of thousands were arrested as witches and subjected to torture and execution, including being burned alive. This graphic novel examines the background; the witch hunters' methods; who profited; the brave few who protested; and how the Enlightenment gradually replaced fear and superstition with reason and science. Famed witch hunters Heinrich Kramer, architect of the infamous Malleus Maleficarum, and Matthew Hopkins, England's notorious "Witchfinder General," are covered as are the Salem Witch Trials and the last executions in Europe. Graphic Novels by McFarland: McFarland has brought its 34 years of publishing experience to the graphic format. To browse them all, both nonfiction and fiction, see the McFarland Graphic Novels webpage. If you are an author or artist interested in submitting a book proposal, guidelines are offered on the McFarland Graphic Novels webpage.
- McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
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Meet the Author
Rocky Wood is the Bram Stoker Award-winning author of many books about Stephen King. He is president of the Horror Writers Association and lives in Victoria, Australia. Lisa Morton is a playwright, fiction and reference book author and screenwriter. A Bram Stoker Award winner for superior achievement in horror writing, she lives in North Hollywood, California. Greg Chapman is a fiction writer and horror illustrator, specializing in comics and graphic novels. Two horror novellas were published in 2011. He lives in Central Queensland, Australia.
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I've been FaceBook friends with Greg for a while now and love his work (both his written word and his artwork). An ARC of Dark Screams (published by Cemetery Dance Publications) recently exposed me to the mind of Lisa Morton. Rocky Wood, well, if you don't know who he is (was), you have no business reading anything in the horror genre. So, when I found out that the three of these brilliant people collaborated on a graphic novel - wild horses couldn't keep me away from getting my hands on a copy; and I did, autographed as well (by all three). A few years back I started writing a novel about Lilith - considered by many to be the first "vampire"/"witch". Before I started, I did a lot of research, a LOT of research. I thought I knew more about, and subsequently the persecution of, witches throughout history - but as the saying goes, "You learn something new everyday." From the artwork, to the lettering, to the story, this book nails it. It was interesting and informative - and presented reasonings behind the misguided views of a misogynistic society (even though a few men were tried and executed as witches). If you are even a little interested in the very dark period in humanity's past, you need to pick up this book, now. Don't hesitate, go right now and buy it. And while you're at it, check out the other works of Greg Chapman, Lisa Morton, and the late Rocky Wood.
When I purchased this book I was looking forward to read it, as the subject matter was one I had an interest in, and I haven't read a graphic novel in a long while. It was pleasurable to find that Witch Hunts: A Graphic History of the Burning Times, exceeded both my cravings. It isn't easy to produce a non-fiction graphic novel - how do you encapsulate complex concepts or events in graphical form, in just a few pages, if that? While a picture may represent a thousand words, will you create the right picture, or doom the reader to the wrong thousand words? How can a bundle of pages of graphics with brief phrases, truly represent the overall theme?. Well, Rocky Wood and Lisa Morton's research and words, combined with Greg Chapman's excellent craftsmanship, certainly does tick those boxes. The reading experience is emmersive, emotional, educational. In terms of the graphics, I particularly liked the tastefulness of the product. Sexuality, particularly the predatory side, is a part of the Witch Hunt experience, alongside brutality and sadism (all, mind you, perpetrated by those persecuting alleged witches), and yet Greg Chapman is careful in terms of how much graphic violence is portrayed - without losing the sense of what was happening. Kudos to him. The narration, stemming from the research, is clear and concise, and equally importantly, is consistent from start to finish in terms of style. A dimension that I appreciated was the clarity of the moral message coming from the writers - this was a despicable period and it was more than just a matter of superstitious fear, it was also entwined with greed, avarice and misogyny. It was important to call a spade a spade. As you can tell by my spiel, I really enjoyed the work, and because it is so crammed with interesting history, it is a book I can refer back to, and reread with pleasure. A well deserved 5 stars, and worthy of winning awards.