Early reviews of “Prophet Against Slavery: Benjamin Lay, a graphic novel”: (Photo: Nate Powell holding his copy).
Starred review: “The inspiring life of Benjamin Lay, history’s ‘first revolutionary abolitionist, gets an impressive, energetic graphic adaptation.” — Terry Hong, Smithsonian BookDragon, Shelf Awareness
“Lester’s graphic novel does a tremendous job capturing this visual, and the fiery empathy with which the man carried himself despite his stature. And I am grateful for that: Prophet Against Slavery has exposed me to a truly fascinating bit of undertold American history.” — Thom Dunn, Boing Boing. Dunn is also a staff writer for the New York Times’ Wirecutter
“Prophet Against Slavery: Benjamin Lay,” out this week from Beacon Press, tells this revolutionary’s life story in moody, evocative, and provocative illustrations. Expressive faces and pained bodies move the action and the atmosphere, in ink, charcoal, paint in austere grays, blacks, and whites.” — Nina MacLaughlin, Boston Globe
“Moving images, a passionate script, and a compelling narrative in one.” — Adel Franklyn, Broken Pencil
“While the story alone merits reading. Lester’s art gives a flavour that lingers in the reader’s mind…. the deep inks and sharp lines are thoroughly modern in their display of Lay’s aggressive passion for freedom.” — Jeff Provine, BlogCritics Magazine
“Lay embodied inter-sectional resistance centuries before the term was coined. In the 18th century he not only fought against slavery and condemned racism but supported women’s rights, criticized class disparities, and promoted the human treatment of animals.” — Michael G. Vann, New Books Network
“A fascinating read.” — Graphic Policy
“Some of the most memorable scenes occur as Lay disrupts Quaker meetings, where Lester is tasked with illustrating both the shock of the gatherings, and the violence Lay attempted to bring to light. A hard task of simultaneity that Lester works to represent through those dark-lined sketches overlaid on the scenes.” — Sean Alan Cleary, Fifth Estate
“Lester captures the overlooked legacy of a fiery abolitionist who became the most disowned Quaker of his era in this raw graphic biography. . . . In documenting a life rife with cruelty and passion, Lester’s artwork is aptly grim and features rough linework that’s splashed with gray washes and black ink blots that evoke blood, smoke, and shadows…” — Publishers Weekly
“Prophet Against Slavery vividly integrates Lester’s illustrations with profound words that expertly represent Lay. Lester’s graphic novel is a brilliant adaptation that pays tribute to both Lay and Rediker’s biography while providing its audience with a captivating reading experience that they won’t soon forget.” — NEXUS (Camosun College)
“He’s (Lester) got the entire subject of the Quaker dwarf with an outsider’s grasp of the social and moral corruption around him in the economical monochrome of these spreads. Things *are* black-and-white when one reduces them to lines drawn in the sand. Using the palette he chose makes the starkness of Benjamin Lay’s moral universe simply part of the experience of learning about him.” — Richard Derus, Library Thing
“David’s sketchy drawing style is perfectly suited to the subject matter, reminiscent of a notebook or a journal from a past century.” — Jonathon Dalton, Cloudscape Comics Society
“Beautifully drawn work, with emotionally affecting imagery and layouts; I was mostly unaware of the history of Benjamin Lay, and enjoyed learning more about his work and efforts.” — Rotem Anna Diamant, Canada Comics Open Library, Toronto
“The art is beautiful and very original, and I love the spare and poetic quality of the text. It’s a compelling combination, overall, an accessible and edifying text. I teach Kindred, also from Beacon, and I’m already considering ways to pair the two texts!” — Nick DePascal, Santa Fe University of Art and Design

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