Witch Hunts

Witch Hunts: A Graphic History of the Burning Times

Witch Hunts: A Graphic History of the Burning Times

Rocky Wood (Author), Lisa Morton (Author), Greg Chapman (Illustrator)

McFarland & Company, Inc. (May 22, 2012)

Reviewed: October 3, 2012

History comes to life in this impressive graphic novel. The writing packs a historical punch driven by the lore surrounding the witch hunting madness throughout the world; the illustrations transport the reader to the trials and punishments of those condemned of witchcraft. The Salem Witch Trials are highly publicized in history books; however, Witch Hunts delves deeper into lesser known witchcraft condemnations throughout Europe. Most of the stories are in chronological order with each illustration providing exact period replication. The book begins with the first execution in the American colonies, jumps to the Old Testament, swirls around in Europe, and finishes in (almost) present day America. The extensive research, passion, and knowledge on the subject-matter clearly shows throughout the book and graphics. Had history classes been taught in such a fashion, I might have been inclined to pay more attention.

Being a numbers person, the only issue I had with the book itself was the chronological ordering of the stories. In a few places, the ordering skips ahead, backtracks, and then skips ahead again. I prefer reading history like reading a ruler: starting at the beginning and incrementing forward. Regardless of my pickiness with the ordering, Witch Hunts is a phenomenal resource of data.

I had the pleasure of meeting Rocky Wood and Greg Chapman at their book signing at Notions Unlimited Bookshop in Chelsea, Victoria, Australia in August. I have to admit I was slightly dazzled by Rocky who is also the President of the American Horror Writers Association. Who would have guessed in a million years I would have the opportunity to rub shoulders with him and several other fabulous authors. I was surrounded by dark fiction/horror writers, and I’ve never felt safer.  Matthew Tait, Rocky Wood, and Greg Chapman are only a few of the force to be reckoned with in Australia.

If you are ever in the Melbourne area, Notions Unlimited Bookshop is a fun place to spend your day. Aside from all the books, zombies can be found in strange places.

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