In this hybrid of graphic novel and memoir, a lawyer and historian brings to light the enslaved Black women warriors whose leadership of slave revolts has been overlooked in the historical record, narrating her own journey through the archives to uncover this lost history.
Sprawling yet perfectly balanced, his two-page compositions wrap the reader up in Hall's thoughts ... Martínez' pages can be a bit overcrowded at times, with snarls of hectic lines obscuring his clever effects. But his versatility is amazing. He draws all sorts of complex scenes—from the interior of a log cabin in Nebraska to an Ahogi cavalry charge (a frontal view, no less!)—seemingly effortlessly ... Martínez' innovative techniques are crucial to Wake's success ... Hall's eloquence and frank emotionalism are transcendently realized in Martínez art, beckoning the reader inexorably into this story—even the parts that only take place inside Hall's mind. With its remarkable blend of passion and fact, action and reflection, Wake sets a new standard for illustrating history.
Illustrator Martínez works in stark black strokes to convey the urgency of this ugly legacy. His images reveal how we live in the wake of the past, by depicting glimpses of wraith-like reflections of slavery’s history in today’s puddles and store windows ... Heartbreaking yet triumphant, Hall’s vivid reconstructions bore laser-like into a history long hidden. Her engaged scholarship adds back facts that have been stricken from many histories, and it empowers current lives and activism. Highly recommended for educators and for all adults and teens concerned about the United States’ promise, past, and future for its diverse peoples.
Martínez’s dramatic woodcut-style illustrations are the perfect complement to Hall’s clear-eyed, impactful storytelling. Underscoring Hall’s insistence that we live in history’s wake, a single frame often encompasses multiple worlds—an eighteenth-century gallows reflected in the window of an NYPD van, a contemporary construction site reminiscent of the sinewy, roiling sea people were forced to travel in chains. A necessary corrective to violent erasure and a tribute to untold strength, this awe-inspiring collaboration should find a wide audience.