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Renegade: Martin Luther, the Graphic Biography

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The life of reformer Martin Luther in the graphic novel format. Five hundred years ago a brash young monk single-handedly confronted the most powerful institutions of his day. His bold stand sparked the Protestant Reformation and marked one of the great turning points in history. Martin Luther, a spiritual and historical giant, is loved and hated to this day--and for good re The life of reformer Martin Luther in the graphic novel format. Five hundred years ago a brash young monk single-handedly confronted the most powerful institutions of his day. His bold stand sparked the Protestant Reformation and marked one of the great turning points in history. Martin Luther, a spiritual and historical giant, is loved and hated to this day--and for good reason. The anniversary of the revolution he helped start has produced a spate of doorstop-sized biographies. Luckily, today there exists a more accessible format that does justice to such a colorful, complex character and his tumultuous life and times - the graphic novel. In a world of grinding poverty, plague, and religious superstitions, a child of laborers distinguishes himself at university - until a lightning-bolt conversion lands him in a monastery. There his personal battles with disillusionment and doubt culminate in a cry for freedom. The rest is the stuff of history and legend: Luther's revolt against Rome with the nailing of ninety-five theses to the church door in Wittenberg; his time spent incognito at Wartburg Castle, where he famously throws an inkpot at the devil; his seditious translation and publication of the Bible in the language of the people; his scandalous marriage to former nun Katharina von Bora; and, in later years, his ugly tirades against peasants, Anabaptists, and Jews. Each chapter of Luther's life comes vividly to life thanks to cutting-edge graphic techniques, meticulous historical research, and compelling writing. This could be the biggest breakthrough for Martin Luther since the Gutenberg press. "With its splendid color and unvarnished narrative, this is surely the most successful graphic biography ever." --Georg Howahl, WAZ


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The life of reformer Martin Luther in the graphic novel format. Five hundred years ago a brash young monk single-handedly confronted the most powerful institutions of his day. His bold stand sparked the Protestant Reformation and marked one of the great turning points in history. Martin Luther, a spiritual and historical giant, is loved and hated to this day--and for good re The life of reformer Martin Luther in the graphic novel format. Five hundred years ago a brash young monk single-handedly confronted the most powerful institutions of his day. His bold stand sparked the Protestant Reformation and marked one of the great turning points in history. Martin Luther, a spiritual and historical giant, is loved and hated to this day--and for good reason. The anniversary of the revolution he helped start has produced a spate of doorstop-sized biographies. Luckily, today there exists a more accessible format that does justice to such a colorful, complex character and his tumultuous life and times - the graphic novel. In a world of grinding poverty, plague, and religious superstitions, a child of laborers distinguishes himself at university - until a lightning-bolt conversion lands him in a monastery. There his personal battles with disillusionment and doubt culminate in a cry for freedom. The rest is the stuff of history and legend: Luther's revolt against Rome with the nailing of ninety-five theses to the church door in Wittenberg; his time spent incognito at Wartburg Castle, where he famously throws an inkpot at the devil; his seditious translation and publication of the Bible in the language of the people; his scandalous marriage to former nun Katharina von Bora; and, in later years, his ugly tirades against peasants, Anabaptists, and Jews. Each chapter of Luther's life comes vividly to life thanks to cutting-edge graphic techniques, meticulous historical research, and compelling writing. This could be the biggest breakthrough for Martin Luther since the Gutenberg press. "With its splendid color and unvarnished narrative, this is surely the most successful graphic biography ever." --Georg Howahl, WAZ

30 review for Renegade: Martin Luther, the Graphic Biography

  1. 4 out of 5

    Louise

    I was curious when I saw this book in our public library. How would this genre tell the Martin Luther story? The short answer: In this book, the way has not been found. The art work is disturbing. The images are dark throughout, starting with the poverty and superstition Luther saw in his youth and several pages (many frames) of Luther as he ages and dies. In between images of violence dominate: shadows of hanging bodies, a head on a chopping block, a head on a cleaver hanging from a church bell I was curious when I saw this book in our public library. How would this genre tell the Martin Luther story? The short answer: In this book, the way has not been found. The art work is disturbing. The images are dark throughout, starting with the poverty and superstition Luther saw in his youth and several pages (many frames) of Luther as he ages and dies. In between images of violence dominate: shadows of hanging bodies, a head on a chopping block, a head on a cleaver hanging from a church bell, people with torches and spears, etc. The graphics have an eerie look. Are they photos that have been painted over? A few images of note: Pages 66-67 injects a twist of modernism and levity which contrasts with the overall medieval and depressed feeling of the other pages. Page 97 heralds a major contribution of Luther: the German translation of the Bible. It has three of the book’s brightest and most upbeat images. I presume the text that surrounds Luther has symbolism. Page 127 has a bizarre rendering of a captured Count’s children tied in ropes. The children look like something out of a Disney movie, lined up to be rescued by a magical bird. The content selected from Luther’s eventful life includes: his grim childhood; his father’s disappointment in his joining the clergy; his dedication as a student who is chosen for a mission for which he walks to Rome; emphasis (from among his theses) on the challenge to indulgences the importance of having the Bible accessible to the general public; the challenge to clerical celibacy; the circumstances of his marriage (minimized as is his wife); how his teachings lead the peasants to revolt, which he disavows. The end has Luther bemoaning the devil who appears as a “Jew, Muslim, Papist, Antibaptist”..” There is the hint of negotiations until Charles V recognizes the Protestant faith within the Holy Roman Empire. Both the content and the graphics make you wonder who the book is designed for. The material will be known to most people who will pick the book up out of curiosity (like me). Some will be put off by the graphics. Teens may be an audience, but the story will not grab them. It may be that a graphic bio of Luther is not possible… The authors are right in that he lived in very grim times.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Rama

    The Heretic: Martin Luther This year is the 500 anniversary of the reformation that began when Martin Luther, a stubborn monk and a leader of protestant movement, published his 95 theses or complaints against Catholic Church. This marks the beginning of a revolution in the annals of Christianism. But the interesting thing about this book is that there are about 11 other books published in 2017. In addition, this biography is a graphical illustration and not a textual record. It is certainly crea The Heretic: Martin Luther This year is the 500 anniversary of the reformation that began when Martin Luther, a stubborn monk and a leader of protestant movement, published his 95 theses or complaints against Catholic Church. This marks the beginning of a revolution in the annals of Christianism. But the interesting thing about this book is that there are about 11 other books published in 2017. In addition, this biography is a graphical illustration and not a textual record. It is certainly creative, but the pictorial arts are unappealing. The graphics is poorly portrayed; much of life-like illustrations are dark or dark brown. In many instances the background is too dark to really appreciate the vibrancy of historical facts. The author fail to hold the reader’s interest. Comparing this book to textual biographies already published, this work comes short. Another con is that the pages of the book have a very unpleasant odor, and the smell simply does not go away. While being born in poverty, plague, and superstitions, Martin Luther joins a monastery after graduating from the university. He becomes disillusioned with the practices of Catholic Church and seeks for redemption. Luther begins to revolt against Rome’s teachings. He spends his time incognito at Wartburg Castle, translates Bible into German, and finally his morally offensive marriage to former nun Katharina von Bora reflects negatively in the eyes of Catholic Church. In his later years, his tirades against peasants and Jews tarnishes his character. Despite that, one of the bright aspect of this book is the final chapter, “The Epilogue.” This is perhaps the best work of the creators wherein the a private conversation between Luther’s companion Philip Melanchthon and Luther’s crypt, and the a royal decree read by the Ferdinand I of Holy Roman Empire officially recognizing the protestant faith is creatively presented. Accordingly, each German prince is free to choose between the Catholic and Protestant faiths. And the prince’s religion becomes the exclusive faith of his kingdom.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Debbie

    "Renegade" is a graphic novel biography of Martin Luther's life. I assume the intended audience is protestant Christians, so I was surprised by the gore and use of bad language. A couple bad guys say things like "D*mned stubborn idiots!" and even Luther says, "Who the h*ll does she want?" I understand that life and war back then were pretty cruel, but I was surprised by the focus on gore when the graphic novel format limits how much information can be included. Why not focus more on what Luther d "Renegade" is a graphic novel biography of Martin Luther's life. I assume the intended audience is protestant Christians, so I was surprised by the gore and use of bad language. A couple bad guys say things like "D*mned stubborn idiots!" and even Luther says, "Who the h*ll does she want?" I understand that life and war back then were pretty cruel, but I was surprised by the focus on gore when the graphic novel format limits how much information can be included. Why not focus more on what Luther did and said rather than panel after panel of scenes of people dying horribly or him being bored during a time when he was hiding? Some pages showed people impaled on a tree, a woman slowly burning to death, and rows of hanged people with broken necks. We even get three panels focusing on a severed head that's impaled on a large hook. The novel started with Luther as a youth and followed him until he died. It also showed how other people used the sentiments that Luther stirred up in the peasants to start a war. There were several pages with Luther in old age preaching against the Jews and blaming them for his sickness, plus some scenes after his death. I'll accept that Luther's marriage might not have been a love match, but he's shown as not even respecting her even as he agrees to marry her. I don't know--maybe Luther wasn't such a great guy, but I would have liked more on what he preached and did that lasted. It's what lasted that I'm most interested in. Update: After reading this book, I read two text-based biographies about Martin Luther. This is a case where a picture was not worth a thousand words. Some of the pictures in the graphic novel have meaning if you know Luther's story but meant little to me when I didn't. Also, the graphic novel didn't always accurately portray Luther. Sometimes it was due to pacing, like Luther bad mouthing Kate and considering marrying her within the same scene. Sometimes it was going with legend, like the inkpot and the devil before inkpots were used. Sometimes, it just wasn't accurate, like how he's shown as paranoid against the Jews. While he did write some unfortunate things regarding Jews, both text-based biographies said it was because he was frustrated that the Jews weren't converting to Christianity. I received an ebook review copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    Martin Luther: Renegade, The Graphic Biography is one of dozens of books that have come out on the 500th anniversary of the Protestant revolution, which began when Luther dared to stand up to church corruption. Although I was tempted to read several of these new books, I could not fit them into my tight reading schedule. I read Martin Bainton's biography of Luther, Here I Stand, several times, albeit in the 1970s. At Temple University I had a course on the Reformation. Our professor called Luthe Martin Luther: Renegade, The Graphic Biography is one of dozens of books that have come out on the 500th anniversary of the Protestant revolution, which began when Luther dared to stand up to church corruption. Although I was tempted to read several of these new books, I could not fit them into my tight reading schedule. I read Martin Bainton's biography of Luther, Here I Stand, several times, albeit in the 1970s. At Temple University I had a course on the Reformation. Our professor called Luther a cultural icon, a game changer, who freed the common people's minds with a Bible they could read. The result was a peasant uprising against all in power. In a seminary course on The Book of Romans we learned about its influence on Luther. Most recently I reviewed Brand Luther by Andrew Pettigrew. I have at least a foundation of understanding. The oversize book of 154 pages is illustrated by Andrea Grosso Ciponte. The art is beautiful, often with striking light and dark contrasts. Some pictures appear painted over photographs. The story by Dacia Palmerino tells Luther's faith journey. Life was brutal in Luther's time, with disease, poverty, and the abuse of power by governmental and church authorities. People turned to faith and the hope of escaping eternal damnation through works-- acts of piety, including church donations called indulgences. Luther struggles over justification in God's eyes and with the easy buy out offered by indulgences. Reading the Bible he becomes his own theologian and realizes that we are justified in God's eyes by faith, and faith alone, and that works without faith is meaningless. Luther is excommunicated and goes into hiding for a while, protected by the local prince. He uses the newfangled printing press to great advantage. The peasants rise up and are mowed down by the army. Luther frees the priesthood from celibacy and consents to marry. I would not suggest this graphic biography for younger readers. It is very dark, even if it did skip Luther's self-flagellation, and the theology and historical milieu would be confusing. I am concerned about the portrayal of Luther's later years and emphasis on his talk about the Jews needing to come into the fold now he has reformed the church to a purer state. I worry it would spur a justification of Anti-Semitism. The end of the biography highlights how Luther ended the power of the Catholic Church over government, for each Prince was free to choose his faith. I won Renegade from Plough Publishing House through a Publishers Weekly giveaway.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jason Brown (Toastx2)

    Renegade- Martin Luther, The Graphic Biography: Not about the awesome Styx or JayZ songs October 31st, 1517: Young monk, Martin Luther nails documents to the front door of the Wittenberg Castle Church. On the pages were printed 95 theses defining man's relationship with God and religion. These were tumultuous times and blasphemy is a dangerous game for renegades and suicidal fools anxious to receive the lash. 2017 marks the five hundredth anniversary of this event. Martin Luther rallied against th Renegade- Martin Luther, The Graphic Biography: Not about the awesome Styx or JayZ songs October 31st, 1517: Young monk, Martin Luther nails documents to the front door of the Wittenberg Castle Church. On the pages were printed 95 theses defining man's relationship with God and religion. These were tumultuous times and blasphemy is a dangerous game for renegades and suicidal fools anxious to receive the lash. 2017 marks the five hundredth anniversary of this event. Martin Luther rallied against the Pope and started a revolution in thought that shook the cornerstones of known Christianity. The writing and distribution of Luther's 95 theses, caused ripples in our social structures still in evidence. Slated for release on 10/08/2017 Preorders available Renegade: Martin Luther, The Graphic Biography (Dacia Palmerino, Andrea Ciponte) 160 pages Plough Publishing House ISBN-10: 0874862078 ISBN-13: 978-0874862072 I have bastardized a bit of this, but bear with me as I am far from being a religious historian. I will leave the hard core cross comparison to those with stronger background experience. Luther's history is incredibly fascinating. After a classic schooling, Martin Luther was left with more questions than answers. He found himself in dismay, attempting to reconcile his religious beliefs with the world around him. He frustratingly finds that they fail to be cohesive. During a walk in the countryside (I cannot tell if this is legend or fact) a brewing storm sent a bolt of lightning into a nearby tree. Luther took this as divine instruction, changed directions in his life and entered the monastic life. Martin was in a conundrum, spending multiple sessions every day in confession. He felt that no matter how devout he was, the Church advised that he was a sinner in peril and would never be allowed into Heaven without being even more penitent. His concern for the state of his immortal soul weighed on him and his conflicted feelings increased. How could his soul be always at risk while the Catholic church allowed people to buy forgiveness of sins? If you dropped money into coffers, buying penance for yourself or loved ones seemed very wrong. Luther invests a great deal of time in solitary study and comes to terms with a belief that is contrary to the teachings of the Church. His belief is that (as the Bible states) his Faith alone is needed to save him from damnation. The Church, the Pope, and all other earthly institutions are nothing more than tools being used as diversions between mankind and God. Luther spends time translating the Bible from Latin to German and distributing it to the masses. This allows the Everyman to have a direct relationship with the words and instructions of the Christian God. The direct relationship removes the need to join the cattle call for multiple daily Mass, which served value only as lip service in his eyes. Mass then becomes worship for those who attend. Palmerino's writing in this Graphic Novel was wonderful. I was concerned at first that this was going to be a chore to read, with the initial pages being presented a bit dry, feeling like the reader is preparing to be lectured on theology. After a short introduction, however, Renegade moves to Luther's ingress to school and branches the story. It immediately picks up in an easy to read manner. Reading this is less like Sunday school and more like a well crafted Hollywood Biopic. The story itself is paired nicely with some absolutely stunning artwork by Ciponte. The framing of the story with the imagery really brings Luther to life again rather than simply being viewed as a Reformist whose bones are long since turned to dust. Watching the facial expressions change panel by panel as he makes deep personal realizations causes the pages glow with a Human element that must have taken a great deal of passion and forethought. The artistic design also wavered between styles. In many areas, it was a purposeful rough and divisive; in others, it was almost stream of consciousness, with pages and phrases from the Bible floating around Luther's personal universe. The words and art have a gentle interaction, taking difficult religious topics and complex political situations and placing them in a highly consumable presentation. A fine example of this is a full page spread showing Martin after he identifies that monastic vows are not permanent life long vows. In this page spread, Luther is getting married, the panels pan outward showing his happy marriage day. As each panel gets further from him and his bride, the final panel shows dark silhouettes of dead hanging from nooses, with the chapel in their background. The imagery and metaphor are haunting. I would consider this graphic novel suitable for any age group 8 and above and highly recommend it for any history buff, religiously minded or not. As a primer to the topic, this media may have a huge benefit and I would be interested in seeing the Plough publishing house put out more work in this style, even potentially for other religions. Bonus thought- Did Piers Anthony base his Devil Character in the series 'The Incarnations of Immortality' on Martin Luther? There is a segment of this Graphic Novel where Luther is in disguise and hiding from the authorities. He goes a bit crazy being secreted away and unable to be himself. He feels himself falling apart and in the Graphic Novel, it presents him as being visited by a hallucinatory succubus. The hyper religious 'good man' who is tainted by a succubus is how Anthony's character evolves 'For Love of Evil', being that the best person to keep the goodness in line is someone who loves God enough to be able to set his love aside and play the game fairly. I performed a bit of side research and it looks like this is documented in Martin's writings, so I find the correlation to another series I love to be an unexpected joy. --- Disclosure: This Graphic Novel was provided for review purposes by the Publisher. Even a free cupcake is still a cupcake. If it were a disgusting cupcake, I would not eat it and instead, choose to throw it into a trash receptacle. Sometimes, the free cupcake has beautiful pillows of cream cheese frosting piled on top and a moist delicious carrot cake interior. You do not question it, you just dive into the blissful cakey goodness and enjoy the cupcake. Carrot cake is the best. I will fight you at the flagpole after school if you disagree.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Rianna

    55/45 books read in 2017 Provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 2 stars for the art + 4 for the storytelling = 3 stars. *Be aware that the depiction of violence can be quite graphic, so be mindful when handing it to children.* "500 years ago a brash young monk single-handedly confronted the most powerful institutions of his day. His bold stand sparked the Protestant Reformation and changed the course of history..." (back cover of the graphic novel) This is a graphic novel biography a 55/45 books read in 2017 Provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 2 stars for the art + 4 for the storytelling = 3 stars. *Be aware that the depiction of violence can be quite graphic, so be mindful when handing it to children.* "500 years ago a brash young monk single-handedly confronted the most powerful institutions of his day. His bold stand sparked the Protestant Reformation and changed the course of history..." (back cover of the graphic novel) This is a graphic novel biography about Martin Luther, the man who reformed the christian church by translating the Bible into German and preaching against the money obsessed and fear preaching of the Catholic Church of his days. Although the artwork of this novel was not something I particularly enjoyed, I did enjoy the rest. This is not a glorification of Martin Luther. It portrays his good work in fighting the corruption of the Catholic Church and bringing the Bible to the people (giving them the opportunity to assess it themselves), but it also shows his disdain for the common folk and his antisemitism (which btw were both normal for people grown up in his social circles). This graphic novel really does portray a real person, I appreciate that. This book portrays an interesting part of European history and I would recommend it for that quality.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    The life of Martin Luther, the man who sparked the Protestant Reformation, has been written about for centuries yet now it can not only be written about but visualized as well. Renegade: Martin Luther, the Graphic Biography by Andrea Grosso Ciponte and Dacia Palmerino is exactly what its title says about the man who sparked a change in history. Depicting the life of Luther from his childhood to his death, the biography focuses on his time as a monk led up to and through his break with Rome. At 15 The life of Martin Luther, the man who sparked the Protestant Reformation, has been written about for centuries yet now it can not only be written about but visualized as well. Renegade: Martin Luther, the Graphic Biography by Andrea Grosso Ciponte and Dacia Palmerino is exactly what its title says about the man who sparked a change in history. Depicting the life of Luther from his childhood to his death, the biography focuses on his time as a monk led up to and through his break with Rome. At 153 pages there is only so much that can be covered and only so much context as well through sometimes the visual aspect of the graphic novel does come in handy. While the short length of the book obviously foreshadowed only the barest minimum that could be covered on his life, yet the graphic novel aspect seemed to offer a way to enhance the chronicling of Luther’s life. Unfortunately the artwork looks like screen caps of a video game with so-so graphics with only a few great pages of art, usually at the beginning of each chapter. The overall quality of the biographical and artwork content of Renegade is a mixed bag of a passable chronicle on Luther’s life and so-so artwork. While some younger readers than myself might find it a very good read and hopefully make them want to know more about Martin Luther and the Reformation, I found it a tad underwhelming. I received this book through LibraryThing's Early Reviewer program.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Bob

    Summary: A richly illustrated graphic biography of the life of Martin Luther, covering the major events of his life from boyhood to death, and the setting in which that life took place. I’m not a graphic novel person. I’ve only reviewed one graphic novel on this blog and I was ambivalent about it. So I had my doubts when this new “graphic biography” of Martin Luther arrived for review. Add to that the spate of books on Luther on the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, and you had the recipe for Summary: A richly illustrated graphic biography of the life of Martin Luther, covering the major events of his life from boyhood to death, and the setting in which that life took place. I’m not a graphic novel person. I’ve only reviewed one graphic novel on this blog and I was ambivalent about it. So I had my doubts when this new “graphic biography” of Martin Luther arrived for review. Add to that the spate of books on Luther on the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, and you had the recipe for skepticism. Instead, I have to admit that my encounter with this work was powerful, leaving me thinking about Luther’s life in a fresh way. The artist’s palette is dominated by reds, earth tones, dark blues, grays, and black. Somehow, this worked in capturing the setting of Luther’s life–urban streets filled with rats, plague, poverty, and violent justice; castles and churches for isolated study and refuge, public disputation and conflict; sumptuously clothed churchmen and demonic figures; night-time journeys of lightning filled terror, kidnapping, scenes of slaughter from the Peasants War, and a final journey to death. This preview serves as a good sample of the graphic character and quality of the work. The artwork and selection of episodes from Luther’s life brought a familiar story from church history to fresh life. We glimpse Luther’s strict upbringing amid the horrors of plagues and burnings at the stake, a severity of discipline and the justice of God. We trace the turmoil of a young man struggling under a sense of his own inadequacy before a righteous God, vowing to become a monk to the disappointment of his father, finding no relief in confessions, penances, journeys to Rome or counsel with Father Staupitz. We accompany him in his study of Romans at Wittenberg, until his stunning realization that the righteous lives by faith, that by faith we are made righteous. We trace the beginnings of the Reformation to the posting of the 95 Theses in response to Father Johann Tetzel’s marketing of indulgences to build St. Peter’s Basilica. We glimpse the power of the newly invented printing press in circulating his ideas, and fomenting discontent, which must be quashed by Rome. We see the dawning realization of this monk that he is not defending Rome from excesses and errors but facing Rome’s power to excommunicate and condemn him, and his courageous statement before the Diet of Worms: “Unless I am convinced by the testimony of Scripture or clear reason, I am bound by the biblical texts I have quoted. My conscience is captive to the Word of God. Therefore I cannot and I will not recant anything. I cannot act contrary to my conscience. So help me God! Amen.” The artist imaginatively captures Elector Frederick’s daring ploy to secret Luther away to Wartburg Castle, the temptations he faces as he hides out in idleness, and the determination to translate the scriptures into the vernacular. Subsequently he goes free, returns to Wittenberg, and provides shelter for nuns who, influenced by Luther’s ideas, have left the convent. He marries one of these, Katharina von Bora, who basically tells him she should marry her! What we encounter less in the histories of Luther are the Peasant’s War touched off in part by his ideas, particularly as they are extended by the radical theologian, Thomas Muntzer. Muntzer’s rallying cry, “Omnia sunt communia” (“all things in common”) fuels a violent peasant revolt leading to seizure of property, the execution of a count, and a bloody forceful suppression of the rebellion ending in the execution of Muntzer, supported by Luther who writes against their rebellion and disobedience, even while realizing how his own ideas have fueled their acts. We also see, in the final narrative of his life, and his fatal trip to Eisleben and Mansfeld in February 1546, his increasing hostility toward the Jews, against whom he speaks in his last sermon in the town of his birth, the conclusion of negotiations with Count Albrecht to protect his family’s mining interests, and his deathbed affirmation of faith, with his final written words, “We are all beggars, that is true.” There are gaps, to be sure, particularly between 1530 and 1546 which are the period of consolidating this new movement of Reformation churches. It would have been delightful to have a chapter on “table talk” and Luther’s domestic life. But what this biography helpfully does is help us understand the arc of Luther’s life and the backdrop of disparities of wealth and poverty that made his ideas so volatile, beyond even his ability to control them. It highlight’s Luther’s breakthrough insight on justification by faith, and his climactic encounter at Worms. As the book trailer for this work emphasizes, this is no “door stop” biography. But it could serve well as a means to educate a new generation on the anniversary of the Reformation about this pivotal figure and his times. ____________________________ Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher via LibraryThing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jim Gallen

    Renegade comes in a format that is unfamiliar to me, a graphic biography. When I entered the contest in which I won it, I was not sure what I was getting in to. It is not the gore I was worried about but a biography told in cartoons. I knew a little about Martin Luther, that he nailed his 95 theses to the church door and started the process that became the Protestant Reformation, or Revolt, depending on your perspective. In high school, Augustinian Academy, I learned that he had been an Augustini Renegade comes in a format that is unfamiliar to me, a graphic biography. When I entered the contest in which I won it, I was not sure what I was getting in to. It is not the gore I was worried about but a biography told in cartoons. I knew a little about Martin Luther, that he nailed his 95 theses to the church door and started the process that became the Protestant Reformation, or Revolt, depending on your perspective. In high school, Augustinian Academy, I learned that he had been an Augustinian monk but that is about as far as I got before opening Renegade. What I found is an entertaining, easy to read introduction to the high points of its subject’s life. The pictures are colorful and easy to understand. The text captures the story line in the accompanying caption balloons. The stage is set in the dark times of the Black Death, the controversy over the purported sale of indulgences and power struggles between Church and crowns. Luther’s tale is told as beginning with a strict disciplinarian mother, a soul searching for God’s will, the lightning bolt that misses him and it continues into the discovery of new understandings of faith. The recognition of his status as a sinner dependent totally on the mercy of God for his salvation is shown as leading to many of his later tenets, such as the translation of the Bible into German, sola scriptura, his challenge to papal authority, and that priests and nuns should marry. His dismay at the politicization of his movement and his antisemitism are included in the saga. One thing I really like about this work is that I do not see it as advancing a particular agenda. From my Catholic (partly formed by Augustinians) viewpoint, I see an unfortunate soul driven by turbulent times into grave error with tragic consequences. I can see how a follower of Luther’s theology would see an enlightened scholar who arrives at truths that had eluded so many others. I recommend this as a first introduction to Martin Luther. After reading this you will have a general understanding of his life. If you choose to read on you can do so with a framework in which to organize the contents of more detailed biographies.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Forrest Schultz

    5OOTH ANNIVERSARY OF THE 95 THESES CELEBRATED: GRAPHIC NOVEL DEPICTS THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERHERO MARTIN LUTHER Andrea Grosso Ciponte & Dacia Palmerino Renegade -- Martin Luther: The Graphic Biography (Plough Publishing, 2017) 155 pp $19.95 ISBN: 978-0874862072 Translator: Michael G. Parker Reviewer: Forrest W. Schultz When I was a boy Superman was my favorite comic book super-hero. Since then the greatness of Superman has been recognized in Superman: The Movie starring Christopher Reeve and in 5OOTH ANNIVERSARY OF THE 95 THESES CELEBRATED: GRAPHIC NOVEL DEPICTS THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERHERO MARTIN LUTHER Andrea Grosso Ciponte & Dacia Palmerino Renegade -- Martin Luther: The Graphic Biography (Plough Publishing, 2017) 155 pp $19.95 ISBN: 978-0874862072 Translator: Michael G. Parker Reviewer: Forrest W. Schultz When I was a boy Superman was my favorite comic book super-hero. Since then the greatness of Superman has been recognized in Superman: The Movie starring Christopher Reeve and in today's "graphic novels" of Superman. Martin Luther has long been regarded as one of the greatest of history's "movers and shakers" (as we used to say back in the 1980s) and now, with the publication of the book under review he is rightly regarded as one of its super-heroes. Now, if super-heroes are appropriate as characters in graphic novels, and if Luther is a super-hero, then it logically follows that it is permissible and reasonable to tell us his biography by means of the graphic novel format. Q.E.D. Having said that, it must be admitted that it certainly seems very far-out to use the graphic novel for talking about Luther, but that very seeming strangeness is what makes this book so interesting and attractive AND lots of fun to read and look at!! It is its very unexpectedness that makes it so funny and yet also a striking way of communicating what Luther and his time was like. AND, because October 31, 2017 is the 500th anniversary of Luther's posting of the famous (or is it infamous?) 95 Theses, this year there are (and will be) lots of books about Luther, the book under review here has a great advantage because, unlike the others, this one presents such a strange and interesting format!! If you are tired of reading same-old-same-old theology and history books about Luther, I recommend reading Renegade !! The book's very format is a renegade type! But what about historical accuracy?? Aha! Glad you asked. Listen, this innovative graphic novel format is very appropriate because Luther himself was very innovative in HIS time in using the then newly invented printing press to publicize his teachings. And some of his writings included what we now call cartoons! AND, Luther not only was up to date but he also was a pace-SETTER in that his excellent German translation of the Bible greatly influenced the very future of the German language just as a century later the excellence of the King James translation of the Bible greatly influenced the future of the English language. Luther was not only "with it", he also established what later became regarded as "with it"!! As a famous verse in the Bible puts it, he was "the head" not "the tail" -- an innovator not a copycat. Back in the 60s there was a lot of discussion about "medium" and "message" due to the provocative ideas of a man named Marshall McLuhan. My conclusion on that matter is that the medium influences or becomes part of the message. As I hope I have established above, the graphic novel medium is appropriately used in communicating the message we need to know about Luther. I wish to thank Maureen Swinger from Plough Publishing for sending me a copy of this very interesting book. It will be published next week. October 3, 2017

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jay

    An interesting take on the life of Martin Luther. The illustrations are mostly similar to what you see on the cover – slightly blurred details, some parts almost photo-realistic, some parts quite vague and washed out. There are a variety of images, including many that set a dark scene that includes rats, disembodied heads with large hooks going through them, and mass hangings. This isn’t a kids book. The conversation is mostly contemporary, although there are some Latin phrases here and there re An interesting take on the life of Martin Luther. The illustrations are mostly similar to what you see on the cover – slightly blurred details, some parts almost photo-realistic, some parts quite vague and washed out. There are a variety of images, including many that set a dark scene that includes rats, disembodied heads with large hooks going through them, and mass hangings. This isn’t a kids book. The conversation is mostly contemporary, although there are some Latin phrases here and there relating to books and edicts from the Pope. This is written in a contemporary way, which somewhat detracts from the message while also allowing a new audience to understand Luther’s story. The story focused on a few key periods in Luther’s life, and I was left wondering how he went from the renegade emboldening peasants with a German translation of the New Testament to siding with the Princes against the peasants later. This may have been the focus of another period of his life not covered here. There are decades skipped before the last scenes as Luther dies. And he’s changed immensely by then, also without understanding. I missed those key changes in his personality. The book also had a strange way early on with chronology, going back and forth. Sometimes a chapter is described to it’s end, then illustrated in more detail, repeating events. It was very strange, and detracted from understanding. Overall, I found this an interesting book, and I’m glad I read it. I would read more by the same author and illustrator. I won a copy of this book from Goodreads “First Reads” giveaway program.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Maureen

    I enjoyed reading (most of) this! I love the idea of a graphic novel of Martin Luther and appreciate the concise way that the book shared the story of the dark ages and consequent reformation brought about by Martin Luther. It would be great if the book ended there. I feel the book veers off track in the last couple chapters starting with the peasant wars. This portion of the book devoted to some of his ideas that are anti-Semitic or pro-peasant killing felt unnecessary and are honestly things t I enjoyed reading (most of) this! I love the idea of a graphic novel of Martin Luther and appreciate the concise way that the book shared the story of the dark ages and consequent reformation brought about by Martin Luther. It would be great if the book ended there. I feel the book veers off track in the last couple chapters starting with the peasant wars. This portion of the book devoted to some of his ideas that are anti-Semitic or pro-peasant killing felt unnecessary and are honestly things that should never be spoken again. These opinions of his are given with little context or explanation and are confusing to the reader, as they promote the opposite of his feelings at the beginning of the book. Overall I think it is difficult to paint such a complicated character within the confines of a graphic novel, and I feel like simplicity of the genre does his story a disservice. So overall, great on facts, weak on thorough characterization.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Ben

    I mean... I didn't hate it. It definitely had that edge of "I-was-clearly-meant-to-be-educational-and-so-I'm-not-as-polished" feel that you get with edutainment. The art had an odd CG, uncanny valley feel to it, and the scenes often lacked dynamic feeling... which is a problem when you're portraying literal riots. The pacing did seem really good; I don't know that it particularly felt that it dragged in any way. It covered his life accurately. Though, ironically, I don't think it actually bothered I mean... I didn't hate it. It definitely had that edge of "I-was-clearly-meant-to-be-educational-and-so-I'm-not-as-polished" feel that you get with edutainment. The art had an odd CG, uncanny valley feel to it, and the scenes often lacked dynamic feeling... which is a problem when you're portraying literal riots. The pacing did seem really good; I don't know that it particularly felt that it dragged in any way. It covered his life accurately. Though, ironically, I don't think it actually bothered to list out his 95 Theses, which probably should have at least been an appendix. I did learn quite a bit; I hadn't known about the German Peasant War; I didn't know about the start of Protestantism past Luther, and I didn't realize that Luther was so antisemitic. I appreciate that Palmerino didn't shy away from the more uncomfortable aspects of Luther's life and personality. I don't know why you'd read this, unless you were interested in the history or particularly fond of Luther. Again though, it's not bad... just decidedly mediocre.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Trevor Durham

    Honestly, it kind of makes me sad to dislike an original work this much... But it seemed as though every aspect was a heinous offense. Small things as grammar grew in scope as the type-face and font didn't even fill dialogue bubbles, the dialogue and script felt clunky compared to Luther's works included, and the writer removed the most fascinating events behind lackluster transitions, taking the best parts away from readers. The art felt like a Gary's Mod event gone wrong, with faces awkward an Honestly, it kind of makes me sad to dislike an original work this much... But it seemed as though every aspect was a heinous offense. Small things as grammar grew in scope as the type-face and font didn't even fill dialogue bubbles, the dialogue and script felt clunky compared to Luther's works included, and the writer removed the most fascinating events behind lackluster transitions, taking the best parts away from readers. The art felt like a Gary's Mod event gone wrong, with faces awkward and static, making the entire work seem a cheap claymation graduate film. There wasn't any enjoyment to be had in this work about an enjoyable figure in history, and all I learned from this work was to not give it to anybody else.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Vannessa Anderson

    The Church teaches that after death, a soul must first be purified by suffering in Purgatory. The future agony can be shortened through good works, fasting and pilgrimage. And now the Church is offering an even more effective means: liberation from Purgatory is available for purchase. It’s called an “indulgence,” and you can buy one not only for the living but also for the dead. Renegade Martin Luther The Graphic Biography was an interesting read on the life of Martin Luther from childhood th The Church teaches that after death, a soul must first be purified by suffering in Purgatory. The future agony can be shortened through good works, fasting and pilgrimage. And now the Church is offering an even more effective means: liberation from Purgatory is available for purchase. It’s called an “indulgence,” and you can buy one not only for the living but also for the dead. Renegade Martin Luther The Graphic Biography was an interesting read on the life of Martin Luther from childhood through adulthood and his awakening and his struggle to understand and please God. The illustrations were well done and lifelike.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ije the Devourer of Books

    If I am to look at this story from a secular perspective, I would see this as an incredible story about an activist who challenged and changed the main christian institution of his day, and turned prevailing Christian thought on its head so that it was no longer an instrument to solely serve the interests of the powerful. Of course being human this was not a straightforward task. It involved war, death and incredible social turbulence but Martin Luther sought to make the scripture and Christian If I am to look at this story from a secular perspective, I would see this as an incredible story about an activist who challenged and changed the main christian institution of his day, and turned prevailing Christian thought on its head so that it was no longer an instrument to solely serve the interests of the powerful. Of course being human this was not a straightforward task. It involved war, death and incredible social turbulence but Martin Luther sought to make the scripture and Christian faith accessible to ordinary people. I don't know if I could describe Martin Luther as a hero but he was certainly someone who wanted to serve God and he wanted to enable others to do so too. Martin Luther had vision and he could see there was something deeply wrong about a church that preyed on the fears of ordinary people instead of enabling them to have life. He recognised that the Roman Catholic Church at the time was actually holding the gospel hostage. Martin Luther agonised over this and wrestled with his own doubts about his faith and his salvation and then at great risk to himself he wrote his thoughts down and attached them to the main door of local churches so that people could engage with his ideas and that is how Martin Luther became the main catalyst of the Reformation and the founder of the Lutheran Church. It is truly a remarkable story and seeing it depicted in graphic format really brings his story to life in all its complexity. I don't think it would've been easy to tell this story through art but the authors have managed to produce a graphic novel that people can engage with. Of course there are so many books about Martin Luther but for those of us who do not want to read something heavy this is a good way of engaging with Luther's story and his life. I also think this graphic novel provides a good way of engaging a younger audience in Luther's story. I don't think that this book is for very young children but it is fine for 14 years and above. I say this because although it is a story about religion and politics, it is also a dark story about civil unrest, war, persecution and violence. One of the good things about this book is that it doesn't pull any punches. This isn't hagiography. It shows Martin Luther as earnest but also as flawed and that's important. Martin Luther was a devout and clever man but he also had shortcomings and blindness. His writings were a catalyst of social unrest and the Peasants War in Germany and yet he encouraged retribution against those peasants who rebelled against their feudal lords. Luther was also anti-Semitic and laid the foundation for the anti-semitism that culminated in the Holocaust and which still lingers in some places today. Luther honestly sought to serve God but he was also blinded by his own intolerance and prejudice. This comes across quite clearly in the graphic novel and enables the reader to understand that this monumental change in religious thinking was deeply complex and just the beginning. As Christians we should always recognise that our understanding of God and the world does shift and change over time, and that any change must be rooted in love. Love of God, Love of people and Love for the natural world around us. Love should be our starting point because anything else can cause our vision and understanding to blur. This command to love is actually really challenging to live by. And so this graphic novel tells a story of immense social and religious change which many times totally ignored the call to love. The artwork is ok and has a way of engaging the reader. I didn't really like the artwork because I felt the colouring was quite dark with lots of browns, blacks and grey. Having said this the darkness of the art is a great way of conveying the prevailing darkness of the time. I really appreciate the fact that this paperback copy was sent to me by Plough Publishing because I missed it when it was on Netgalley and if they hadn't offered it to me I would've missed an opportunity to engage with a good book and a brilliant story. One of the key lessons to learn from the reformation is that we think we know all there is to know about God, world and people, but in reality we don't. Humanity has the capacity to know and do more good in the world but we need to struggle within ourselves and our institutions to do good and to strengthen the common good. We think we know all about God but we forget that God is unfathomable and there's so much that we can learn. The story of Martin Luther is one that encourages us to continuously reflect on our faith and what we believe, and also to reflect on our ethics and how we live out our faith in the world. This doesn't mean as Christians we should follow every new trend but it does means that we ask ourselves rigorous questions about what we believe and how we live out that belief. It is by doing this that Martin Luther was able to recognise that something was wrong in the Church. I recommend this book to any one who wants to know more about Martin Luther. You don't have to be religious to enjoy this book but you do need to enjoy graphic novels and history. It is action packed and a great book to add to any graphic novel collection. I do hope that Plough Publishers will continue to produce other graphic novels about social reformers, prophets and activists who have changed the way we live for the better. Paperback copy provided by Plough Publishers in exchange for an unbiased review.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Deb

    3.5 stars, rounded up to 4. Renegade : Martin Luther, the Graphic Biography is a Mighty Fortress of an introduction to Martin Luther. Confession: I have not read graphic novels since the Betty and Veronica comics at my piano teachers' house decades ago. Reformation: Renegade challenged my brain to process information in new ways with it's graphic (re)formation. (Sorry I couldn't resist ; ) Graphic novels, by their very nature must be more condensed than a book which relies on many words. I felt l 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4. Renegade : Martin Luther, the Graphic Biography is a Mighty Fortress of an introduction to Martin Luther. Confession: I have not read graphic novels since the Betty and Veronica comics at my piano teachers' house decades ago. Reformation: Renegade challenged my brain to process information in new ways with it's graphic (re)formation. (Sorry I couldn't resist ; ) Graphic novels, by their very nature must be more condensed than a book which relies on many words. I felt like Renegade got the important parts down, however, I would have like to see more of how Martin Luther was ‘progressive’ with educating his children and valuing his wife. Alas, perhaps a follow-up opportunity. The Graphic Part : - ) Some of it was a little "Halloween" creepy: Burning at the stake, rats, hangings, but I think that would be appealing to today's generation. I'd recommend the book for anyone 10 to 80. I hope this type of book reaches new audiences who otherwise may be unfamiliar with Martin Luther and the struggles of his time. Layouts were varied and interesting. The colors popped against historic photo type backgrounds. Darks dominated, representing turbulent times, infused with electric blues, reds, and some whites. (It was cumbersome to read an electronic version of the Advanced Reader Copy because I had to double click to enlarge each page, enlarge it to readable size, then shrink, close it and repeat for each page spread. I would be very interested to see what it looks like on a printed page!) The drama of this true adventure story pulled me in. Martin Luther is an incredible historic figure. I especially like the full-page illustrations and the ones with a full modern type background to represent Luther’s translations. It is art with feeling. I did not add Renegade to my non-fiction shelf, as it was an artist's and a writer's perceptions of Luther's story, and while generally true, apparently more learned scholars than I could find some historical inaccuracies. Other reviewers compared it to lengthier non-fiction biographies they had read. I don't believe it is fair to compare this creative, artistic approach with a longer extensively researched tome. As I first stated, it is a Great Introduction to an important man who changed history. Thank you to NetGalley, the author and publisher for granting access to an arc of this book for an honest review.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Trisha

    Normally my reviews are on books that I’m reading already and you’re stuck with the genres and topics that I already know I like. This one’s a treat because it’s something I probably wouldn’t have picked up on my own. (Book provided by the publisher for review). Renegade is a graphic novel, but it’s also a biography. Not historical fiction. A Biography. And it absolutely succeeds in capturing the gritty reality of the 16th century. The art is very direct and includes graphic images of some of the Normally my reviews are on books that I’m reading already and you’re stuck with the genres and topics that I already know I like. This one’s a treat because it’s something I probably wouldn’t have picked up on my own. (Book provided by the publisher for review). Renegade is a graphic novel, but it’s also a biography. Not historical fiction. A Biography. And it absolutely succeeds in capturing the gritty reality of the 16th century. The art is very direct and includes graphic images of some of the atrocities, like witch burning, that occurred during those times. The image styles vary from photorealistic to watercolor with hard edges and the results are is very impactful. I don’t want to call them beautiful, because they’re not necessarily, but that’s clearly intentional as it is impact, not beauty, that’s obviously the goal for the illustrations. The writing style jumps between two different styles. It attempts to give Martin Luther and some of his companions a bit of personality in the main blocks of the graphic novel, but when it’s not the characters speaking in their own voices it reads like a history textbook. I feel like the necessarily fact-heavy sections could have a more narrative feel. The transitional blocks of text, while important for the wealth of information they provide, truly read like a high school textbook. I found the transitions jarring as they popped up just when I felt like I was really getting immersed into the narrative of the story. For instance: “For most people, it was a dark age. Many believed that the end of the world was near…Poverty and hunger are widespread. The majority of the poor live from alms. There is political unrest. Mass epidemics break out and quickly spread.” In fact, I think that’s my main criticism. Frankly, I learned a lot while reading this and enjoyed it at the same time. While I was familiar with some of the history of the Protestant Reformation, I definitely didn’t have a good grasp of the political impact and ramifications, or the later-in-life associations and alliances that Martin Luther had. This graphic biography acts as a good starting point for further reading and the illustrations bring the story to life.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Richard Vasseur

    "In Dark Times" The art style is pastel but with details in the art. Here Martin begins his studies. Learning Latin is one of them. "The Lightning Bolt" Martin continues his education. A bolt of lightning hits a tree splitting it and provides some beautifully done illustrations of the tree. Here Martin makes up his mind to become a monk and in 1507 he becomes a priest. "The Monk in Rome" Martin goes to Rome and visits all the holy relics there. The art illustrates these relics as items that your "In Dark Times" The art style is pastel but with details in the art. Here Martin begins his studies. Learning Latin is one of them. "The Lightning Bolt" Martin continues his education. A bolt of lightning hits a tree splitting it and provides some beautifully done illustrations of the tree. Here Martin makes up his mind to become a monk and in 1507 he becomes a priest. "The Monk in Rome" Martin goes to Rome and visits all the holy relics there. The art illustrates these relics as items that your attention will be drawn to. "The Freedom of Faith" Next Luthor becomes his monastery's preacher, he is rising in the church ranks. He starts to get more insight into what it is he is seeking. "Money in the Coffers" This chapter focuses on Indulgences. These are the churches way of collecting money. They are basically worthless pieces of paper and Luthor and he is willing to speak out about it. "Face to Face with the Emperor" Luther is stubborn and risks it all to stick by his beliefs. He does not back down at all. "In Hiding" Luther as he is hidden away finds the passage of time boring. The illustration of the devil here presents the devil as one sexy female. Luther does rewrite the New Testament in German, he did it for the common people. "The Morning Star of Wittenberg" The art is so impressive throughout this book. Little things pop out at you as you will be amazed at the quality you see. Luther takes a big step in his life he marries Katharina a nun. "Their Blood Is on My Hands" Change seems to always have violence with it. People will fight for what they believe in whether it is right or not. Two faith's now exist the Roman Catholic Church and the new Lutheran faith. "A Beggar's Farewell" Luther speaks out against the Jews. The writing brings across how much Luther hates them. As Luther passes he reflects on himself as a beggar with faith. "Epilogue: Augsburg, 1555" Luther Martin won the Protestant faith was recognized as a religion in the Holy Roman Empire. This book provides a faithful rendition of Martin Luther's life trough gorgeous art and wonderfully delivered words.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Paul Franco

    Yes, someone did a graphic novel on one of the biggest names in the history of religion. And it goes in-depth, with plenty of stuff that isn’t in a quick look at his life, if we assume all this is actually true, especially the lightning bolt incident. Did you know he played the lute? I didn’t. Now we both do. Some high points: The whole story starts on a high note, as the first illustration is a Bosch painting. Later on there’s a panel that’s right out of Escher. Bonus points from me. For a monk, h Yes, someone did a graphic novel on one of the biggest names in the history of religion. And it goes in-depth, with plenty of stuff that isn’t in a quick look at his life, if we assume all this is actually true, especially the lightning bolt incident. Did you know he played the lute? I didn’t. Now we both do. Some high points: The whole story starts on a high note, as the first illustration is a Bosch painting. Later on there’s a panel that’s right out of Escher. Bonus points from me. For a monk, he sure knew his spycraft. Junker Jorg indeed. There’s a Groundhog Day page to show how bored he is in exile, funny despite the repetitiveness. “The gospel should be told as if everything just happened yesterday.” “God. . . was absent during the bloodbath.” The downside, at least for me, is all the religious babble. To the end he holds to his simplistic, even childish views. “There are innocent people among them. God knows well how to protect and save them. . . if he does not save them, then it is only because they are villains.” Ugh. And even if a lot of the Catholic rituals haven’t changed in over 500 years, I still don’t understand them. As for how historically accurate it is, I can’t help but wonder. I looked for any representations of him with the hipster beard, and couldn’t find any. The wedding: tuxedo and white dress? Hopelessly anachronistic, obviously trying to appeal to a younger generation. “Assumes a pastorate.” Some of the language sounds silly to modern ears. I will admit I learned a lot from this, if indeed it was all true; I have my doubts on that score. He was neither a saint nor a sinner, or perhaps he was a bit of both. If this was pitched as a story, no one would buy it, but as a history lesson it works.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Julius

    Renegade: Martin Luther, The Graphic Biography is just what it claims -- a richly illustrated graphic biography of Martin Luther. After all, 500 years ago, in October, Luther confronted some of the cultural forces within the Catholic Church and sparked what would become the Protestant Reformation in Germany. I admit I'm a nerd -- readers to my blog will hardly be surprised. So I was excited when I read that Plough Publishing was giving the world the gift of this book. With the spate of publishing Renegade: Martin Luther, The Graphic Biography is just what it claims -- a richly illustrated graphic biography of Martin Luther. After all, 500 years ago, in October, Luther confronted some of the cultural forces within the Catholic Church and sparked what would become the Protestant Reformation in Germany. I admit I'm a nerd -- readers to my blog will hardly be surprised. So I was excited when I read that Plough Publishing was giving the world the gift of this book. With the spate of publishing that has coincided with that 500th anniversary, I suppose it's only right that we have a graphic biography of Luther's life. I expected some of the highest quality from Plough, and I wasn't disappointed with this book. What readers will find here is nothing short of a fresh, new and powerful telling of Luther's life story, complete with lots of the dialogue taken from Luther's own writing. The dark colors of the panels only lend to growing an appreciation for the rough world into which Luther was born and in which he struggled with his terrified conscience to finally come to an understanding of his salvation, not as a matter of his own work but of God's work in Jesus Christ. The artwork here will give a liveliness to a story that even theologians think they know so well. There are some gaps in the narrative of that story, to be sure, but Renegade was never meant to be an exhaustive biography. But what it does do it does with the grace that fills Luther's life. ______________________ I received a free copy of this book from Plough Publishing in exchange for my honest review here.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Nelson Banuchi

    Unfortunately, I thought storyline choppy in someplace and the artwork shoddy. Artwork seemed almost blurred in some places, incomplete in others, and too dark, and in some places the artwork on different boxes without much explanation seem to confuse me on what was going on. The storyline, perhaps, unfortunately true, I do not think would be conducive to influence anyone to become a Christian; rather it may give them more reason not to be a Christian seeing that Christians are hypocrites with it Unfortunately, I thought storyline choppy in someplace and the artwork shoddy. Artwork seemed almost blurred in some places, incomplete in others, and too dark, and in some places the artwork on different boxes without much explanation seem to confuse me on what was going on. The storyline, perhaps, unfortunately true, I do not think would be conducive to influence anyone to become a Christian; rather it may give them more reason not to be a Christian seeing that Christians are hypocrites with it's portrayals, although true it seems, of Luther's attitude towards poor and oppressed, and Jews. I am against hiding the reality of what has truly occurred in Church history in order to deceive and make Christianity more palatable, but I am not sure this emphasis on Luther's life rather than on the Word of God he sought to bring to others, would encourage not only any sympathy for Luther but the desire to become a believer in Christ. Church history needs to be brought out in a perspective that, notwithstanding the realities of the cruelties great personages like Martin Luther may have committed, nevertheless, offers the reality of genuine, positive change that moves men to genuinely love one another and sacrifice their lives for others. Admittedly, I am not sure, in Martin Luther's case, how one might go about doing that but I get a gut feeling this graphic novel is not the way to go. I would not share it with unbelievers or new believers and, perhaps even certain older Christians whose proneness to religious rigidness and bias might be solidified even more upon reading "Renegade: Martin Luther."

  23. 4 out of 5

    Nancy Summers

    Beautifully illustrated and well researched, this graphic novel follows the life of Martin Luther, the man who challenged the Catholic Church and inspired the Protestant Revolution. It is a fast read that captures the tumultuous times in Germany at the beginning of the 16th century, a time of poverty, plague and suffering. Martin was the son of hard working, strictly religious family. He excelled in school and was granted the opportunity to study at the University in Erfurt with the hopes of bec Beautifully illustrated and well researched, this graphic novel follows the life of Martin Luther, the man who challenged the Catholic Church and inspired the Protestant Revolution. It is a fast read that captures the tumultuous times in Germany at the beginning of the 16th century, a time of poverty, plague and suffering. Martin was the son of hard working, strictly religious family. He excelled in school and was granted the opportunity to study at the University in Erfurt with the hopes of becoming a lawyer and improving his family’s lot. When caught in a violent storm, Martin has an epiphany which brings him to the church. Obsessed with salvation and faith he pores over the scriptures as he seeks to reconcile his growing doubts with the practices of the Holy Catholic Church. His major complaints against the Church over the sale of indulgences and the true meaning of faith and grace lead him to post the infamous 95 Theses on the door of the Cathedral. The novel presents Luther’s reasoning on the questions of faith, his friends and foes in his struggle to clarify his theology, and his efforts to bring the word of God closer to the people of Germany.  The good the bad and the ugly of Luther’s life is exposed, including his end of life tirades against Jews, Anabaptists and the peasants of Germany.  Ciponte’s drawings are gorgeous and colorful - evocative of some of the great masterpieces of the Renaissance. **I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jimmy

    This year marks the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation and this book is one that is published in light of that historic milestone with this being a graphic novel on the life of Martin Luther. What follows is my thought on the book Renegade: Martin Luther, the Graphic Biography. I was impressed overall with the book’s historical accuracy. I thought the writer spend a lot of time researching and capturing the facts surrounding Martin Luther. For instance I thought the book did a good j This year marks the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation and this book is one that is published in light of that historic milestone with this being a graphic novel on the life of Martin Luther. What follows is my thought on the book Renegade: Martin Luther, the Graphic Biography. I was impressed overall with the book’s historical accuracy. I thought the writer spend a lot of time researching and capturing the facts surrounding Martin Luther. For instance I thought the book did a good job capturing the apocalyptic expectation during the sixteenth century of both Germany and Western Europe. I also thought the author was accurate in portraying Luther’s struggle and courage as well as his moments when he did not shine so bright to us today such as his unfortunate views of the Jews later in his life. Most of all I appreciated the graphic novel explaining the harsh conditions of the times of Luther and the aroma of death that was ever present during his time. Overall the book early on give us a faint scent of death and decay. This work has a sense of dark realism about it both in its story telling and the colors and artwork. I would say though at times it was rather too dark especially with its depictions of hanging, corpse and death. Overall I enjoyed the book. NOTE: This book was provided to me free by Plough Publishing House and Net Galley without any obligation for a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

    I personally think Martin Luther was a nut, so I went into this quite skeptically because "Renegade" sounds like a hip rebel type....and that characterization of Luther is, in general, overdone. To some degree that is where the book went with this, but surprisingly to me, the book also did a good job of showing how he was a very scrupulous, tortured, obsessive man....and that his religious qualms (terror-filled visions of burning in hell) did not come from a place of mental or spiritual health. I personally think Martin Luther was a nut, so I went into this quite skeptically because "Renegade" sounds like a hip rebel type....and that characterization of Luther is, in general, overdone. To some degree that is where the book went with this, but surprisingly to me, the book also did a good job of showing how he was a very scrupulous, tortured, obsessive man....and that his religious qualms (terror-filled visions of burning in hell) did not come from a place of mental or spiritual health. The book also showed how the Reformation, the movement itself, more or less took on a life of its own for a number of political reasons. The (digital?) illustrations themselves were very dark & violent; that's not necessarily meant as a critique...the early 1500s weren't a cake walk, I'm sure. But the rats, the faceless heads, the dead bodies (everywhere), roasted bodies, bodies impaled on trees, beheaded bodies, etc, were a bit much for me. The only reason I think they are valid in this book is because they set the tone for Luther's interior life (hyper-focused on humanity's inherent sinfulness and worthlessness & on death in general), and also for the happenings of that time period. I'm giving this a 4-star rating because I found it moving, overall. Memorable.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Wayne McCoy

    'Renegade: Martin Luther, the Graphic Biography' by Dacia Palmerino with art by Andrea Grosso Ciponte is a graphic novel about the founder of the Protestant Reformation. Martin Luther was born into a pretty cruel world full of poverty and plague. As he grew, he found himself in a monastery, but while there, he starts to have questions about what the Bible teaches versus what the church did at the time. This led him to post the ninety-five theses on a church door in Wittenberg. His stance makes hi 'Renegade: Martin Luther, the Graphic Biography' by Dacia Palmerino with art by Andrea Grosso Ciponte is a graphic novel about the founder of the Protestant Reformation. Martin Luther was born into a pretty cruel world full of poverty and plague. As he grew, he found himself in a monastery, but while there, he starts to have questions about what the Bible teaches versus what the church did at the time. This led him to post the ninety-five theses on a church door in Wittenberg. His stance makes him unpopular with the church and he goes into hiding. Martin Luther is a controversial figure, but this graphic novel does a fair job of showing both sides of him. He's no saint, but he is not to be wholly reviled. The art was a weird style of computer art and it worked, but seemed to already look dated in style. The story is pretty dark in tone, and may be disturbing for younger or sensitive readers. I did enjoy reading it though. I received a review copy of this graphic novel from Plough Publishing House and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this graphic novel.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Carl Williams

    I received a copy of this book, free, through Goodreads Giveaways. Gone are the graphic novels of my youth—the retelling of classic literature through comic book form (though that image of Jayne Eyre walking along a stone wall and Quasimodo looking down at Paris from the top of Norte Dame will always be with me.). This positive, synopsis biography of Martin Luther captures much of the excitement and flair of his life, and the reasons for the beginnings of the Protestant Revolution are aptly laid I received a copy of this book, free, through Goodreads Giveaways. Gone are the graphic novels of my youth—the retelling of classic literature through comic book form (though that image of Jayne Eyre walking along a stone wall and Quasimodo looking down at Paris from the top of Norte Dame will always be with me.). This positive, synopsis biography of Martin Luther captures much of the excitement and flair of his life, and the reasons for the beginnings of the Protestant Revolution are aptly laid out. It's clear language and engaging illustrations draw the reader into the story. Of concern was the casual inclusion of Luther’s anti-Semitism. Yes, it was part of the culture of the times, though it is presented through his eyes. I know that. Yes, there were any number of things modern readers would find untenable in Luther’s understanding of the world. I know that. But within “pick-and-choose” necessity of a short biography like this, highlighting many of the noble attributes of Luther why include it? And, if the authors thought this was important, why include it without the sidebar explanation that helps define an otherwise interesting and idealistic intellectual person of faith? To my eye it mars the kind of very palatable biography that young teens would find interesting and inspiring. So, I can recommend this graphic biography if it is read in the broader context of Luther’s leadership, gifts, and foibles as they have come to be understood in the world today. Read independently it might leave a young reader without the necessary context for today's diverse world.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Audrey Adamson Stars in Her Eye

    Renegade is a graphic novel biography of the Father of Protestantism Martin Luther. I love that authors and illustrators are understanding the power of the graphic novel. For too long, biographies have been long boring tomes that the lay person aren't interested in. Buy breaking into the comic world, the writers are capturing more people and educating them in a fun way. I knew the basics about Luther from my studies in college but I really enjoyed getting to know ore about him on a persona level Renegade is a graphic novel biography of the Father of Protestantism Martin Luther. I love that authors and illustrators are understanding the power of the graphic novel. For too long, biographies have been long boring tomes that the lay person aren't interested in. Buy breaking into the comic world, the writers are capturing more people and educating them in a fun way. I knew the basics about Luther from my studies in college but I really enjoyed getting to know ore about him on a persona level. In school, we stuck to how he changed religion without looking at the man himself. Renegade does that rather well. As a protestant myself, I was awed by truly seeing what Luther faced in making sure that the people were able to rad God's word and have a relationship with him outside the unethical dealings of the church. I had understood on an intellectual level, but the graphic novel made me understand it on an emotional level. An engaging read, Renegade is a great way to get people more interested in history.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Art

    I never knew a lot about Martin Luther. Growing up Catholic, I knew he was the man who broke from the church and began Protestantism, the 95 Theses, and not much more. I was interested to learn more about the man and this book did not disappoint me. It made the historical figure into a real person. I felt the struggles he went through as he tried to reason his way to God only to discovery that it was faith that was needed, not reason. I was surprised by some of the aspects of his life. These are I never knew a lot about Martin Luther. Growing up Catholic, I knew he was the man who broke from the church and began Protestantism, the 95 Theses, and not much more. I was interested to learn more about the man and this book did not disappoint me. It made the historical figure into a real person. I felt the struggles he went through as he tried to reason his way to God only to discovery that it was faith that was needed, not reason. I was surprised by some of the aspects of his life. These are the things that made him a real person to me and not just an historical figure to be either vilified to sanctified. The artwork was fairly disturbing and graphic throughout much of the book. I would not recommend this for children. Given that, I found the artwork to be compelling and that it added to the story. I received a free electronic ARC of this book through Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review. See all my reviews at https://mrbsbookshelf.blogspot.com

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sonia Schoenfield

    This was a pretty good graphic biography of Martin Luther, hitting all the high and low points. (And the low points, like his antisemitism, were pretty jarring) The beginning kind of took me aback, too, portraying the world that Luther was born into with the horsemen of the Apocalypse and graphic images of plague victims and heretics burned at the stake. Sometimes I had a hard time keeping track of who the players were, but there was a helpful "cast of characters" in the back with portraits of p This was a pretty good graphic biography of Martin Luther, hitting all the high and low points. (And the low points, like his antisemitism, were pretty jarring) The beginning kind of took me aback, too, portraying the world that Luther was born into with the horsemen of the Apocalypse and graphic images of plague victims and heretics burned at the stake. Sometimes I had a hard time keeping track of who the players were, but there was a helpful "cast of characters" in the back with portraits of people like Philip Melanchthon, Johan Tetzel, and the like. I liked the drawings of the printing press, castles and cathedrals, but not the people; for me, they were too flat. In sum, for me the book was worth reading but I wouldn't recommend it enthusiastically. P.S. It didn't take me 24 days to read this; I just didn't make time for it. I did end up reading it twice, and it made more sense the second time through.

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