The Felix Manz Story
by Jason Landsel
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Pub Date 21 Mar 2023 | Archive Date 21 Mar 2023
Plough Publishing, Plough Publishing House
"An ambitious biography—in graphic-novel style—of an early Anabaptist martyr. Intriguing watercolors—evocative of both Hieronymus Bosch and 1970s pop art—precede the opening pages. … The chapters that follow use accessible language and abundant visual cues in softly colored, action-packed art." —Kirkus Reviews
In a time of social upheaval, in a city astir with dangerous new ideas, the son of a priest and a prostitute becomes a leader of a nonviolent revolution.
Five hundred years ago, in an age marked by war, plague, inequality, and religious coercion, there were people across Europe who dared to imagine a society of sharing, peace, and freedom of conscience. These radicals were ready to die for their vision. They were executed by the thousands—by water, by fire, and by sword—in both Catholic and Protestant states. Their stories come to life in this graphic novel series that dramatically recreates a little-known chapter in the history of the Reformation.
By Water, is a true story of friendship and betrayal set in the Swiss city of Zurich. It chronicles the conflict between establishment reformer Ulrich Zwingli (1484–1531) and his student Felix Manz (1498–1527), who at first reveres Zwingli as a father figure but ends up drowned on Zwingli’s orders for insisting that only believers should be baptized. In this dramatic visualization of the birth of the Radical Reformation, water is both wonder and weapon, a symbol of new life and a death sentence.
This action-packed, historically accurate account of young people standing up for their convictions against the corrupt political and religious leaders of their day will awaken courage and commitment in young readers today.
A Note From the Publisher
- Like Boxers and Saints, this graphic novel immerses young people in a historical era rife with religious and cultural conflict.
- Young hero: This compelling story of a young person standing up for his convictions against political leaders is being told in graphic novel format for the first time.
- Tie-in to 500-year anniversary of the Reformation, with upcoming anniversaries of specific events featured in the book.
- Hot genre: Historical and biographical graphic novels have seen rapid growth.
- National publicity campaign
- Exclusive reviews and interviews with national media outlets
- Extensive giveaways and promotions on NetGalley, Edelweiss, GoodReads, LibraryThing, and others
- Significant social media campaign
- Special outreach to Library and Education markets
- Feature in Plough Quarterly magazine, circulation 15,000.
- Featured on Plough’s email lists, combined reach 75,000.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 26 members
Beautifully told story of Felix Manz and other Radical Reformers, nicely illustrated. I applaud the publisher for offering this and hope for more.
Thank you to Netgalley and Plough Publishing for a copy of By Water in exchange for an honest review.
An interesting look at a historical period that I'm not familiar with. I feel like I learned something new while admiring the lovely and fitting illustrations.
so like i didn't know who felix manz was prior to receiving this arc from netgalley (&Co) but it seemed like an interesting read. and it was, very informative indeed.
i didn't know alot actually, not about baptism nor anything about religion in Zurich. personally i think this was an eye opener to cultures that don't necessarily mesh with mine and it being a graphic novel also helped me digest the information. art style was very kind on my eyes, definitely not over stimulating.
all in all, this is a good recommendation for people who love to read about history, specially if they like books with pictures.
A beautifully, if graphically told true story of the reformers efforts during the mid 1520's Zurich religous struggles. The story is a fascinating look at this violent time in history. Told in graphic novel style, it brings it to life in a very visual manner. I love historical novels both true and fictional and this style adds a dimension I was not aware was missing from my reading experience. I'm recommending it to my reading circle, I'm sure they will love it too.
I felt a strange frisson reading this, remembering my visit to Zurich three years earlier. It does a great job of capturing a side of the Protestant Reformation that doesn't get discussed much in America (at least, not within the American evangelical circles I circulate). The dark irony of Zwingli's reformation to remove legalism becoming a new kind of legalism, the struggle to use non-violent protest against violent authorities, combine to make a powerful tragic vision.
I'm looking forward to what looks like a series of books (if I'm reading the ending correctly), and the chance to read this alongside Plough's Martin Luther graphic novel from 2017.
I know very little about this period in time, but this was a fascinating story. I really enjoyed the illustrations too. I think the dialogue could’ve been a little more explanatory, but I still got the dangerous feeling of the times. I also didn’t know this was the start of a series, but I’d be very interested in reading more.
It took me a while to get through this graphic novel. It focuses on the religious revolution in Zurich. Not being familiar with Christian theology, I floundered a bit because I struggled to understand the arguments that people disagreed about.
What anchors the book is the central character of Felix Manz, someone who was prepared to suffer for his beliefs. The crux of the book is how his life was changed by Huldrych Zwingli. Zwingli mentored Manz, and together they were able to take over Zurich's religious establishment. Manz subsequent disillusionment with Zwingli's leadership forms the main body of book. The writing captures the tensions felt by everyone in this time of social upheaval and how dangerous it is for charismatic leaders to gather people around.
The art here is gorgeous. It's hard to describe the style. The colours are faint yet bright, almost as if they used colouring pencils or very light paints to illustrate the book. The palettes of blues and browns contrast nicely. It captures the excitement of young people being exposed to world-change ideas as well as any comic I've read.
Looked at as a book about how revolutions inevitably end up disappointing some of its most ardent supporters and how those supporters react By Water is a compelling read.
This was a very well-researched graphic novel. At times, I felt like Zwingli and Manz's issues with the Catholic Church were a little underexplored, but I do appreciate the tendency to keep the story moving as opposed to bogging down the reader with fact after fact. The additional information in the back is really nice as well.
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