Gospel Trade Paperback Review

Writer, Artist, Colorist & Letterer: Will Morris

Cover Artist: Ver

Publisher: Image

Price: $14.99

Release Date: June 21, 2023

Henry VIII wanted to remarry, but the Pope said, “No.” Royal advisor Thomas Cromwell wanted to reform the English Church. Henry VIII said, “Go for it.” Latin gave way to English. Literacy reduced priestly authority. People plundered churches and destroyed religious art. Monasteries that governed surrounding lands disappeared. How did such radical change affect people in Devon, England? Let’s set aside our Books Of Common Prayer, pick up the Gospel Trade Paperback, and find out!

If you’re interested in this comic, series, related trades, or any of the others mentioned, then simply click on the title/link to snag a copy through Amazon as you read the Gospel Trade Paperback Review.


Rumpstead seems like an idyllic Tudor village in Devon, England. But look closer, and you’ll find trouble brewing. Pitt, the apprentice chronicler of the parish, differentiates truth from fiction. His friend Matilda, the town protector, aggrandizes stories for the people’s benefit. Their benefactor, Father Thomas, seeks to preserve the influence of the Catholic Church. Lady Tyrwitt, head of the local stainers guild, believes the aristocracy should control all aspects of British life. These indomitable personalities collide when Satan destroys the church on Olnick Tor.

The Gospel Trade Paperback also introduces us to present-day characters. Mr. Fisher stuffed his home with knickknacks. Ms. Gita Karan wonders if he should be in a senior facility. While readers experience Pitt and Matilda’s quest for a saint’s hammer to defeat the devil, Mr. Fisher tells the social worker about the plucky orphans’ trek across Devon and Cornwall. She desires facts to complete forms relating to Section 7 of the 1983 Order Of Mental Health Act. While Pitt and Matilda fight to preserve their religious traditions, Mr. Fisher fights to remain in his home.

Pitt and Matilda brave the dangers of the road, fight humans, and confront a giant. Yet their greatest battles are over what separates and unites them. Both must discover the truth within themselves. At stake is not just their town but their future. The British monastic system—a legal and social network that governed all aspects of Tudor society—gave way to less structured, secular governance: virtually overnight. I wasn’t always sure how story events gelled with real-world dates when Image published the individual issues. I had trouble believing that Devon villagers would respect a young woman’s elevated social status—let alone one who dyed her hair green. (And then there’s the question of how her hair might smell, considering how they made dyes back then).

Reading all five issues at once, I understand he’s tackling events that took place over periods and may have differed by region. Mr. Fisher’s story also grows clearer in the Gospel Trade Paperback and seems like the lens through which we should view the overall story. But then, the charming, mischievous Mr. Fisher is an unreliable narrator, so take everything I said with a grain of salt. On second thought, save the salt. You’ll need it to preserve your meat and fish during the lean winter and spring months.


Will Morris’ art depicts life in a Tudor village. It highlights how well-meaning reformers defaced statues, stole traditional religious art, and destroyed churches and monasteries. It shows how people lived outside towns as farmers, tradespeople, and hired laborers. He takes us on a tour through forests and along England’s windswept southwest coast. He also emulates historical styles such as woodblock art.

While Morris portrays people and animals well, he often leaves distant faces blank. He crams panels into pages like Matilda loads coins from Pitt’s pub yarns into her travel sack. The tiny imagery can require readers to intuit what exactly is taking place. Yet what happens is never in doubt, and the panel-packed pages make the Gospel Trade Paperback a substantial read. While letter font and size make for easy reading, Will Morris’ coloring may take a little getting used to. He loads his palette, avoids gray, and favors purples, greens, and oranges. Scenes emerge soft or jarring, homey or energizing, but usually appeal.

Final Thoughts

The Gospel Trade Paperback covers a period of sweeping change in English history. Will Morris builds his story on regional folk history with echoes of writers Charles Kingsley, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Michael Bond. This lovingly crafted tale celebrates sexual and racial equality and how stories can be more important than facts.


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