March: Book One

John Lewis, Author, Andrew Aydin, Author, Nate Powell, Illustrator
John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell. Top Shelf, $14.95 (128p) ISBN 978-1-60309-300-2
Reviewed on: 07/15/2013
Release date: 08/13/2013
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The long-overdue move to chronicle American history in graphic novel form takes another great step forward with this first volume of a projected history of the civil rights struggle. Instead of taking an all-inclusive, Eyes on the Prize–style approach (an epic undertaking that hopefully is on another artist’s to-do list), March is told from the perspective of Georgia congressman John Lewis. Listed here as coauthor with Andrew Aydin, Lewis frames his story as a flashback told to a few inquisitive visitors in his Washington office as he is getting ready to attend the inauguration of President Barack Obama. It’s an occasionally creaky device that slips sometimes into hagiography, but Lewis’s tale is a resolutely dramatic one regardless. Highlighted by dark, neo-noirish art from Nate Powell (The Silence of Our Friends), March tracks Lewis from his hardscrabble childhood on a remote Georgia farm to his gradual awakening to the pernicious evil of segregation and his growing leadership role in Martin Luther King Jr.’s nonviolent resistance movement. If the book strays too far from Lewis himself at times, that’s because the momentousness of what’s happening around him cannot be ignored. Superbly told history. (Aug.)
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