cover image KING


Ho Che Anderson, Stanley Crouch, , intro. by Stanley Crouch. . Fantagraphics, $22.95 (228pp) ISBN 978-1-56097-622-6

Over 10 years in the making, Anderson's biographical graphic novel has the weight and depth of a lifetime of research. The book is a compelling and often moving narrative of the life of Martin Luther King Jr. Anderson follows King from boyhood through college and into the stormy Civil Rights movement. But while the broad narrative of King's life may be familiar, this is hardly a Classic Comics approach to the man. In order to capture the complexity of King's life and times, Anderson employs a uniquely multifaceted and multilayered graphic and narrative technique that falls somewhere between cartooning, painting, collage and documentary photography. It is deeply effective. At times, King's life is a straightforward narrative, but then a Greek chorus of voices will interrupt to comment on the action and offer different versions of events. At other crucial moments, the pages erupt into color abstractions or expressionist renderings. Anchoring all this dazzling technique is Anderson's acute ear for dialogue and profound understanding of his subject. In the simplest scenes of King and his colleagues in discussion—in a car, a bar or a living room—Anderson brings readers into the space and makes history palpable. Through a varied graphic arsenal and subtle prose, Anderson's King comes alive. (Feb.)