Rep. John Lewis, a renowned figure in the civil rights movement and the history of American social justice, will continue the retelling of his extraordinary life in Run: Book One, extending the story begun in the March trilogy, the first graphic work to be awarded a National Book Award. Two of his cocreators—cowriter and congressional staffer Andrew Aydin and artist Afua Richardson—discuss bringing this story vividly to life using comics.

Run: Book One picks up Lewis's story roughly where the March saga left off, in 1965, after the events of the Selma to Montgomery marches that ended in a violent confrontation, with hundreds of nonviolent marchers attacked and brutally beaten by Alabama state troopers on the Edmund Pettis Bridge. "Run: Book One starts two days after the Voting Rights Act is signed into law in 1965," Aydin says, noting that, while the legislation was being enacted, Lewis was in jail after being arrested in Georgia while trying to integrate a white church.

Aydin says the book will look "at the forces of white supremacy, which were using the civil rights movement's tactics against [civil rights workers]." In the wake of the Voting Rights Act, Aydin says, "The Klan led the largest hooded march in decades. We'll show that challenges to the Voting Rights Act began days after it was signed into law. We can draw a line from then to the challenges [to voting rights] we see today."

"The Vietnam War will be a huge part of Run, and there's a shift in the civil rights movement's focus," Aydin explains. "The focus became, how do you use the right to vote—it became, how do we secure political power." The book will also examine the events surrounding the Lowndes County Freedom Organization (perhaps the first African-American group to call itself the Black Panther Party) and its efforts to become an independent political party and run black candidates for office.

At the time, Lowndes County, Ala., had a majority black population without a single black citizen registered to vote. The party used the Black Panther as the symbol of its efforts toward "black power," and Huey Newton requested the use of the emblem for the revolutionary organization he launched in Oakland, Calif.

Citing Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story, a historic 1957 civil rights political comic that Lewis has claimed as an inspiration, Aydin says comic books again influenced the civil rights movement in Lowndes County.

"The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee created a series of crude comics on various issues: how to register to vote, what to vote for." Once again, Aydin says, "guided by history, I get to highlight a little-known comic as another example of using comics to educate and inspire people to do something important."

Aydin also praises the addition of Afua Richardson to the Run creative team. She'll work in conjunction with Nate Powell, the March artist. "He's doing the first 10 pages of the book and the two artists will share a cool double page spread that will transition the art to Afua," Aydin says. "This is a bigger book than she's ever done, and she's going to be star."

A highly regarded African-American comics artist, Richardson has published works for Image and Marvel. She says that being chosen to work on Run "is like winning the lottery to go into outer space."

"This book is about John Lewis and all the others [in the civil rights movement] you don't hear about who were also beaten and shot fighting for our rights. There's a lot of pressure to do this story justice, but it's a good pressure," she says.

As Aydin continues to work on Run, he talks about the death of his mother, who raised him alone, and the impact that working with Lewis and March has had on his life. His mother died shortly after March won the National Book Award in late 2016. "She was 70 years old, and I was supposed to have more time with her," says Aydin.

But, he continues, "The night we won the NBA, I asked her, ‘In your wildest dreams, did you ever have a fantasy that I'd grow up and win a National Book Award?' She said, ‘Sweetheart, I love you with all my heart, but no!' "

Aydin says, "I surpassed my mother's wildest dreams for me, and she was able to see it while she was still alive."