First announced in 2018, Run: Book One, a posthumous work by the late civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis, is the continuation of his National Book Award-winning graphic memoir The March trilogy, and tells the story of his life and political career after the signing of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The book will be published by Abrams ComicArts in August 2021.
Run: Book One is co-written by Lewis’s longtime collaborator and congressional staffer Andrew Aydin, and illustrated by Nate Powell, artist for the March trilogy, and by L. Fury, a new artist added to the creative team and taking over from artist Afua Richardson, who was originally slated to draw the book. Publication of Run: Book One was delayed after being slated to be published in the fall of 2018.
Run: Book One continues the story of Lewis’s life story and his fight for equal rights as he moves to make a run for political office after years of political activism in the streets. The book opens with Lewis and other civil rights activists facing arrest as they struggle for racial integration and equality at the same time the country is consumed with the Vietnam War and continued threats by the Ku Klux Klan and the forces of white supremacy.
In an interview from 2018 about the new book, Aydin said Run: Book One 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 said in the interview, "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 continues. "The focus became, how do you use the right to vote—it became, how do we secure political power."
The March Trilogy, a graphic history of Lewis’s life as well as the Civil Rights Movement published by Top Shelf, won Eisner Awards for graphic nonfiction in 2016 and 2018; in 2016 March: Book Three was awarded the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, making it the first comics work to receive a National Book Award. The series has sold millions of copies since March Book One was released in 2013.
Run: Book One will be published at a time when the future of American democracy and the political process that supports it looks uncertain and in peril. Prior to his passing, Lewis, who died in 2020, said, of the new graphic memoir, “In sharing my story, it is my hope that a new generation will be inspired by Run to actively participate in the democratic process and help build a more perfect union here in America.”