The Original Johnson is Ready to Rumble

Official Press Release

“Unflinching” graphic novel biography of legendary heavyweight champion now in stores

Original JohnsonSan Diego, CA (December 23, 2009) — Now available in stores, IDW is proud to offer The Original Johnson, a bold graphic novel biography of Jack Johnson, the first black heavyweight champion. The 120-page hard cover chronicles the life of the “Galveston Giant,” telling the gripping story of one man’s fight for equality. Long time comics mainstay Trevor Von Eeden (Batman, Green Arrow) captures the essence of a nation’s struggle through the lens of one of the best boxers of all time. The New York Times calls The Original Johnson “unflinching in its depiction of racism in America, the brutality of the boxing ring and the tragedies and triumphs of Johnson’s life.”

In 1908, Jack Johnson beat a white boxer for the heavyweight world championship, sparking racial clashes around the country. Between his conquests across the color line both in and out of the boxing ring, this son of former slaves came to embody the struggle again racism that still plagues society today and an inspiration for generations of people fighting discrimination and inequality.

The Original Johnson is a project unlike anything ever seen in comics,” ComicMix editor-in-chief Mike Gold said. “Beautifully told by a master storyteller at the height of his considerable abilities, Trevor’s story is brutally honest and is almost as controversial as Jack Johnson was himself. I’m proud to be associated with it.”

Jack Johnson became a flash point in America’s racial evolution, not only for his repeated victories over white boxers, but also for his many relationships with white women. During Johnson’s life, these were considered equal offenses, and The Original Johnson examines both with the same passion and graphic art.

“Right now, Senator John McCain and Representative Peter King have petitioned President Barack Obama to pardon Jack Johnson for the incredible crime of daring to have a romantic link to a white woman,” Von Eeden notes. “This action follows resolutions passed by both houses of Congress. Saturday, December 26th will reflect the 101st anniversary of Johnson becoming the first black heavyweight champion of the world. The time for The Original Johnson is now!”

A co-production from IDW Publishing and ComicMix, The Original Johnson will be a two-volume graphic novel totaling 240 pages of story, plus historical introductions. The Original Johnson contains some mature content.

The Original Johnson, Volume One ($19.99, 128 pages) is now available in stores. An IDW/ComicMix co-production. ISBN 978-1-160010-638-5.

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About IDW Publishing
IDW is an award-winning publisher of comic books, graphic novels and trade paperbacks, based in San Diego, California. Renown for its diverse catalog of licensed and independent titles, IDW publishes some of the most successful and popular titles in the industry, including: Hasbro’s The Transformers and G.I. JOE, Paramount’s Star Trek; Fox’s Angel; the BBC’s Doctor Who; and television’s #1 prime time series CBS’ CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. IDW is also home to the Library of American Comics imprint, which publishes classic comic reprints; Yoe! Books, a partnership with Yoe! Studios; and is the print publisher for ComicMix.

IDW’s original horror series, 30 Days of Night, was launched as a major motion picture in October 2007 by Sony Pictures and was the #1 film in its first week of release. More information about the company can be found at