Review: March Trilogy
When I first heard that Congressman John Lewis was working on a set of graphic novels that encompassed his experiences during the civil rights movement, I was excited to see how this part of history would be translated into comic form. As certainly in recent comics history there have been biographical comics written about Martin Luther king and Malcolm X, but both graphic novelizations lacked the personal perspective, that one would have love to see in nonfiction comics. That is why my skepticism leaked into reading this trio of books, but when I heard that they were being implemented into schools, I had a feeling that they were more than just the typical nonfiction comic book. These were more like time capsules, of a time and place not long ago, as it shows progress have truly not happened, as was seen in the movie, Selma.
In Book One, we meet the young John Lewis as he is part of the first march across the Edmund Pettis Bridge, in Selma Alabama, as he ponders on whether he can swim, if needs to, just in case, as we find an unsure young man, who has doubts not only of himself and his purpose, but also of the civil rights movement. The reader gets a first row seat into a world where discrimination and inequity was much more in the open and the reader sees exactly what the Freedom Riders and the many lunch counter sit-ins all encompassed. In Book Two, the price of protest, is even more evident in this part of the story, as he gets arrested and the response to the movement’s commitment to nonviolence becomes increasingly difficult to uphold. In this book, his personal life and his life as part of the movement clash in the most unexpected ways.
In the final book of the trilogy, Book Three, he catches the reader up to the church bombing that killed those 4 little Girls, in Birmingham,, Alabama. The Civil Right Movement, is picking up momentum and influence, as Lewis officially joins Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. ’s inner circle. The book’s penultimate moment was with the final march from Selma to Montgomery to speak at the state capitol’s steps, and where Dr.King introduces Rosa Parks. The book ends with the Civil Rights of 1965 being enacted into law.
Overall, a strong trilogy, not just in content alone, but also in the way the story is told. This slice of Congressman John Lewis’s life is more than a monument to the Civil Rights Movement, but a beautiful sequential art that illustrates the actual sacrifices that were taken. The art and storytelling, are more than competent, they are as integral as the real story itself. In ending, this trilogy of books deserves every accolade it has received and more, as it not only tells of a time in America but how that time very much reflects right now.
Story: John Lewis and Andrew Aydin Art: Nate Powell
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy
Top Shelf provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review