Tag Archives: biography

Martin Luther King Jr. Comic Biography

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Fantagraphics is releasing a special edition of Ho Che Anderson’s graphic novel biography of Martin Luther King Jr.  Entitled, King – A Comics Biography, the special edition is available for pre-order from their website.  Also at the website is an 18 page PDF sample of the graphic novel detailing his life from 1960 to 1961.

Ho Che Anderson’s biography of America’s great civil rights advocate Martin Luther King is both a monumental recreation of his tumultuous public life (and death) and an intimate portrait of the man as politician, friend, lover, husband, and father.

With the triumphant ascendancy of Barack Obama to the Presidency of the United States, Martin Luther King’s advocacy for racial equality and the dignity of all men stands as one of the greatest and most successful achievements toward social justice in the 20th century. Originally published in three volumes (1993-2002), this Special Edition of King includes the original 240 page graphic novel as well many unique and original additions, including an essay by the author on the making of the book, preliminary sketches, pages of the typescript, visual breakdowns, “deleted scenes,” and a prelude about race relations in contemporary America entitled Black Dogs.

Anderson’s biography traces King’s life from his childhood in Atlanta and his education at Booker T. Washington High School, and his centrality to the civil rights movement when, in 1955, he organized the Montgomery Bus Boycott; his founding of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1957; his Nobel Prize in 1964; the 1966 March on Washington and his “I Have a Dream” speech; and the tragic moment on April 4, 1968 when he was shot dead on the balcony of the Lorraine Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee. King brings the man, and a singular moment in American history, vividly to life.

The original edition was widely praised upon it’s release:

“Widely acknowledged as a masterpiece, this award-winning biography invokes King’s flaws, tragedies, and triumphs.” – Library Journal

“[Anderson’s] effort will convince skeptics of the value of comics as a medium; King is a milestone of biographical comics.” – Publishers Weekly

“Stark, uniform black-and-white panels contain talking heads: a Greek chorus of varying opinions and historical background. Among these Mr. Anderson inserts montages of raw, visceral energy… tightly rendered grids give way to near-collage, in which hand-retouched photography is melded with oblique, loosely sketched forms that convey an ominous tension with moody imprecision. Violent eruptions splay into vast, painterly tableaus, as in the brutal rendering of the Birmingham riots of 1963… The final scene, depicting King’s assassination, is a chaotic wash of searing crimson that spills over four pages, seeming almost to seep from the book.” – The New York Times

King goes beyond history to examine life’s complications, particularly pertaining to racial relations. King the character becomes the personification of these complications… Rare and vital, Ho Che Anderson’s King adds a significant contribution to the depth of artistry and subject matter in the world of graphic literature.” – Time.com

This 312 page special edition will retail for $34.99 and be released this January.

IDW Covers the Presidential Candidates

At Comic-Con 08 comic publisher IDW announced they’ll be publishing biographies of the Democratic and Republican Presidential nominees. Two one-shots will focus on the lives of the two candidates leading up to their clinching their respective nominations (possibly leaving the general election up for future issues?).

The New York Time’s blog, The Caucus, reports Barack Obama’s comic will be written by Jeff Mariotte while John McCain’s issue will be written by Andy Helfer. The covers are drawn by Gen13 artist J. Scott Campbell.

As ComicBookResources.com correctly points out biography comics aren’t a new phenomenon as comics in the past have covered Ronald Reagan, Pope John Paul II, Malcom X, and many more.

The comics will go on sale October 1, and will be available online at presidentialcomics.com.