Tag Archives: martin luther king jr.

Listen to the Archive of Graphic Policy Radio’s Roundtable on the X-Men & the MLK Legacy

This past Monday the latest episode of Graphic Policy Radio hit the air with numerous special guests joining our roundtable discussion. While the main discussion was about the X-Men and their use as an allegory of the civil rights, it covered the series throughout its many incarnations and writers. The discussion also veered into the depiction of minorities in “comic” entertainment and Marvel’s continuity.

Guests joining in on the conversation were:

  • Steve Attewell – A political & union activist, Steve holds a PhD in History from the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is the founder and writer of Race for the Iron Throne as well as The Realignment Project
  • David Brothers – David works for a comics publisher, blogs about stuff at 4thletter.net, & tweets about everything at @hermanos. Find his life story at iamdavidbrothers.com.
  • Gene Demby – Gene Demby is an American writer and journalist & the lead blogger for NPR’s Code Switch team.
  • Emma Houxbois – Emma is a queer blogger for hire out of Vancouver, BC most recently attached to Girls Read Comics. Follow her @emmahouxbois
  • Kendra James – a blogger who writes on race, comics, television & more for Racialicious, follow her @wriglied

You can listen to the archive below or go here and download it for on the go.

This Monday Night, Graphic Policy Radio: X-Men and the MLK Legacy Roundtable

GP Radio pic MondayThis Monday join Graphic Policy Radio for a special episode where we examine the X-Men, Professor X, Magneto and the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. The episode will air live at 10pm ET, Monday Night. You can listen to it here.

Joining us is numerous special guests including:

  • Steve Attewell – A political and union activist, Steve holds a PhD in History from the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is the founder and writer of Race for the Iron Throne as well as The Realignment Project
  • David Brothers – David works for a comics publisher, blogs about stuff at 4thletter.net, and tweets about everything at @hermanos. Find his life story at iamdavidbrothers.com.
  • Gene Demby – Gene Demby is an American writer and journalist and the lead blogger for NPR’s Code Switch team.
  • Aaron Rand Freeman – Aaron is the audio engineer for the TWIB podcast network & a co-host on TWIB Radio and We Nerd Hard. I also host my own sports show called Sportsball.
  • Emma Houxbois – Emma is a queer blogger for hire out of Vancouver, BC most recently attached to Girls Read Comics. You can follow her on Twitter @emmahouxbois
  • Kendra James – a blogger who writes on race, comics, television and more for Racialicious. You can follow her on Twitter @wriglied

Join us for a special extra packed and extra long episode of Graphic Policy Radio. Tweet us your thoughts to @graphicpolicy. You can listen in an interact live.

Review: Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story

march-mlk-1958-coverOne of the best releases of 2013 was Top Shelf‘s March, which details the life of Congressman John Lewis. Lewis was an instrumental individual in the Civil Rights movement. That successful graphic novel lead to Top Shelf partnering with the Fellowship of Reconciliation to publish new editions of Martin Luther King and The Montgomery Story. The comic is an amazing piece of history that has been used to promote peaceful, non-violent protests around the world, being translated into numerous languages.

The 16 page comic is a wonderful summary of the Civil Rights movement taking individuals through the methods and thought process used to protest Montgomery policy that African Americans were to ride in the back of the bus. The narration is from an individual named “Jones” and his experience through the protest. After the story wraps up, there’s a step by step checklist that breaks down the exact methodology used and also how its been used throughout the world, in particular to win India’s independence.

Top Shelf has focused on not just reprinting the comic in modern standards, they’ve used similar paper and coloring from the time that it originally was printed. This looks like a copy you might have held 40 years ago. A fantastic recreation of an important piece of comic and civil rights history.

Everyone should check this out, to learn about United States history, but also how comics have been used to create change and in political movements.

All fees and proceeds have been waived by Top Shelf and will be donated to the Fellowship of Reconciliation, from your purchase of this timeless and globally influential piece of comic book history.

Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Catch Graphic Policy Radio Tonight, Live at 9pm!

GP Radio Special Mondya 9pmIt’s Monday and that means it’s a new episode of Graphic Policy Radio which mixes politics, comics and geekdom. You can listen in LIVE at 9pm ET. This week we’ve got a lot on tap!

  • We review Velvet #3
  • We discuss and review Three #4
  • In honor of MLK Day we discuss Top Shelf’s March and the history of Martin Luther King and The Montgomery Story
  • We take on CSA: Confederate States of America Vol. 1: Southern Cross
  • We also get in an EARLY REVIEW of Undertow #1 from Image Comics.

We discuss all of that and more on this episode! We want to hear your thoughts too. Call in at (619) 768-2952 or tweet us @graphicpolicy.

Set your clocks and listen in LIVE at 9pm ET.

Korea’s Educational Comics

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The Obama StoryThe Korean Times is reporting that educational comic books are flourishing in Korea as a new way to grab the attention of children and engage teachers and adults.  That wave of educational comics is making it’s way across the seas to here in the United States.

A comic bio series in English published by Dasan Books has been adopted as supplementary textbooks at a U.S. elementary school in New Jersey.

The New Jersey Fort Lee Elementary School announced it will use “The Obama Story,” “The Bill Gates Story” and “The Charles Darwin Story” for history, social studies and bilingual education classes for the second half of this year. The three books are part of the comic biography series aimed at third to sixth graders.

In February 2009 Dasan Books even opened up a branch in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey to enter the U.S. market. Six biography comics have so far been produced, including ones about Martin Luther King, Jr., Abraham Lincoln and Hillary Clinton. By August, volumes on Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg and Stephen Hawking will be released.  Their plan is to release 50 bio comics over the next 18 months.

The Obama Story clocks in at 200 pages and targets children ages 8 to 12.  It focuses on his life from his early child hood up to his recent election as President.

The comic biography series is available in some nations in North America and Asia via online bookstores.

In Honor of MLK Day

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Bleeding Cool has a post asking if the below comic is “the most influential comic book in America?”  It’s an interesting nugget of history and shows comic books played an important role in the civil rights movement here in the United States as well as around the world.

The fourteen page comic book published the Fellowship of Reconciliation tells the story of the 1956 Montgomery Bus Boycott, led by Martin Luther King, Jr. as well as the passive resistance movement in India.

The comic was used as a guide by students during the sit-in movement of the sixties and was cited as propagating civil disobedience tactics ten years after the books initial publication.

Check out the Bleeding website for more details and pages from the comic.

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.

King and X: Ways and Means

Created in 1963 Marvel Comics’ X-Men has often featured social issues such as the exploration X-Men #1of the civil rights movement through it’s brand of superhumans called mutants. A mutant as defined in the Marvel Universe is the next evolutionary phase of humanity where people are born with a mutation that grants extraordinary powers. These manifest in abilities like flying or telepathy or can deform the persons appearance making them easy to spot and often ostracizing them in society. Over the years laws have been passed and overturned discriminating against mutants and over time general acceptance has been gained as well.

The original conflict in the series presented two sides to a similar coin. Should mutants co-exist with humanity, or should they use their powers to take their “rightful” place as rulers of the planet, enslaving mankind. The two sides are represented by Charles Xavier/Professor X (the leader of the X-Men) and the other side represented by Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto. Some have described Xavier as representing Martin Luther King Jr. or Ghandi while Magneto represents Malcolm X or Meir Kahane. While others have said Xavier represents both King and X while Magneto represents Louis Farrakhan or Nat Turner.

And in this post, on the day Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated 40 years ago, the exchange below from X-Men: Legacy #209 caught me as appropriate. The two characters are asked whether Xavier or Magneto won their “perennial debate about ways and means”. I leave you with Xavier’s and Magneto’s conversation to ponder:

Magneto: So what do you think Charles? Force majeure versus love and peace and understanding. Which carries the argument?

Xavier: You and me Magnus?

Magneto: Yes, you and me. With the issues oversimplified for the sake of the easy soundbite.

Xavier: I — I think — I think — We cancelled each other out. For a long time. And then — Finally — We became irrelevent. The future walked around us.

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