Saturday, August 20, 2016

Reader's Diary #1358 - John Lewis with Andrew Aydin (writers), Nate Powell (artist): March Book One

I know far less American history than Canadian history, and beyond Newfoundland and Northern history, I'm not great at that either. When it comes to American Civil Rights leaders, I could have named Martin Luther King Jr, Malcolm X, and Rosa Parks, but beyond them, I'd be scrambling. So, it was great to have an introduction to Congressman John Lewis's role— an introduction I'd probably still not have had had it not been told in a graphic novel format and the second volume winning an Eisner Award.

John Lewis comes across as a compelling but sweet, almost quiet man, and to think of him as helping lead a revolution might seem at first to be counter-intuitive. Until you see his path and personality intertwine. It is not surprising then to see him turn to the teachings of Gandhi and practice nonviolent resistance. But more importantly, and perhaps most interesting considering it's a side most people don't consider, March shows the work and practice involved in such a tactic. Indeed, it worked. And looking at it now, it's remarkable. It's embarrassing and confusing and angering to see white people refusing to even serve a black person in a restaurant. I don't get how or why they could have behaved that way, to try (and fail) to take away another human being's dignity.

Nate Powell's art perfectly matches the text, expressive and black and white to capture the time period, with a Will Eisner sort of style, sometimes abandoning the panel lines and giving such scenes an air of historical significance beyond Lewis's personal story. Powerful stuff.

1 comment:

Buried In Print said...

I'm really looking forward to this one, and I just learned last week that the third volume in the series has just been published, so now it's looking like a mini-binge-read. Glad to hear that you enjoyed it!