Reviews for March 1
Booklist Reviews 2013 June #1
*Starred Review* Congressman Lewis, with Michael D'Orso's assistance, told his story most impressively in Walking with the Wind (1998). Fortunately, it's such a good story--a sharecropper's son rises to eminence by prosecuting the cause of his people--that it bears retelling, especially in this graphic novel by Lewis, his aide Aydin, and Powell, one of the finest American comics artists going. After a kicker set on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, on March 7, 1965 (the civil rights movement's Bloody Sunday), the story makes January 20, 2009 (President Obama's inauguration) a base of operations as it samples Lewis' past via his reminiscences for two schoolboys and their mother, who've shown up early at his office on that milestone day for African Americans. This first of three volumes of Lewis' story brings him from boyhood on the farm, where he doted over the chickens and dreamed of being a preacher, through high school to college, when he met nonviolent activists who showed him a means of undermining segregation--to begin with, at the department-store lunch counters of Nashville. Powell is at his dazzling best throughout, changing angle-of-regard from panel to panel while lighting each with appropriate drama. The kineticism of his art rivals that of the most exuberant DC and Marvel adventure comics--and in black-and-white only, yet! Books Two and Three may not surpass Book One, but what a grand work they'll complete. Copyright 2013 Booklist Reviews.
Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2014 #1
Congressman John Lewis--the last surviving member of the "Big Six" civil rights leaders--recounts his formative years in this first volume of a planned trilogy. The book opens on "Bloody Sunday," as troopers assail activists (including Lewis) marching across the Edmund Pettus Bridge. From this violently chaotic event the narrative fast-forwards to the early morning of Barack Obama's January 2009 inauguration, where Lewis shares his memories with young visitors to his congressional office. Lewis's path to nonviolence was shaped by two key events: the Montgomery Bus Boycott and a 1955 radio broadcast of Martin Luther King Jr. preaching "the Social Gospel." While attending seminary in Nashville, Tennessee, John joined up with other young people fighting segregation with nonviolence to form the Nashville Student Movement. (A nifty example of art imitating life: the group was informed by a popular comic book of the time--Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story.) There's something extraordinary about reading a firsthand account of a seminal moment in history from one who not only lived through it but also led it, and this is what ultimately makes this book so essential. The volume is well-designed and the story expertly paced--the flashbacks and flash-forwards are especially effective at keeping things moving. Powell re-creates the time period vividly through his black-and-white art, but the artist's true gift is in his ability to capture emotion with deft use of line and shadow. His nuanced visual storytelling complements Lewis's account beautifully. sam bloo Copyright 2013 Horn Book Magazine.
Kirkus Reviews 2013 July #2
Eisner winner Powell's dramatic black-and-white graphic art ratchets up the intensity in this autobiographical opener by a major figure in the civil rights movement. In this first of a projected trilogy, Lewis, one of the original Freedom Riders and currently in his 13th term as a U.S. Representative, recalls his early years--from raising (and preaching to) chickens on an Alabama farm to meeting Martin Luther King Jr. and joining lunch-counter sit-ins in Nashville in 1960. The account flashes back and forth between a conversation with two young visitors in Lewis' congressional office just prior to Barack Obama's 2009 inauguration and events five or more decades ago. His education in nonviolence forms the central theme, and both in his frank, self-effacing accounts of rising tides of protest being met with increasingly violent responses and in Powell's dark, cinematically angled and sequenced panels, the heroism of those who sat and marched and bore the abuse comes through with vivid, inspiring clarity. The volume closes with the founding of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (which Lewis went on to chair), and its publication is scheduled to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, at which Lewis preceded Dr. King on the podium: "Of everyone who spoke at the march, I'm the only one who's still around." A powerful tale of courage and principle igniting sweeping social change, told by a strong-minded, uniquely qualified eyewitness. (Graphic memoir. 11-15) Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
Library Journal Reviews Newsletter
As a child in the 1940s, Lewis rode in a hand-me-down school bus on the dirt roads that trav-ersed "colored" communities in the South. As a grown-up, he marched repeatedly against dis-crimination, eventually becoming a Representative for Georgia's 5th U.S. Congressional District in 1986. Years later he was a guest of honor at Barack Obama's presidential inauguration. Pow-ell's moody ink-wash art is perfect for this heroic three-volume story. (LJ 7/13) --MC (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Library Journal Reviews 2013 July #1
Comics artist Powell (The Silence of Our Friends; Swallow Me Whole) blogged that Congressman Lewis (Representative for the 5th U.S. Congressional Dist. of Georgia since 1986) "is the sole surviving member of the 'Big Six' of the Civil Rights movement, [and]…was integral in the historic marches from Selma to Montgomery, and generally helped smack institutionalized white supremacy in the nuts and changed the face of 20th century American Society." Growing up in the 1940s, Lewis rode a school bus down dirt roads because roads into "colored" communities weren't paved. Sixty years later, he was a guest of honor at Barack Obama's inauguration. Lewis's remarkable life has been skillfully translated into graphics with the assistance of writer Aydin, a staffer in Lewis's office and his capable Boswell. The art from Eisner and Ignatz Prize winner Powell is perfect for the story, ranging as it does from moody ink-wash to hand-drawn lettering. VERDICT Segregation's insult to personhood comes across here with a visual, visceral punch. Suitable for tweens through teens and adults, this version of Lewis's life story belongs in libraries to teach readers about the heroes of America. Two more volumes are forthcoming, and a teacher's guide is available.--M.C. [Page 69]. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2013 July #3
The long-overdue move to chronicle American history in graphic novel form takes another great step forward with this first volume of a projected history of the civil rights struggle. Instead of taking an all-inclusive, Eyes on the Prize-style approach (an epic undertaking that hopefully is on another artist's to-do list), March is told from the perspective of Georgia congressman John Lewis. Listed here as coauthor with Andrew Aydin, Lewis frames his story as a flashback told to a few inquisitive visitors in his Washington office as he is getting ready to attend the inauguration of President Barack Obama. It's an occasionally creaky device that slips sometimes into hagiography, but Lewis's tale is a resolutely dramatic one regardless. Highlighted by dark, neo-noirish art from Nate Powell (The Silence of Our Friends), March tracks Lewis from his hardscrabble childhood on a remote Georgia farm to his gradual awakening to the pernicious evil of segregation and his growing leadership role in Martin Luther King Jr.'s nonviolent resistance movement. If the book strays too far from Lewis himself at times, that's because the momentousness of what's happening around him cannot be ignored. Superbly told history. (Aug.) [Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC
School Library Journal Reviews 2013 September
Gr 8 Up--Beginning with a dream sequence that depicts the police crackdown on the 1965 Selma-Montgomery March, this memoir then cuts to Congressman John Lewis's preparations on the day of President Obama's inauguration. Lewis provides perspective on the occasion, explaining and describing his own religious and desegregationalist origins in Alabama, his early meeting with Dr. King, and his training as a nonviolent protester. The bulk of the narrative centers around the lunch counter sit-ins in 1959 and 1960 and ends on the hopeful note of a public statement by Nashville Mayor West. The narration feels very much like a fascinating firsthand anecdote and, despite a plethora of personal details and unfamiliar names, it never drags. Even with the contemporary perspective, the events never feel like a foregone conclusion, making the stakes significant and the work important. The narration particularly emphasizes the nonviolent aspect of the movement and the labor involved in maintaining that ideal. The artwork is full of lush blacks and liquid brushstrokes and features both small period details and vast, sweeping vistas that evoke both the reality of the setting and the importance of the events. This is superb visual storytelling that establishes a convincing, definitive record of a key eyewitness to significant social change, and that leaves readers demanding the second volume.--Benjamin Russell, Belmont High School, NH [Page 171]. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.