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COMIC BOOKS: March: John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell

The Valdosta Daily Times, Ga. — Dean Poling The Valdosta Daily Times, Ga.

Aug. 01-- Aug. 1--John Lewis was a civil rights icon.

An American hero who marched for equal rights, whose life was recounted a few years ago in the forum best known for superheroes.

"March" was a three-part graphic novel depicting Lewis' life. All three parts are also available as a single, massive volume published after the staggered release of the first three parts.

The Georgia congressman joined comics creators Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell to bring his life story to graphic life. The art is simple, realistic, yet powerful.

The first book follows Lewis' life growing up on a farm; his desire for education; his parents concern about his early push for equal rights; his early meeting with Dr. Martin Luther King; his enrollment in college; his participation in the lunch-counter sit-ins.

"March: Book Two" follows Lewis as he becomes a Freedom Rider, taking buses South in an effort to demonstrate integration to a segregated society. The peaceful effort met with violence in cities and states throughout the South.

The second volume explores Lewis' relationships with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders. It charts the path which led the young Lewis to becoming a speaker during the March on Washington where King also gave his landmark "I Have a Dream" speech. The book culminates with the March on Washington.

"March: Book Three" concludes in Selma, with the deaths of MLK and Robert Kennedy.

Yet, as the excellent three-part graphic novel demonstrates, Lewis' life and the civil rights movement did not end there.

The series begins with the juxtaposition of Lewis' life on the farm and his youth as a civil-rights leader with Lewis as the congressman and elder statesman of the civil rights movement as he prepared to attend the presidential inauguration of Barack Obama.

The inauguration of America's first Black president frames the three-part story of Lewis' life.

"March" is a powerful biography, beautifully illustrated in black and white.

"March" demonstrates the power and potential of the comic book format. A format that can and is about so much more than superheroes and world-saving battles.

It can also be about the battles that change the lives of real people, that change the nature of the real world.

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