San Diego Comic-Con is underway, bringing over 130,000 people to enjoy the pop culture extravaganza taking place inside and outside the convention center. There is a lot to see and do every day during SDCC. More likely than not, if you don't go in with a plan for experiencing the things that you most want to check out, you'll miss them!
Congressman John Lewis
Despite her obligations as a television host, a political pundit, and a celebrated author, Rachel Maddow still manages to find time in her schedule to catch up on the comics she loves. An avid comics consumer, Maddow has written introductions for comics (Greg Rucka and JH Williams III's Batwoman) as well as spread the word of graphic novels she loves to any member of congress who will listen. So when a book like March -- the first in a three part autobiography from civil rights icon Congressman John Lewis -- comes along, it's right in her wheelhouse, and it's no surprise she'd go to the source to talk about it.
Congressman Lewis was joined by March co-writer Andrew Aydin and illustrator Nate Powell on The Rachel Maddow Show last night to discuss their best-selling graphic novel, as well as Martin Luther King And The Montgomery Story, the civil rights comic produced in 1958 that taught readers the ways of non-violence and inspired Congressman Lewis to use the medium to share his story.
My parents were born, poor and black, in the south in 1943. My father was two years younger than Emmet Till, and my mother was living in Alabama when Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus. When I was a kid, my father would tell me about the Civil Rights movement, and the people who helped shape it. He'd tell me stories about Martin Luther King Jr. and Roy Wilkins, about Rosa Parks and Claudette Colvin, about a bridge in Selma and a boycott in Montgomery. And he'd tell me stories about Congressman John Lewis.
In stores now is March, the first installment of three autobiographical graphic novels written by Congressman Lewis -- a U.S. Representative from Georgia and a Civil Rights icon -- co-written by congressional staffer Andrew Aydin and illustrated by Nate Powell. March tells the story of Congressman Lewis' life, from humble beginnings in Troy, Alabama during the Jim Crow era south, to being one of the 10 speakers at the March On Washington, to eventually being elected to the U.S. Congress. Congressman Lewis is one of the most significant figures in modern United States history. As such, his life story is significant, and he's decided to share it with the "children of the movement" with his new comic, published by Top Shelf.
I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Congressman Lewis and Aydin, to discuss the decision to tell this story through a comic, the choices the congressman has made in his life, and how they both hope this book inspires the next generation to do more.
At this year's Comic-Con, a real life hero got a standing ovation. When Congressman John Lewis was introduced to a packed hall room at a panel dedicated to his upcoming autobiographical graphic novel March, every single person in the room stood and applauded. And after a lengthy ovation, Congressman Lewis -- a Civil Rights icon, the last surviving member of the group who spoke at the March on Washington and one of the most significant figures in America -- spoke to the crowd about Congress, Civil Rights, preaching to chickens, and of course, comic books.
Congressman John Lewis is a living legend. A more than 25 year veteran of the United States Congress, Lewis was one of the original Freedom Riders. He's also the sole living member of the Big Six -- leaders of six of the significant civil rights organizations active during the height of the civil rights movement -- whose members included Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Lewis' st