Civil Rights Legend John Lewis Draws Large Crowds at Comic-Con 2013


Surrounded by attendees in Star Trek, Star Wars and other assorted superhero garb, Rep. John Lewis (D-Georgia) made quite an impression in his appearance at San Diego’s ComicCon over the weekend.

Lewis was at the annual comic convention, one of the largest gatherings in the country, to promote his new graphic novel, “March: Book One,” which highlights significant events from Lewis’s life and the Civil Rights movement.

The comic is a collaboration between Lewis and co-writer Andrew Aydin and artist Nate Powell, who is a winner of the Eisner Award and LA Times Book Prize finalist for his comic work on “Swallow Me Whole” and a NY Times Bestseller for “The Silence of Our Friends.”

“We have told the story in many ways to many different audiences,” Lewis told WXIA. “But this is an attempt to reach hundreds, thousands, and millions of young people. And people not so young.”

The graphic novel begins with Bloody Sunday in 1965, and has Lewis and fellow Atlanta civil rights icon Hosea Williams facing off with state troopers who were ordered by Alabama Gov. George Wallace to stop their march across Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala. Lewis suffered a fractured skull when the police attacked him and other protesters during the march.

According to Roll Call, more than 100 fans camped out in anticipation of Lewis’s appearance and even more waited in line for the longtime civil rights leader as he personally autographed copies of the graphic novel.

“This is a real life superhero,” a mother said to her child, according to the publication.

Lewis has been particularly vocal in recent weeks, responding to the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, which designated what areas of the country need federal approval to change voting laws.

“We don’t want to go back. We want to go forward,” Lewis said a June press conference. “The only thing I did, a few short years ago, I gave a little blood on that bridge. But others, brothers and sisters of mine and other people in the struggle, gave their very lives.”

Of the comic, Lewis says he understands why it was so popular among attendees.

“It’s not just words. It’s illustrations. It’s drawings. It’s action. It’s drama,” Lewis said. “And we hope that young people will be able, by reading this book, will be able to feel, to almost taste what happened.”

“March” goes on sale to the general public in August and Lewis’s office reports that the trio of creators are planning to make “March” a graphic novel trilogy that will be released by Georgia-based publisher Top Shelf Productions.

“March” is a historic first, both for the U.S. Congress and for comics publishing as a whole, marking the first time a sitting member of Congress has authored a graphic novel.

(Photo: Courtesy of Andrew Aydin, Twitter.)


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