The trilogy The march presents details and situations of a fundamental period for American history
Parliamentarian John Lewis is one of the great names in the American Civil Rights struggle. Alongside Martin Luther King, he took important steps toward blacks gaining more respect and space in American society. The firm commitment to non-violence and the struggle for equality placed him in a prominent role in American society and politics.
In a disturbed context in the United States (with Trump’s rise and police violence against blacks stronger), Lewis’s story sounds even more powerful. To tell his own story, the parliamentarian teamed up with screenwriter Andrew Aydin and award-winning illustrator Nate Powell.
The project gave rise to the project The March , a comic trilogy in which John Lewis tells his story and recalls the main moments of the struggle for American civil rights, as well as understanding what changed and which way that whole period took.
The praised trilogy will finally arrive in Brazil. The march – Book 1 will be released by Nemo in the coming months. The first volume shows Lewis’ youth on a farm in Alabama, the meeting with Martin Luther King and the first strategies in the racial struggle in the USA.
Lewis’s project echoes a publication that inspired him as a young student 50 years ago. Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story was a comic book that was launched in 1958 and became a fever among student leaders who wanted to follow the same steps as the American hero and to cry out against inequality and prejudice in American society.
With the publication of The March , Lewis was compared several times by the American press to the superheroes (so linked to the world of comics). “Essential reading … The march is an important and historic achievement of a true American superhero,” wrote USA Today. “The civil rights icon is a modern Superman, and now he has the book to prove it,” were the words of Atlanta magazine.
With strong memories and the powerful traits of Nate Powell, the trilogy recounts intense moments and begins and ends with scenes of the march in Selma led by Lewis. The walk, which occurred on March 7, 1965, became known as Bloody Sunday after police and soldiers attacked the peaceful demonstrators.
With his eyes fixed on the present, Lewis shows, with The March , the still latent need of the struggle for civil rights. Critic Julian Lucas of The New York Times highlighted the possibility that the book would point the way to new political leaders. “The three volumes of The March are not just a record of Lewis’s activism, but one of his brilliant examples, designed to help new generations of readers visualize the possibilities of political engagement,” he wrote.
Not for nothing, the book was also successful among young people, inspired by ideas of peace and equality of Lewis. He was treated as a true pop star at the Comic-Con in 2017. The congressman went to the event to receive, alongside the collaborators, the Weisner prize (kind of Oscar of the comics) for the second volume of The March .
Back to the march
Lewis is one of the protagonists of one of the episodes of David Letterman’s new talk show, The Next Guest No Presence Presentation, available on Netflix. In the same program interviewed by former President Barack Obama, Letterman goes with Lewis to the places where the march took place in Selma, and recalls stories from that moment.
John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell. Publisher Nemo. 128 pages. Publication scheduled for April 3.