I have been trying to write this for over a week now. I sit down, manage a sentence, maybe two, then have to go off and do something else. So forgive me if this turns out to be incoherent and disjointed!
I finished the third volume of March by John Lewis and all I can say is wow. Really, this three volume graphic memoir is fantastic in so many ways. The art is great and the writing is great too. In case you don’t know about it, the memoir chronicles John Lewis’ work in the Civil Right Movement during the 1960s. He includes flashforwards to President Obama’s inauguration which serves as a sort of culminating event. There is a scene where Obama gives Lewis a commemorative postcard upon which he wrote “Because of you.” That made me get teary!
I am ashamed to say that I didn’t know about a lot of the details of many of the events Lewis writes about. My school learning about the Civil Rights Movement has proven to be sadly lacking. And even though I saw the movie Mississippi Burning in 1988 when it came out, I still had no understanding of how bad voter suppression was and the brutal lengths government and law enforcement officials would go to to keep black people from exercising their constitutional and human rights.
Along with the recounting of events, we also get an inside view into the movement, a veritable who’s who, the nonviolent trainings, the politics within and between groups. I am so glad I read the three books. I think they are important enough that everyone should read them and I hope teachers decide to use them in history classes too.
Did you know Neil Gaiman has a new comic series? Forbidden Brides of the Faceless Slaves in the Secret House of the Night of Dread Desire. How’s that for a mouthful? The story makes fun of things gothic and melodramatic. The main character is an author who wants to write Literature but every time he sits down, his story takes a turn to the gothic cliches. It is great fun but all too short because it only gets through setting everything up and leaves us hanging on the proverbial cliff. Maybe that is all part of the gothic tomfoolery?
The art, as you might expect, is fantastic and really makes this spare volume entertaining. And maybe it is just me, but I think the author in the comic has a bit of resemblance to Gaiman and that really tickled my funnybone. This first volume might not be much, but it makes lots of delightful promises for future issues. Looking forward to them!