December 3, 2013

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Top Shelf Invades Congress with a Free March

In an e-mail sent out today (sorry, no link on their website), publisher Top Shelf announced that, in partnership with Fellowship of Reconciliation and Comixology, they were giving every single member of Congress a digital copy of March Book One and Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story.

March Book 1, the first graphic novel written by a sitting member of Congress (Rep. John Lewis), along with Andrew Aydin and illustrated by Nate Powell, has proven extremely popular since its debut this summer. Everyone from comics bloggers to television programs to readers young and old have praised the book, which covers the early years of Rep. Lewis' life, when he began his quest for equality that continues to this very day. (Rep. Lewis was arrested recently for fighting for immigrant rights.)

Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story is a small comic that came out during the Civil Rights era and was recently reprinted and digitized by Top Shelf. It's considered to be a seminal work that helped raise awareness among young people.

Now Rep. Lewis is hoping his story will inspire others, and apparently thinks that Congress might need a reminder of its purpose as it fights and fight and fights to prevent America from reaching its true potential as a nation for everyone, regardless of race, gender, or wealth. A quote from the release:
“Just like the comic book I read more than 50 years ago, it is my hope that this graphic novel can inspire new generations to speak up and speak out, to make their voice heard, and, hopefully, to make our nation a more just and peaceful place for all.”
 It's great to see the power of comics being used this way, and I can only hope that Rep. Lewis' goal will take hold in the minds of those who receive this gift of two men's struggles and the movement they forged.

March Book 2 is due in 2014, with the final entry in 2015.