March: Book One

March Book OneWritten by: Rep. John Lewis and Andrew Aydin
Illustrated by: Nate Powell
Publisher: Top Shelf Productions
Format: SC, 6.5 x 9.5, 128 pages, Black and White, $14.95
ISBN: 978-1-60309-300-2
Reviewed by: Diamond BookShelf

As the title implies, March Book One acts as an introduction to Lewis' life and his involvement in the then-burgeoning movement. Beginning with his childhood on a small farm in rural Alabama, the story follows Lewis' teenage years and college life as he becomes more aware and active in the de-segregation movements. Throughout, the narrative breaks to 2009, where Rep. Lewis is preparing to attend the inauguration of President Obama.

Told from Lewis' perspective, the book fully immerses the reader in the events depicted, giving them a human and personal perspective. Much of the intimacy and emotional power of the story comes from the interplay of Lewis' narration, which is greatly served by Aydin's script, and Powell's art, which expertly utilizes the black and white format. Powell's line work is especially strong, both in the layouts and characters expressions. His use of blacks and grays make palpable the tension in many of the scenes, notably the sit-ins and jail visits.

March: Book One succeeds as both an autobiographical recollection and gripping historical graphic narrative. By personalizing this grand movement, March makes one of the key eras of the 20th century relatable, and in a format that will grab the attention of readers who may or may not be deeply interested in the subject. An important story skillfully told, March stands as an accomplishment for both the creators and the art form.

March: Book One contains no sexual imagery, but does reflect the reality of the events – which include beatings and racial epithets – and is suggested for young adult readers.