John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell - March (Book One) (4 stars)

The US politician's graphic novel autobiography is a significant achievement in comics

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John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell - March (Book One)

(Top Shelf Productions)

March has made comics history. It’s the first graphic novel to be written by a US Congressman, Democrat John Lewis, and it’s the first to be endorsed by a US President, Bill Clinton. Co-written with his communications chef Andrew Aydin, March is an autobiographical account of Lewis’ life, with the first of three 120-page volumes covering his youth as an Alabama farm boy in the 1950s and his contribution to the civil rights movement. Lewis’ involvement in lunch-counter sit-ins paved the way for participation in the famous march on Washington DC led by his mentor, Dr Martin Luther King.

Lewis’ life is a great story, and he and his aide (who have never written for comics before) do it justice in print. They clearly have a strong grasp of storytelling, and they’re well-served by artist collaborator Nate Powell, whose black and white illustrations really bring the story to life. When it’s finished, March is going to be a significant achievement, not just in comics but also in documenting and dramatising an important slice of American history.

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