Due to their pictorial nature, comics are sometimes thought of as being easier to read, which is why there are those who look down upon them as something for the young and uneducated. But there are those who see their ease-of-reading as a strength, a way to spread a message to those who cannot or will not read large blocks of text.
Among these advocates is US Congressman John Lewis, who recently signed a deal with Top Shelf to co-write a comic (with his aide, Andrew Aydin) about the struggle for civil rights in the United States. It’s a subject near-and-dear to his heart, as he was heavily involved with the Civil Rights Movement in the ’60s: he helped organize and was a keynote speaker for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in August 1963 (where the “I Have a Dream” speech was given by Martin Luther King Jr.), and led the first march from Selma to Montgomery that became known as “Bloody Sunday” when they were attacked by state troopers.
Aydin and Lewis were driven to action by a comic from 1953 titled The Montgomery Story, which told the story of the Montgomery bus boycotts and inspired many people to join the Freedom Rides. It was recently translated into Arabic and Farsi by activist Dalia Ziada, and Lewis has stated that he believes it helped inspire the protests in Egypt earlier this year, as thousands of copies were distributed across the Middle East.
No artist has been announced for Lewis and Aydin’s graphic novel yet, which is set for release in 2012.