Friday, February 7, 2014

March: Book One, Further Thoughts

Our first book club Book of the Month! The Tactical Book Quest Club of Midnight is live! George picked this title out and I couldn't be happier with it as our inaugural selection.

I completely agree with everything George said in his post. The breadth of Lewis's life is astounding, humbling, etc. You can't help but feel like a bit of an asshole when you read about what this dude was doing with his twenties. I guess I've been keeping pretty busy too, you know? It's like, yeah, John Lewis was organizing sit-ins that changed the course of history, but how many video games did he play? Read any good comic books, John? Not that many, probably.

The only thing I have to add is that Nate Powell (Any Empire, Swallow Me Whole) is absolutely killing it throughout the entire book. The scope of Lewis's story is nuts, and the narrative packs in decades of happenings while jumping around chronologically and seamlessly. The pacing is perfect. The mix between historical, big picture context and small, human moments is right on. Check out this early scene where a very young John Lewis tries to resuscitate a chick that over-zealously baptized. He panics and sets the lifeless bird out in the sun:

There's so much that I love about this whole sequence-- Lewis as a sensitive, worrying youngster; his youthful semi-obsession with tending to his flock; the fact that the bird is somehow resurrected, and yet the event still becomes Lewis's touchstone for guilt. And Powell is just working overtime. The simple panel work, the expression on the boy's face, the lone image of the sun shining down. Shit is gorgeous. And this team keeps it up over the course of the whole book.

If the trick to all narrative biography is finding the balance between small, human moments and the larger-than-life historical context, March: Book One nails it down. And it's a lot of fun to read. 

Here's to many more Books of the Month going forward. And I'm looking forward to hearing more from our fellow WeReadComics nerds about March. 

March: Book One

March Book One is something that should be taught in every high school across the United States. After I finished reading this, it reminded me of everything that I love as well as everything that I find very frustrating about humanity. The story begins with Georgia Congressman John Lewis awaking from a dream the morning of January 20th, 2009; also known as the morning that a former Illinois Senator named Barack Obama was sworn into the Presidency of the United States of America. The perfect place for the story to start.
When Congressman Lewis arrives to his office later that morning, a mother with her two young sons who have arrived from Atlanta wanted to see his office. Surprised to find that Congressman Lewis was in his office he ushers them in and begins to show them around and begins pointing out various photographs. One of the photographs he points out is of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivering his infamous I Have a Dream speech. After that the congressman states that he is the only surviving speaker from that August day, which is incredibly moving and bone chilling.

The story of Congressman Lewis that is revealed within the pages of March Book One is incredibly candid, compelling, and almost unbelievable. There are certain generations of people born during a time of great change that stand by and help enforce the change, as well as those that sit and do nothing: this is what I love and what frustrates me about humanity. People that are afraid of change, and decide to bully others by enforcing the status quo. March Book One is the story of Congressman John Lewis, a man led by great conviction to join in the struggle of non-violent protest during the Civil Rights Movement to bring about equality in an era of high racial tension.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Ms. Marvel #1

Here's the thing, I have an obsession with wanting to be a superhero. Like I am planning on starting martial arts training so that I can kick butt and satisfy some bit of my dream. And now I know that I am not alone.

G. Willow Wilson has managed to write a story about an entirely unique character, and at the same time write a story about every kid who has ever dreamed of being something more, of every outcast who wanted to fit in, of every boy and girl who has wanted to change the world. Kamala Khan could be me. There is something so radical about a story that makes you feel like it could be about you. 

The thing about Ms. Marvel that I think I liked the most, though, was that while reading this book I stepped into the life of a Pakistani-American Muslim girl. I was able to draw connections between my life and hers, and I was able to look at the world through her eyes. I feel confident that Wilson's writing was true to what that life experience would be like. It is so easy for me to believe that someone might say to someone "Ugh, Kamala -- no offense, but you smell like curry. I'm gonna go stand somewhere else." 

So while I have fallen madly in love with Kamala Khan because I can relate to her on a level that I normally cannot relate to others, I have also fallen in love with the fact that she is so different from me, and yet exactly the same. Just ask my mom how many times I have said, "Don't you trust me?" and "If I was a boy, you'd let me go to the party."

Let's also not forget the AMAZING art work by Adrian Alphona and coloring by Ian Herring. I love superhero comics that don't necessarily look like superhero comics. And of course I love when women look like real women. Really I have very few words for how beautiful it is. Good job guys.

Get it here dude!