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.
You can scoop the book up here at our Book o' The Month discount price while supplies last, incidentally.