An Un-Calibrated Centrifuge

March: Book One

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

I read this for one of my summer classes. We had to read and annotate 10 comics/graphic novels. Here's the annotation I wrote for that class:

 

Alternating between Barack Obama’s inauguration day and defining moments in John Lewis’s past, March: Book One tells the story of Lewis’s childhood and his involvement with the American Civil Rights movement concentrating on the nonviolent sit-in protests in Nashville. The book occasionally draws in moments from the larger Civil Rights movement to give context to Lewis’s story and actions.

 

The artwork is very striking. The black and white images stand out starkly on the page with intermittent black gutters adding a particularly dramatic flair to the book. One of the images on page 24 is particularly noteworthy. In it Lewis says it’s bad luck to put an even numbered egg under a setting hen. The egg in his hand in the panel is number 13. This seems like a cue to pay attention. Things are not necessarily as they appear. A chicken’s egg labeled 13 does not bring bad luck. An approach of passive resistance can incite huge change.  

 

The interweaving of the two storylines draws the civil rights movement into the present. It is easy to feel removed from the time of segregation when in reality we are less than a generation removed from those times. March: Book One is as relevant, and hopefully as inspiring, today as Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story was to Lewis in the 1960s. It would make a great addition to any graphic novel collection.